I don’t have a lot of time to think, but, when I do, I like to imagine that I make up for the lost moments by thinking big. I think about how laundry reproduces faster than the constantly pregnant barn cat down the road. I wonder why there are enough crumbs for 75 chicken nuggets at the bottom of a 25 nugget sack. I ask myself how I ended up with a futon as a couch and I pour over the mysteries of the cosmos – Why I am always out of wine? I like to solve the world’s problems while the Earth spins on its axis and my delightful ass spins on a kitchenette barstool. “Let’s get rid of the penny!”, “Arriving at school on time limits your ability to improve on being timely!”, “I’m taking recycling to a new level by using yesterday’s coffee grounds!” and, then there was my Oprah moment this week, “Why are there so many acceptable styles of jeans yet so many “wrong” ways to parent?” If I’m rocking an acid washed, tapered leg, mega-high rise Mom-Jean, would someone walk up and say, “Pardon me, You are wearing pants incorrectly. Have you considered the mid-rise or, perhaps the dark rinse bootcut? Did you see my jeans and how perfectly perfect they are? You should, clearly, buy my jeans. You are doing it all wrong.” Probably not, but, every parent has been on the receiving end of unsolicited parenting advice by mid-rise do-gooders with little thought given to the small detail that the skinny jean does not work on everyone. It’s not one size fits all when it comes to how we parent. And, while you can try to lump parents into groups with venn diagram overlap, we are just as individual as we faithfully teach our children to be. To boldly be the very best version of you with little care for those who can’t accept your uniqueness. Then, we reach adulthood and are told by peers, media and “experts” that our unique best is not good enough.
In these moments, I wish for some version of a relaxed fit, boot (up your ass) cut style of parenting. Whether you made cupcakes for the bake sale or picked up a bag of Fauxreos, you are doing the best you can with what you have. And, I salute you.
I salute you, Mom in PJs at school drop-off. It IS too early and no respectable person should have to wear pants before 8:00 a.m. I dig your skull and crossbones coffee mug and slippers. Don’t you dare be ashamed. Your child is at school, on time, with matching shoes. I salute you.
I salute you, Dad and 9 year old daughter walking the wine aisle together. Your conversation about whether mom wants red or white brought a tear to my eye. I’m considering following you, at a safe distance that complies with the restraining order, just so I can join in on the world class awesome that must be your dinner conversation at your table made entirely out of parenting trophies. I salute you.
I salute you, cry-laughing Mother in the post office while screaming children pulled at your legs. You’re right, parenting is hilarious. Chaos happens. You embrace it. I want to embrace you. I salute you.
I salute you, cloth diapering Mama. Bless you and the hemp, reusable, BPA-free horse you rode in on. You care about our collective carbon footprint and you work hard to counteract the metric ton of diapers I’ve guiltily tossed over the last 6 years. I salute you.
I salute you, PTA Parents. It’s because of you handbooks are written, meetings are attended and, not attended by those who can not or choose not to. Thank you for letting us slow clap in the back row of the Open House and ride your meticulously prepared intro-speech coattails. I salute you.
I salute you, Parents with varying styles, perspectives, gifts, challenges and ideas. I salute those of you who take the time to embrace the beauty in our assorted views. Those who find the common ground, the love of our children, to experience our differences with kindness and acceptance. Those who graciously acknowledge our personal bests without eluding to their “better”. Those who teach instead of preach. I salute you.