I wouldn’t say that one of my main problems in life is putting too much effort into anything. For the most part, my life has consisted of me sitting around during bad times and going, “Man this sucks, but making it better would take too much effort.” And during good times, going, “Yeeah, that’s right.”
Then when it gets bad again. “Aw crap. This sucks.”
But motherhood has been a different story. During my pregnancy and the first few months I was hellbent on doing everything right.
Then I realized that I would never do everything right and when I gave up that ideal, I found myself doing better under stressful circumstances, and cutting myself some slack when I couldn’t live up to my ideals.
So, after reading the last part of A Secure Base, where Bowlby essentially says that parents under less-than-ideal conditions are pretty much bound to mess it up and leave their children hopeless and bereft of love, it makes me go what the fuck.
I mean, seriously, does that mean no matter what I do, Annika is pretty much screwed anyway? I guess it’s all a matter of just how screwed she is.
Bowlby says that single parenting is a huge no-no. Well, I am a single mom, but I’m not parenting solo. Toyin is more active than most single dads.
We live in a society where bad parenting advice saturates our way of life and nobody seems to have come to a consensus on what good parenting is.
We’re pretty much all shitting in the wind when it comes to this gig.
When I think about all the mistakes I’ve already made in the 2+ years of Annika’s life, I wonder if those are irreparable mistakes. I don’t think so.
I think it’s a matter of putting just the right amount of effort into it and also learning when to back off and just let your child be.
That’s hard for me because I’ve never learned just how to put the right amount of effort into things.
I’ve always either sat back and put more effort into not making an effort. Or I’ve taken things so seriously that people go, “Dude, lighten the fuck up.” Let’s just say that finding middle ground is not one of my talents.
But when it comes to mothering you have to find middle ground sometimes. Most of the time it’s when you’re really pissed off, so that makes it harder.
You’re never going to be perfect. But thinking that just because you can’t be perfect, that there’s no point in trying is not a good idea either.
So, try, fail. Try again. Keep connecting with your kid. Apologize when you screw up. Take steps toward fixing your mistakes. Don’t be a whiner. Don’t take too much shit from them. And keep on trying. At least, that’s my plan. Here’s hoping it’s a good one.