Parenting anonymous, kind of like AA but where alcohol is the solution not the problem! This is the kind of organization I could potentially get behind. I have a fantasy about how PA groups would operate too.
Mom’s (Parent’s) Groups – The reality.
I’m not really much of a mom’s group kind of mom. I work. At a job. Not in my house. While I was on mat leave with my second child, I attempted to get out to a couple of playgroups. This was never a successful venture on my part. Play group times were always in the middle of my youngest’s first nap. My oldest (2 at the time) didn’t like the structure nor the confinement of staying in the play room. As a result, I’d have to follow him around, while carrying my cranky baby. Which meant that I had no chance to even attempt to get to know the other mom’s there. It was so much easier to just stay home and head to the playground according to our own schedule.
Parenting Anonymous – The fantasy.
What I could really use is a parenting group where someone else comes into my home in the evening to look after my kids and put them to bed, clean up the toys and dinner mess, make lunches, and fold the enormous pile of laundry that never seems to go away. While this magical person is at work in my house, I could then go to my Parenting Anonymous meeting, have a drink and actually relax knowing that I won’t have to cram in a few hours work immediately following the meeting. I could focus on getting to know the other parents, enjoy an uninterrupted conversation, tell jokes, sit in one place or move around the room whenever I wish. Then take a cab home and sink comfortably into bed.
The meetings would start with: Hello, my name is Robin, and I’m a parent. From that moment sympathy and support would pour out. We could even have our own 12 Steps to Recovery program.
1: We admitted we were powerless over our children–that our lives had become unimaginably chaotic.
2: Came to believe that only a glass of wine at the end of the day could restore us to sanity.
3: Made a decision to just let things slide, like cleaning, personal hygiene and so on.
4: Made a searching and fearless inventory of our toys — if we get more, will they keep the children better entertained.
5: Admitted to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature being a parent of infants/toddlers/children/teens/etc.
6: Were entirely ready to ignore our children’s bad behavior in order to maintain peace in the home. Sometimes even a time out is an episode unto itself.
7: Demand that our children ignore our shortcomings (assuming we haven’t managed to hide them)– we’re ignoring their’s for heaven’s sake, it’s the least they can do.
8: Made a list of all persons we can drag in to help babysit.
9: Made direct amends to such people who could be babysitters at some point in the future if positively motivated.
10: Avoid thinking about whether or not we’re doing this parenting thing right and just do the best we can.
11: Seek peace through prayer, meditation, and a glass of wine after the kids go to bed.
12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to parents, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
And most importantly, take things one day at a time, or one hour at a time. Really, whatever get’s you through!
My apologies to any parents who are also alcoholics as PA is probably not the organization for you.