When I first saw this picture on Instagram, I laughed out loud. I felt my body lean so far into this, both humourously and in its all too familiar truth.
Sitting with that feeling brought forth a flurry of thoughts. They came furious and fast. Sacrifice, self-care, snow-plough parent, give a man a fish, working mom, teach a man to fish, stay-at-home-mom, blame, myths. I was stunned as I realized that although my body was in fact finding ally-ship in this weird badge of honour of impossible roles, I also felt sad, torn, proud, and defensive.
I shifted to a quick survey of what I know and sank swiftly into a guilt and shame-filled quagmire of flashback scenes of me hitting the ground and getting back up again in my fifteen years of attempts of being the perfect mom.
My body felt tired, but also there was a sense of pride that I’m able to do so much. So confusing when I know when I literally counsel individuals and families about boundaries and self-care, and that sacrifice is not the pathway to perfect parenthood, it’s actually the slip ‘n slide to exhaustion and loneliness.
Ultimately, I have come to the learn that the notion of balance for any parent is the real myth. Fitting into an either/or is impossible, and the idea of becoming a ‘perfect parent’ is not only futile, but a completely unworthy goal. The fact is sometimes you will sacrifice and sometimes you will have time for a massage. And sometimes these things will be years apart.
The real ‘good enough’ is in the realization that you simply need to be present, and yes, if you are the only one who knows how to open the chutes, then you will be the one to help.