Friday, August 6, 2010

parenting is not a skill, dancing is a skill...

I’m just sitting innocently at my computer this week, when my inbox alerted a rogue newsletter.  I don’t feel very good about forwarded newsletters.  Firstly, they don’t present as spam, so you can’t just hit delete (could be important - like the bank telling me I’m overdrawn again).  Secondly, it’s probably been sent by someone you know and, horror of horrors, they may expect an actual response.  Like a clever, thoughtful or sincere response.  Hateful hooters and scratchy underpants to them!
This newsletter, was written by a woman who is – wait for it – a parenting skills coach (PSC’s - very good friends with clinic sisters a.k.a satan’s medial corps.)  After reading it I assumed that the dear woman is, in fact, childless, or she would see how very obsolete her title is in every possible way.  Touch-typing is a skill.  Archery is a skill. Rhythmic gymnastics is a skill. Dancing is a skill. Heck, even Jenga is a skill. Parenting is not a skill but instead more of a blindfolded shot in the dark during a sandstorm. I’ll bet our parent’s generation thought they were skilled parents. Pfft, as if!  How do they think psychologists have been managing to make a living over the past 20 years? 
It’s a nice thought though.  A noble thought. And an honest intention. But I can’t help thinking it might be a bit like Weight Watchers. You all get together to talk about what you should be doing, and then you go home and don’t do it the way you promised you would.  PSC’s help desperate parents and their money part. But with my venomous tongue I digress.  The newsletter was titled  “The fantasy of Father Christmas, The Tooth Fairy and The Easter Bunny”.  Shocking fact number one! You’re telling me they’re not real? ) The writer (is is actually NOT childless) has an 8 year old who asked about the truth behind the legend and, whereas I personally see no reason shatter the myth, she chose to reply: When your head is presenting you with questions about things that are not adding up for you, you should listen to that small voice in your gut driving those questions, because there is probably something there.  Double whaaaaat?  Sheesh, even a voodoo hoodoo hippie chick like me doesn’t know what the hell that’s supposed to mean - especially as I’m at constant odds with my own  “small voice in my gut” (i.e. shut up, there’s no possible way you can be hungry again) 
Now I’m in a panic and think “How will I manage without the fantasy?” I mean if generous St. Nick, kindly bunny and said fairy don’t exist then I’m out of amo.  I need those fantasies.  Without them have no tools to threaten my kids when they behave badly.  I long for November (er, make that late… ok, early October) when I can say “If you don’t behave... you know the line, I know you do...
And just as I am feeling like the ghastly, negligent, insufficient, sneaky mom-of-many-lies that I am, my prayers were answered.  I rediscovered a treasured book I bought a while ago and realised I wasn’t alone in dressing up the truth.  It’s called (and I shirt you not) “Loads more lies to tell small kids”. Andy Riley (author) I bloody love you!  It’s a whole book about lies to tell kids, and not even for reasons of trading on good behaviour!  Just for fun! Bloody brilliant!     
So, although there are PSC type of parents, I feel infinitely better knowing that there apparently, is also room for Andy Riley kind of parents and I’m starting to think that maybe the only skill required for parenting is a healthy sense of humour.

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