Today I had some cordial, yet biting reactions to a comment I wrote in response to a blog entry directed at adoptive parents on a site I respect and follow. There were misunderstandings on both sides and, frankly, online discussions among strangers will only go so far. It hurt. I hurt about it for most of the morning.
Later in the afternoon, a friend called to ask if Isaac and I wanted to go rollerskating with her and her girls. It is difficult to be upset when your brain is simultaneously attempting to recall movements your body hasn’t performed since middle school while watching your 5 year old clomp around in an attempt to learn these movements for the first time. It was cathartic. At one point during the pop music and the dizzying lights, I realized: I HAVE TO STOP WORRYING WHAT EVERYONE ELSE THINKS ABOUT MY PARENTING.
I’m forever trying to prove myself worthy to be an adoptive parent.
I’m forever trying to prove myself worthy to parent an African American child as a Caucasian woman.
I’m forever trying to prove myself worthy as a MOTHER.
GOD, I’m tired of trying to prove myself to everyone. I just can’t do it. I’m never going to meet all of those standards set by myself or others. Sometimes my child is going to have ashy skin and his waves are going to be jacked up because he is 5 and forgot to brush his hair and I was running late and didn’t check. Sometimes I’m going to unintentionally send him subliminal messages that talking about his first mom makes me sad and he’ll pick up on this and feel put off. Sometimes I’m going to discipline my kid over something that shouldn’t have been a big deal, but I made it one in front of people I respect or in front of complete strangers. I’m going to SCREW UP.
I’m not going to stop asking questions, reading viewpoints, looking up the research. If you’re an adoptive parent, I strongly encourage you to do the same, even when it is painful to read. There is so much to learn and work toward. That being said, I’m just going to have to be okay with not passing the tests others set for me. I have to believe that my constant anxiety about f***ing up is going to be more of a detriment to my son than him leaving the house with imperfect hair or me needing to apologize to him for overreacting.
So, more power to you mamas everywhere! Whatever it is that you’ve created in your head as the pinnacle of Mama Success, GET SERIOUS. We’re just going to do the best we can with what we know and pray to the God of the heavens and earth that our deficiencies don’t define us or our children. You are enough, even with your brokenness. I can do this, despite feeling inadequate. I AM doing this, and I would be doing it BETTER if I could cut loose all of those impossible checkpoints I’m forever trying to meet. I’m going to mess up and so are you. OWN IT. Being imperfect can be a blessing because, from experience, I’m telling you that you’re just never going to please the masses. We are works in progress and that is ok. It’s ok.