Some of them were garden variety new parent gaffes:
1. not realizing that boy babies kamikaze pee when their diapers are removed (read: my newborn peed on his own head)
2. the abrupt formula change to "Good" Start (read: a black and grey storm of poo all over my lap)
3. nipping Nature Toddler's ear while giving him a home haircut (read: haircut avoidance forevermore)
Some of them were no-excuses plain stupidity on my part:
1. letting my 6-year-old be a Big Boy and hold the gas pump (read: gas in the eye = an ER visit)
2. searching for a roly-poly sippy cup in the car while driving--in a construction zone (read: the road crew had one less orange and white construction sign and my car had one less side mirror)
3. checking out the evenness of my eyebrows whilst driving with my preschooler in the backseat (read: street sweepers are like TANKS, y'all)
My parenting mistakes are varied, but they share one thing. They all happened because I have no idea what I'm doing.
I'm making this parenting thing up as I go along. And that's because the closest thing I can find to a parenting expert whose philosophy meshes with mine is Ms. Frizzle. And she is a CARTOON.
My particular maternal screw-ups change with each developmental stage. Which happily means that I am no longer making poor feeding and diapering decisions. (Yea!) But it also means that I am now effing up in the areas of tween social skills and Preparing My Child for College and Therefore Life. (Boo!)
And you know, the social skills thing was inevitable. I mean, what business do I have teaching anybody how to get along with folks? It's hard to credibly teach your kid proper social etiquette and healthy conflict resolution when your own personal history involves getting the PoPo called on you in a senior living community and participating in a Shout Out at the Golden Corral.
But I can live with that. Because fortunately for Nature Boy, he's got his dad to teach him that stuff. Tree Guy likes people and can handle conflict without getting all red-faced and loud. He confidently deals with gun-toting rednecks who threaten to shoot him for cutting down their trees on a regular basis!
My particular parenting nemesis at this stage of development is in the education realm. Homeschool moms have the added blessing of getting to make up the education thing as we go along. (Huzzah!) And that's a huge responsibility.
We're dealing with some learning challenges at my house, and I have been at a loss for years. While practicing the art of self-flagellation, I ask myself: Will we ever master the math monster? How important is paper and pencil math in the age of calculators anyway? Are my slackadaisical* ways messing up my kid's chances for college? Am I even worthy enough to clean the chalkboards of real homeschool moms? (Okay, I was exaggerating with that last bit. Kind of.)
Homeschooling the traditional way is as exciting as toilet rings and pap smears to me. And Nature Boy agrees (with the exception of the whole pap smear thing). He's a round peg, which is wonderful. But college is a square hole, and he says he wants to go. Not for the sake of going to college, but rather because it's the ticket to the type of job he wants to have when he grows up (zookeeper).
So what's a neurotic homeschool mom to do?
Feel free to weigh in.
Unless you're all holier-than-thou and critical, in which case you should be forewarned that I am a sweaty fat chick on the edge.
*Hey! I just made that up! I am hereby coining the word slackadaisical.
slackadaisical [ slàkə dáyzik'l ] (adj.)
First known use: 2012
A slang derivative of the words lackadaisical and slacker.
1. without interest or vigor, combined with an overall goal of doing as little as possible
2. lazy; unindustrious and unconcerned about being so
There. You are witnessing history here, folks!