It’s January 1st as I begin typing this, and already I’ve made an avalanche of resolutions that I will never in a million years be able to keep. I’ve promised myself I’d read between 9 and 12 books, one of which is an 800-page biography of Theodore Roosevelt called “Wilderness Warrior,” which, for the record, I also promised myself I was going to read last year. Because when making resolutions, I forget what the world is actually like and how much time I actually have. I go, “I can’t wait to read “Wilderness Warrior” just as soon as I finish this other 800-page book on the history of Cancer.”
And I had the same sort of resolutions with my kid that I had with my life. Going in, I thought, “Ok! I am going to read a bunch of books on how to raise a baby and I’ll watch videos on the types of things I should do and I am going to have the best, most well-adjusted baby anyone has ever seen!”
And then I didn’t do any of those things. The best way to describe what I have done with this baby over the past year is “hang out.” We have “hung out” together, the way you do with friends from college– a lot of sitting around together and staring at stuff and every once in a while going, “Wait, why are you crying?”
I am doing the best I can with this baby but it does not always go perfectly. I am not feeding him all homegrown organic blended vegetables, and breastfeeding was not a magical experience akin to being in the movie “Avatar” like I was sort of hoping it would be, and most of the time my entire apartment smells like urine and unwashed hair.
But I am trying. We are all trying. I remember my mother burying her face in her hands and muttering “God knows I tried,” when one of us fell horrifically short of her expectations for us. Or when she fell short of her expectations for herself.
And falling short of one’s expectations always makes it feel like you’re losing at something.
So for my mother and for me and for anyone who has uttered the phrase, “Ugh, God knows I tried,” while his or her kid had a tantrum in the produce section of a Wegmans, happy new year, I made this for you.
It’s a bingo card made up of a bunch of my current and eventual parental failures. If you can’t read it, you can also see it by clicking the link below.
Even though I tried to be realistic about having a kid, I still feel like I’m failing a lot of the time. And with this bingo card, will I still feel like I’m failing sometimes? Obviously, yes. But if I fail at five things in a row, I’ll feel like I’ve won at something. Instead of only being frustrated that my son had a meltdown in a public place I can think, “Great! I can check off that box!”
Enjoy turning your failures into successes. For the record, my kid is just over 10 months old and I already almost have Bingo. And hang in there because even though he or she is frustrating right now, your awkward, loud, poorly-dressed child loves you very much and maybe, if you are lucky, will someday wander into a ceramics place and make you this mug.
Best of luck with everything in the new year.
(Also, if anyone sees my mom, tell her she did an OK job raising her kids. Thanks.)
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