Allow me to introduce myself
Wanted: Readers who want to share this crazy parenting journey with me
I am not an expert at being a mom.
Let me get that out of the way at the start. When I was approached to write a monthly (and hopefully occasionally humorous) column about the travails of parenting a teen, I worried, what if readers think I know what I’m talking about? Or worse — that I think I know what I’m talking about?
I’m not here to spout time-tested and sage parenting wisdom. I’m here to flounder, flail and flop around like a fish on the bottom of a boat to show you that really none of us knows what we’re doing. For the most part, we’re all stumbling along and learning the right way to help our kids grow, learn, develop and survive, while we try to do those things ourselves, as parents and caregivers.
My daughter is 13. I’ve been a solo parent from the beginning. At first, the overwhelming responsibility of it was surprisingly tempered with the realization that hey, I also get to make all the decisions. That was pretty liberating.
I started out great! I nursed my baby until she broke up with me; I made my own baby food with organic fruits and vegetables; I read to her; I was engaged and proactive. I couldn’t get enough of my sweet little baby. We were happy.
And then, you know, life happened.
I had to go back to work. Others had to babysit. Things started to slide. My established rules and routines fell by the wayside. I was tired and irritable from working. I was the dad and the mom. Hey, why did I think this was so liberating? This is awful! Help!
So here I am: Kath, a solo parent who achieved the mantle later in life, who’s trying to keep her head above water — the water being expectations from family and society, and myriad financial obligations, and the fear of messing up my kid and her future. Meh, no big deal.
You will hopefully see some of yourself in these columns. Maybe you too feel like a secret fraud sometimes. Maybe you worry that you’re making irrevocable mistakes. Maybe you are wracked with guilt when you run down the litany of your choices. Maybe you should meet me for a big ol’ glass of wine. You can tell me I don’t suck as a parent, and I’ll do the same for you.
Please allow me to expose my parenting foibles to you monthly, in the hopes that both reader and writer can learn to not be so hard on ourselves. And let me know about that wine date.
Kathleen Palmer is an award-winning editor and journalist, marketing/communications content writer and occasional comedic actress. Nothing makes her happier than making people laugh. She is a single mom to a teenager, so naturally she enjoys a glass of wine, or two.