Were Our Parents Faking It Too?


When my husband agreed to have a baby with me, I was shocked.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been. We’d had a girl’s name picked out since we’d been dating for four months. That girl’s name? Was Mia. Because we’d been watching Pulp Fiction and decided that we loved the name of Uma Thurman’s heroin addicted character.

Not that we’d want her to be our future daughter’s role model. In case you were worried.

Even with our future daughter’s name long determined, I was shocked that he agreed so readily to have a baby with me.

Perhaps it was because I told him this while I lay in bed in my pajamas, happily munching junk food. Dishes were piled high in our sink when I posed my baby making initiative. I was not the picture of serene calm that I assumed I’d need to be before he agreed to let me rear his child. If anything, I looked like a freakily aged teenager.

I’m something of a contradiction in terms when it comes to completing tasks. The things I want to accomplish are tackled with an almost reckless drive. The things I find tedious wait on the sidelines, potentially forever.

Were I to decide to conquer a new world, I’m sure said conquering would be completed in a timely and efficient manner. I would establish myself as a kind and benevolent empress with ease. But I would be one of the few emperesses in the world with a pile of laundry tickling her waist.

When our son was brought into the world, we had the good sense not to name him Mia even though it was the only name we had picked out. I spend my days questioning the rest of our decisions.

We do the dishes more often and our piled of laundry doesn’t teeter as high as it used to.
Still there are things that plague me; things that continue to make me feel as though I am only playing at being a parent.

When he does something brand new and rebellious, I often have to fight not to laugh.

Sometimes, I don’t really want him to go to bed because we’re having too much fun and I don’t want to ruin it.

Other times, I really want him to go to bed so I can have some fun that doesn’t involve me scraping food off the walls.

I don’t really feel all that parental. Part of me imagined that once I became a mother I’d lose all touch with pop culture, snark and things that were in anyway disorganized.

But I haven’t changed that much. My hair didn’t whip itself up into a bun upon conception.

Instead, I’m wandering around in my pajamas at 4 pm. I’m scanning VH1 to see if I can get away with watching a countdown instead of Yo Gabba Gabba. Wracked with guilt at the idea of letting Alex know who the #1 celebrity train wreck of 2010 is, I choose instead to dance and shimmy with DJ Lance Rock. But I’m not always happy about it. Just like I’m not always sure how or when to reprimand him.

Though I’ve read parentings books and articles, not one of them has given me the secret key to being a parent. Most days, I’m going on gut; flying by the seat of my pants. I’m pretending to know what I’m doing because somehow, unfathomably, I’m the one in charge.

Even though I still feel like a five year old most days.

Which leads me to wonder: all this time, were our parents faking it too?

I bet they were.

My mother laughing at me leads me to believe I’m right.


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  1. 1

    dysfunctional mom says

    It’s the best kept secret in parenting: we’re all faking it. None of us has a freaking clue what we’re doing.
    My parents never gave it away. They never seemed anything less than 100% confident and all-knowing. I am the complete opposite; it’s pretty obvious to anyone that I’m making it all up as I go along.

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  2. 2

    gigi says

    and now you understand my blog name.

    We all just throw stuff together and hope it works. Ok, there are some mindful and judicious parents out there..but there are more of us who just plain muddle through.

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    • 4

      TANYA says

      HAHAHA So true Nina! One of my most used phrases is”Life’s tough cookers.” I inherited my mom’s shirt that says “I’m the mommy that’s why.” Best shirt ever made!

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  3. 6

    Moomser says

    I have the EXACT SAME approach to task completion. At least now I can tell my husband I’m not the only one so he needs to just lay off!! (thanks!) The fact that our parents were faking it too, all I can say is, would’ve been nice to have known a little earlier, thanks Mom.

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  4. 9

    Victoria KP says

    I agree with the other folks who commented. We’re all faking it to some extent or another. Anyone who declares herself an “expert” at parenting is sure to get the rug pulled out from under her. SO many variables in this parenting experience.

    I figure if you can manage to do it joyfully (which you certainly sound like you are) you’re ahead of the game.

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  5. 10

    Alison says

    Great post! I loved being pregnant until I realized that I actually had to er, look after the baby and keep him alive and everything, and GAH. I am still totally faking it 14 months on!!

    Will I ever get better at this parenting thing?? :-)

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  6. 13

    Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 says

    I totally fake it…I laugh at all bad acts the first time they happen (and hiss with contempt when Husband laughs)…I think you’re right on with your parenting. Keep yourself as part of the equation and you’ll do great!

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  7. 14

    Rachel @ The Lazy Christian says

    I don’t think my parents were faking it. They didn’t try hard enough to even seem like they were attempting to fake it. My consolation on the days it’s tough to feel enthusiastic about being a mom is, “I can’t do any worse than my parents, and I’m not a serial killer.”

    And if I have to watch one more episode of Thomas, I’ll—I don’t know what. It’s not even educational! The only highlight for me is when the voiceover is Alec Baldwin.

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  8. 17

    myevil3yearold says

    I was totally faking it on my first but by #2 I felt like I was getting the hang of the baby thing. Then, they started growing up and now I am back to faking it.

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  9. 18

    erin margolin says

    I’m with Gigi and Dysfunctional Mom. We’re all just winging it, flying by the seat of our pants. I buy parenting books and then don’t read them. I yell at my kids, wear the same clothes 2 days in a row (sometimes the t-shirt I slept in the night before, shhhhh), and sip contentedly on my Mommy Juice on the worst days.

    We’re all in it together, though. Well, except for the ones who don’t admit/confess to it.

    I’m a teenager in a 34-year-old’s body.

    Great job, KLZ!

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  10. 20

    TornadoTwos says

    I feel the same way, and I’m on my fifth child! Some parents seem so put together and full of good advice, I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants, trying to figure out what to do as things come up.

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  11. 21

    Jessica says

    Great post, I remember thinking the same when I became a mom, that maybe my parents didn’t actually know everything either. Hopefully our kids don’t catch on to the scam until they are grown and out of the house.

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  12. 22

    Vinobaby says

    The key to faking is CONFIDENCE. If you sound/act like you are the Epitome of Motherhood Knowledge & Experience your kids, friends, and even your husband will buy it. Sometimes you will even buy it yourself.

    Works for me…at least I think it does…most of the time…

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  13. 23

    heather of the eo says

    Oh how I can relate. I feel like a kid pretending at adult life, especially as a parent. I laugh about it most of the time. Like “who trusted ME to do THIS?” It’s so ridiculous.

    Great post, lady.

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  14. 24

    Brook @ To Be Dancing says

    Yeah, the lunatics are running the asylum here, too. I’m not sure which a-hole put me in charge of this crew, but when I find them they are gonna get it.
    I often say I want to go back to when I was a kid and things like Christmas and trips or whatever just seemed to happen. I wish I was still unaware of all the damn planning that was going on.
    My dishes and laundry are done best when I have homework I need to work on. Oops :)

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