You’re Not Horrible. You’re Tired.
I’m constantly in awe of good parents. Do you know how much work it takes to be a good parent? Anyone with a working uterus can birth a child, and you can foster/adopt with the right criteria. But being a good parent? In this day and age? The balls on you. I barely got myself through a global pandemic intact, and you had toddlers and teenagers to wrestle.
One friend of mine went to therapy and started medication. Another became a sober badass. Another left an un-affirming community out of love for her son. On and on it goes.
People who understood that taking care of another human takes considerable self-awareness, consistency, and healthy habits and went “I will love and nurture my child, and I cannot do that without examining myself.” They’re some of my heroes.
Throughout lockdown and pandemic restrictions, my spirit longed to be of help and was drowning in turns. It seemed every parent I knew just needed a goddamn break and weren’t getting it.
Managing work and online schooling and virtual assignments and bills and partners and pets and existential dread and ever-changing mandates and friendships. At one point or another, most commented that they were horrible parents and/or people.
Because they didn’t cook meals from scratch every day? Because they snapped at their children? Because they didn’t look the picture above? Because they’d never been closer to yet further away from their partners? Because work marched on? Because Netflix isn’t a real break? Because they were exhausted?
I used to joke that I was the resident village aunt, but the past few years have highlighted how it wasn’t really a joking matter. I don’t have or want children, but I love them. I taught special education for almost a decade and tutored on the weekends for 13+ years. Countless kids call me ‘Auntie’ or ‘Tia Miyah’. I’ll take them all for a week or two.
In the past, when friends would be at their wits end with their hyperactive toddler, surly teenager, crying baby, I could be there. I could say “let them stay with me for a night before you both murder each other.” The pandemic snatched away that lifeline.