Tonight my six year old daughter asked from the dining room “ Mom how do you spell f^@% it”. The moments that get us are rarely expected, rarely appropriate and always have a good explanation. We have gone from having a little girl to having a pre-tween in what seems like a moments notice. The Disney songs have been replaced by pop songs, the fashion is getting quite colorful and the ability to understand, comprehend, challenge thought, process and question is happening faster than I can comprehend. My daughter has started listening to Rebecca Black; most widely known for her one-hit wonder titled “Friday”. The album is quite catchy and very pre-tween appropriate, or so we thought. One evening we realized that one of the songs quickly uses the phrase “f^@% it take my time” to which my husband and I cringed. Here we are, parents who pride themselves on being socially conscious, aware of influences and proud of the fact that our six year old doesn’t know what the F word is (or so we thought). I kid you not, three weeks before this event her dinner time comment was “mom, pho (pronounced Fuh) is the F word, it starts with Ffff”. Oh how quickly it all can change...So here I am the next evening, after realizing I was exposing my daughter to profane language; but assuming it was going right over her head and she inquires as to how one might spell “f^@% it”.
As parents, if we cannot laugh at ourselves and be aware of our imperfections we will never make it through. Parenting in today’s culture has become about an image of perfection that I would be the first to shatter if anyone was watching. I have spent the better part of my entire life wanting to be a mother, I earned a masters degree in child development and spent over a decade working with kids before I was married. I fail every single day at being perfect as a parent. I fail in the morning before (and after) having coffee. I fail throughout the day (today for example I forgot to cut the pineapple and inadvertently ruined my daughters life). You see the thing is this, we as parents are being looked at through more lenses than we can possibly imagine. We are seen as a child learning a new skill (adulting and parenthood) by our parents, we are seen as all knowing beings, gods by our children, and we are seen as any range of things by each friend, co-worker and acquaintance that we know. Now any image being looked at through multiple lenses is going to look differently depending on who is doing the looking and what vision they bring. Parenting is an obstacle course without a possible perfect finish. It is not about being perfect, it is not even about doing your best every day. Because let’s be honest, we don’t, we can’t do our best every single day. There are some days when we phone it in because of that third glass of wine last night, the fight with our partner, the trouble at work or the mental struggles we are going through as adults. Well guess what, it is okay, and it is real and what better model can we provide for our children than giving them a reality that is based in truth and not some misconception or concept of needing or supposing to be perfect. The environments our children are exposed to in their early years will be the environments they crave as adults. So go out there, don’t aim for perfection and when you need to just say “F^@% it!”
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.