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The Jig Is Up! My Kid Thinks I Have No Idea How to Parent

Photograph by Twenty20

I leave this week to go on a week-long retreat called the Hoffman Process. In crude, layman’s terms, it’s a week of undoing all the horrible parenting I had as a child so that I can be a better person.

Besides wanting to be a better, happier human, I suspect that all of my parenting fails have to do with how I was parented. I have shelves of parenting books and have taken several parenting classes. but for some reason nothing sticks.

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How do I explain to my kids just how lost I can really feel?

Even Aria, my 10-year-old, knows this about me:

“Mom, you just read that in a book.”

“Mom, you are only saying that because you read it in some article.”

“Yeah, you only tell us to do stuff because someone tells you you’re supposed to.”

“Is that from your parenting class?”

I’ve been outed by Aria on many occasions for not having all the answers ... er, any of the answers. We all know this parenting thing is mostly winging it and praying, but how do I explain to my kids just how lost I can really feel?

Experts would say you don’t. You don’t ever let them see your hand. It’s not just that Ikea furniture all over the house that makes me feel that I'm still 18 and clueless. Everything about being a parent makes me feel like I’m a freshman at Vassar again. I’ll never forget arriving, overwhelmed and unprepared. By the end of the first week, I was wondering how I got there and how I was going to get through it. (Lots of ecstasy and majoring in Studio Art, apparently. It was the '80s after all.)

Do I tell my kids that this parenting gig can really kick a single mom’s ass? Or from what I gather, any and every ass? I don’t want to freak them out about how challenging it is. I don’t want them to think I don’t have a grip on it. How do I tell them that I really parented at all? Do I tell them that at times it feels like I’ve been dropped into the role of Head Air Traffic controller at LAX without ever having trained a day?

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I think it’s about finding a fine line between showing your vulnerabilities and not letting them know that you KNOW NOTHING or that you know something, but most of it is totally wrong. You stay strong and in charge. You take breaks, do self care and do your best. You hit the vape (maybe that's just me).

But if you really feel your parenting is so deeply connected to how you were raised (um, again, me) then you get your ass (single, married, fat, thin or implanted) some help.

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