From the moment you see the blue line (or see the word “pregnant” on one of them new-fangled digital doodads) on piss-covered pregnancy test, you will be tortured with the thought that you are going to fuck up the mass of dividing cells in your or your partner’s womb. (I’m writing from the perspective that you actually want to be pregnant.) I’ve had 3 kids and each time I’ve found out I was pregnant, that thought has crept into my head and burrowed itself deep into my subconscious. Sometimes lies quietly; sometimes it dances around my head like someone tripping their tits off on ecstasy.
There is a good reason for that– you can absolutely fuck up that mass of cells inside your/your partner’s womb once it becomes a living person. You know this because you know someone who has or indeed you have been fucked up by parents. Parenting is serious business and we know people who shouldn’t be in charge of maggots let alone an actual human being and an incredibly dependent and helpless one at that.
You pick up the paper, you turn on the news, you look on the net and you see evidence of people who have been fucked up by parenting or are fucked up parents. You watch shit like Maury or Jeremy Kyle and see fucked up parents. You convince yourself that is you, even though you’ve been with your partner for a very long time, you both are stable, you planned on having this kid, you had no intentions of calling it Ferrari Maybach Beckham Rooney Smythe-Jones or something even more fucked up. (I have come across worse. Believe me.) Nothing will convince you that you will not be a shitty parent. Hell, I don’t even know why I’m writing this because you won’t believe me.
I want you to look in a mirror, cup your beautiful face in your hands and repeat lovingly to your countenance :” I am not a fucked up parent.” Do this often. Do this every time you see a mirror. Do it whenever you see your reflection whether it is in a window, a spoon, or the shiny pate of a bald man.
You want to know why you a not a fucked up parent? You are not a fucked up parent because you are worried that you could actually be one. The real shitstains of humanity do horrible things to their kids and either don’t give a shit or don’t think it’s wrong. (I’m not talking about the Super Villains of parenting like Josef Fritzl, Fred and Rosemary West, Susan Smith or Casey Anthony. They are BEYOND bad parenting. Fucking hell, even Darth Vader was a better dad.) I knew a couple of kids who were “born” into street gangs and could throw up gang signs as toddlers. I knew a woman who used to date her young teenage daughter’s male friends. That’s the level of fucked-up I speak of. That’s not you and never will be you. Even if your parents have fucked you up, it doesn’t mean you’ll fuck your own kids up.
Of course, you’ll do things that go against your better judgment as a parent but it will be low-level shit like bribing them with sweets so you can get around the supermarket in peace. You may even involve them in a lie to save your ass (who amongst us parents hasn’t used the old “the baby shat/puked all over me and I had to change” line when late for work?)
Think about it, the only reason you hear about the horror parents is because they are so goddamned awful and their behaviour deviates from anything remotely normal. You want to know why I’ve been holding a grudge against my parents for the last 27 years? They never bought me a Lite Brite, Sylvanian Families*. an Easy-Bake oven and a doll that drank and peed.
Chill the fuck out. You are going to be fine. Parenting requires you to convince those people you created, their peers and a whole bunch of others that you know what you’re doing when a lot of the time you don’t have a fucking clue. Don’t worry about the parents that make it look so easy; chances are they’ve cleaned shit off a Hot Wheels track too. Your kids will present you with the most bizarre situations and you have to be chilled to deal with them. There have been times that I’ve wondered if LSD has somehow found its way in to my sons’ juice boxes because they’ve done something so strange. (Today, my two-year old had a huge bruise on his head. Turns out he and his brother decided to run at speed and headbutt each other before school this morning. Why Lord, why?!)
Chill the fuck out and buy them the toys that they want. Parenting is a complete mindfuck, but it’s supposed to be fun too; if you are constantly on edge about being a fucked up parent, chances are you are going to drive yourself crazy. A little fear keeps us safe and stops us from doing stupid shit. A lot of fear stops us from living.
Next post: I go balls out and attack the paralysing fear that grips parents.