There’s a LOT of talk in the last few years about ‘the imposter syndrome’. We all know what it is. That feeling that, any minute, everyone else around you is going to realise that you don’t belong here, that you’re faking it and have absolutely zero credentials for what you are doing.
Normally, this is in relation to work and business but please, please tell me that I’m not the only one feeling it as a parent?
It hit me the other day. I was standing outside Billie’s drama class last Monday night and I suddenly looked around me at the twenty or so other parents waiting for their children and I thought, “I don’t have a fucking clue what I’m doing. It’s a miracle I’m here at all remembering to pick her up let alone be that parent who’s armed with a post-activity snack. Shit, if I don’t get out of here, they’re all going to realise that I’m a big massive, fat, parenting fraud.”
Whenever I get an email from school asking me whether I give Billie permission for this, that or the other, I genuinely feel like I’m not qualified to make that decision. Do I want Billie’s height and weight measured for the national database. I dunno? Do I? It doesn’t sound good to me and putting a 5 year old on scales feels a bit icky and we all know BMI is a big pile of rubbish, but if everyone else is doing it?
It’s not as if I lack confidence (shocker), but it simply feels like someone a bit more ‘adult’ than me should be making these decisions. It’s like that meme that goes around every now and again where something happens and while you look around for an ‘adult’ you realise you’re the ‘adultest adult’ available. YOU ARE THE ADULT.
How the fuck am I an adult? In charge of small people? Their wellbeing? Their mental health? Their growth? Their entire flippin’ existence? I still struggle to submit my gas & lecky meter readings on time. I am almost certainly paying too much for my utilities because I’m not adult enough to stay on top of that stuff and I haven’t taken myself to the dentist in two years. I still haven’t figured out the art of eating healthily on a consistent basis, I have zero savings and don’t even get me started on my pension and how I expect to survive once I’m too old to work. How on earth, with these questionable credentials, have I found myself to be the adultest adult around?
There is no answer to this question other than to say that this is imposter syndrome in the guise of parenting. My rational brain knows that, by the power of fish fingers and good childcare, I will get through this and perhaps occasionally excel at it. Maybe you all feel a bit the same and maybe I’m not alone in wondering if there’ll ever be a point at which I can say, “Hmmm. Yes, now I feel like a bonafide adult capable of managing all things ‘grown up’ including, but not limited to, raising my children without fucking them up.”
Also, to be clear, I did not give permission for Billie to be weighed and measured. That’s just dark and I’m plotting another blog about that.
But for now, let’s invent a secret wink that we can issue to other adults in the playground or at playgroups that you think might also be feeling a bit imposterish. Even just knowing there’s more of us out there has to be a good thing?