Recently I visited a medical website that shared the following old mnemonic:
blind as a bat,
dry as a bone,
red as a beet,
hot as hare,
mad as a hatter.
These similes capture exactly how I feel as a mom. I can write my way out of a corner, and I think I am pretty good at teaching my students to do the same. But when it comes to motherhood, I am blind as a bat.
You see, my husband is a stay at home parent. I work full time. I practically work two full time jobs (if you count the online teaching at a different university). We agreed to this set-up (him at home, me at work) before we relocated to the St. Louis area.
It isn’t easy — for either one of us.
I often feel like the impostor mom. I worry that I am not loving enough, engaged enough, or consistent enough. When those moments surface, I worry I am not supporting the kids or my husband. I fear I’m dry as a bone — emotionally speaking.
When I convince myself of that, I feel red as a beet.
Most days, I chase the kids like a rookie parent.(Hot as a hare — being slightly out of shape doesn’t help either.)
Mad as a hatter? I don’t think it is politically correct to call myself crazy, but technically, I have been diagnosed with clinical depression. Close enough, I guess. I hope my mental health doesn’t screw up the kids.
I’m thinking about all this because, for the past week, my psychologist Dr. Jasmine has had me working on one of my negative core values : “I’m an impostor.”
My impostor syndrome extends to other aspects of my life (work, friendships, even family), but it troubles me the most when I think I am an impostor mom.
I’m constantly learning that motherhood, unlike a persuasive essay, doesn’t come with a textbook of rules and examples. And motherhood along with a full time profession is even less clear.
[Motherhood isn’t clear in the first place, so this means adding any other hat just muddies the waters even more.
And we never wear only one hat in life.]
I guess I’m acknowledging (to myself) that it’s OK to feel like the “confused academic mom.” Actually, “baffled academic mom” works better. BAM. BAM!
BAM – I did it again. I screwed up. But it’s OK. Perfection isn’t part of the parenting playbook.. which didn’t exist in the first place.
On second thought, I guess I can finally let go of that impostor core value.