I threw my hands up on the whole thing a few years ago. It was all just too much. Coming up with a fun idea and then multiple trips to the fabric store, followed by the craft store, followed by hand sewing and glueing of feathers at 2 am. Only to have those fun ideas and feathery frocks unapologetically rebuffed by a kid who just wanted to be a princess. Not an original princess…the kind that comes in a plastic bag and is found in aisle 12. I just couldn’t do it anymore. Too much work, too much work all around. I had to give up on homemade Halloween.
I feel like I’ve given up on a lot of the ideas I had about the kind of parent I would be. I’ve only been at this parenting thing for not-quite 7 years, but the list of prime parenting stuff I’ve already given up on feels so long. I mostly blame my mom for all those ideas, because she was just so darn good at it….she made it look easy. But it’s not. Not for her, not for me, not for anyone who’s trying to do it right.
And this whole Halloween costume stuff is especially hard for me. My mom made some great costumes for my sister and I, largely with stuff from around the house. There was one year when I was a pig’s head on a platter, complete with an apple in my mouth that I’d have to spit out at each door to recite the magical candy-generating incantation. Continue reading →
There is a fine line between self-deprecating and self-defecating. Just a quick switch of the pr with an f and you’re there. As a parent, I’m all too familiar with defecation. On more than one occasion I’ve found my kid’s poop on the cuff of my suit jacket half way through the work day, courtesy of a hasty diaper change before I left the house. (I’ve since learned to roll up my sleeves, I promise. But I’ll understand if you politely refuse to shake my hand after reading this.) As someone with a job that requires annual self-reviews, I’m also familiar with self-deprecation. I’ve sat through more than one women’s empowerment lecture on the topic of effective self-promotion and I’ve read plenty of articles and books that describe the tendency of women to minimize their roles in the success of their organizations. Too often, according to the experts, we ladies hide our lights under the team bushel. “My team had a great year, and I’d like to believe that I played a significant role in our success.” This is shitty way to promote oneself, according to those experts. I agree.
But I still think a little self-deprecation can go a long way, and conversely, there is such a thing as getting carried away with the touting of one’s achievements—e.g., any bald attempt to steal the light from someone else’s bushel is not a good idea. A little self-deprecation adds credibility in some situations and, in others, it can soften a hard target or make someone else feel a bit better about themselves. There’s a time and a place to be self-deprecating. Yet, when it comes to parenting and evaluating our own performance in that realm, I think most of us are too self-deprecating. You might be thinking: Oh no, you are sooo wrong. You should scroll through my Facebook feed and see all the shameless self-promotion that goes on! Continue reading →