First day at work. Sitting on a toilet. Having a mild panic attack about all the parenting-related things that have gone wrong, will go wrong and are probably going wrong right now, without me even knowing. About all the things that might have gone wrong and might still possibly go wrong. I have only a few minutes until an important meeting and I’m staring at my phone, expecting the nursery to call me that I need to pick up my #babysupervillain asap because he has a fever or chicken pox or conjunctivitis or diarrhoea or all at once… It’s quite overwhelming and I’m trying not to cry because I’m sure the people in the meeting would notice. Suddenly, a message comes through from a friend I haven’t been in touch with for about a decade.
She says she read my blog and admires how I’m on top of everything. Apparently she’s doing an awful job at being a mum. And apparently I have it under control. As if!
My Instagram account is packed with happy photos of me and my little man, because I’m just not going to post cry-selfies from our HQ restroom. Besides, I have very little patience for people moaning on social media about how tough their life is. Everyone’s life is tough in one way or another. I thought we (the society) were long past the social media happy image of perfect life and stuff. We all know it is either fake – or considerate (because you don’t want to unload your s**t on your followers). My Instagram is full of happy photos not because I’m finding parenting as peaceful as a stroll through spring meadows, but because I want to share positivity and happiness. Which doesn’t mean that positivity and happiness is all I encounter.
So here is my message to everyone who thinks I’m on top of things and to every mum/dad who doubts their parenting skills: In any given situation, all you can do is your best. And if you do just that, you ARE doing a great job! Look at me – I’m winging pretty much everything in life. In my previous job, I was in charge of an aircraft cabin full of people. There were so many aspects and variables that I couldn’t possibly be on top of everything, and trying to be in constant control would have resulted in major anxiety. To stay sane, I simply focused on doing my very best in any given situation and it worked because my plane never went down (yay), no one ever died on my watch (well, just once but it wasn’t my fault) and my customers were happy.
So how does this apply to motherhood? The priority number one is to keep your child alive – so you’re already winning. Anything else in addition to that is a bonus. And if you personally are functioning as a sometimes-independent entity with washed hair you are truly on fire! If you are doing the best you can, you are doing the same amazing job as all the social media happy-perfect mums. Trust me, I’m one of them and I’m telling you – I’m just winging it 😉