let me add a disclaimer right here that i don't think i am a parenting type of person - more than anything i have done parenting scares the shit out of me...
i mean all of that responsibility - CEOs hold a lot of power for sure (and get recompensed for it) but parents hold lives in their hands - sure not in such a dramatic way as ICU staff do but the slow burning power to hurt or heal lives is in a parent's hands everyday...
Initially i wished it was like ICU where you could get a diagnostic test and figure out the answer based on predictable variables - potassium too low and risking heart attack? just put up a KCl infusion... you know a+b = c
But (to labour the ICU metaphor) with my kids the alarms were going off and i didn't know the answers - or even what part of my child's equipment was beeping ... i could just feel something wasn't right...
so then i would try something and 2 times out of ten it would work but 8 times not... and then i would resort to my left brain "there must be an explanation, an expert out there so i would buy one more parenting book and equip myself with a whole raft of shoulds... which would invariably sink and leave me gasping for breath on the shore of the island of self recrimination (wow from ICU to shipwrecks in one paragraph...)
slowly i learned that making even more shoulds wound me up, made me more likely to do the things i hated - yelling at my kids for example
i learned to trust my instincts a little more
and i learned to allow myself permission to make mistakes
to fuck it up from time to time even
because then i can call it what it is
"Shit i fucked that up" and get on with the job of fixing it for next time
It allows me the leeway to say to my kids things like
"I am really tired and i have used up all my patience, if you do that again i am going to yell so help me ok?"
i make copious mistakes
i always go to bed thinking that i could have done that better
but i am more able to right myself after a storm blows through and puts me off course because i don't have those guilty self abusive ballast stones inside me
it stands me in good stead as a developing artist - i can allow myself the freedom to try stuff and fuck that up too without thinking i should give it up and never do anything else... and considering i need to practise and turn up everyday that is very very handy...
and i hope my girls are learning about self care and perfectionism too...