End Parenting Plagiarism: Parenting as Yourself
My husband and I are looking down the barrel of another week with no childcare due to COVID. I booked a babysitter today so I can get at least 3.5 hours of work done this week. I ended my text conversation with her: "WARNING: My house looks like the people who live here have given up."
There are two Type-B-artist-types running this household, and we're doing our best, but WOOF. I'm tired every day. The refrain between us is: "How are we supposed to do this? How are other people doing this?"
If we reframe parenting as creative work, as this blog aims to do, these questions aren't overly helpful. If I created a famous painting exactly the same, stroke for stroke, it may be impressive, but it's not adding anything to the world. It's not art. In fact, It's a forgery.
I love good parenting books, blogs, and podcasts. My friends and mentors are invaluable to me as they challenge and encourage me in my parenting. All of these voices are new hues of paint on my palette, new tools in my hand, daily inspiration as I work to create a beautiful life for me and my family.
But this morning when I woke up, I had transformed those gifts into a pile of rules about what I should do and who I should be. The advice on feeding a picky eater became a commentary on my lack of responsibility. The awesome craft idea from a stranger on Instagram felt like a brag. And when my husband found the biggest spider he'd ever seen creating a new home in the dirty laundry pile in my kitchen, I picked my most inspiring mom friend and turned her into a weapon against myself too. SHE would never let this happen.
When I'm tired (now) and don't know what I'm doing (now), it feels easiest to pick up a script from someone else. I labor to re-create their parenting, family dynamics, or advice exactly, stroke for stroke. Not only can I actually not accomplish this, which leads to a further sense of failure, but it's also straight-up plagiarism. It steals my unique voice as I go about the work of parenting my child, living in my house, and creating my life.
So, to preserve the artistic integrity of my own parenting, and yours if this is helpful to you, here is a list of affirmations and releases for us on days like today.
AFFIRMATIONS AND RELEASES FOR
I affirm I have something unique and valuable to offer to my family.
I release my lack of trust in myself.
I affirm my ability to learn, try, and practice new skills as situations and needs change within and around my family.
I release the expectation and pressure to do this perfectly or for my family to adjust immediately.
I affirm the value of the many tools and people who offer help and advice to me as I parent.
I release the compulsion to be "all or nothing" as I creatively sort through and apply these tools.
When I said my husband and I have "given up," I am 100% referring to keeping our house perfectly clean. But I also want to point to a deeper letting go. I'm giving up the standards others have set. I'm giving up the standards the me-before-kids set. Shoot, I'm giving up the standards me-before-today-set. I don't have to be any other version of myself or anyone else to parent successfully. What I need is to show up creatively, in freedom, knowing that I have what I need to make it, in my way, through this day.
Deep breaths, my fellow creators/parents. Your work, love, and unique self matter in the world. You are shaping it. You are making it.
What do you most need to affirm and/or release in your own parenting journey? What would you add to the affirmations and releases list? Comment below.
Kylee is a wife, mom, maker, and YouTuber! Check out art videos for your preschool and primary-aged kids on her YouTube Channel!
For educator and parent resources, check out KyleeMakesIt.com.