My Parental Weirdness: Let Me Show You ItTracey Gaughran
1. Are you SURE you want me to write for you? I mean, for one thing, I swear. Like, A LOT. And besides that, I’m frankly a bit of a… well, a bit of a weirdo. I’m the kind of person who has, simultaneously, an abiding interest in dense, off-putting avant-garde poetry and the mildly-offensive products 4 Chan memeology, and who considers herself a card-carrying superfan of Louis CK, Kanye West, and post-punk rock. Not exactly the most “family-friendly” of sensibilities, is what I’m saying. Unless your family is The Bluths from Arrested Development, in which case, come over here and let me hug you. MY PEOPLE.
2. I’m no credentialed expert, and I’ve never really written anything of the parenting-advice-giving sort before. My personal blog, Sweetney – far from being instructive, or even vaguely suggestive of anything parenting-wise – is really just a collection of personal stories and anecdotes (Featuring: Things That Happened To Me While I Was (Again) Being Clueless, and, in some cases, Things I Thought Were Funny After That Second Glass Of Wine I Probably Shouldn’t Have Had BUT OH WELL TOO LATE NOW). What could I possibly have to say to anyone, as a Mom, that would be useful or helpful? Why should anyone listen to me?
But the more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me that these Babble folks ARE crazy… crazy like a whole den of stylish urban foxes, that is. Because what I realized is that it’s precisely the point that I’m a bit, err, different (being diplomatic here), and that I don’t really know what the hell I’m doing half of the time (okay, fine, 75% of the time. Are you happy now?). I mean, sure, maybe I’m not perfectly representative of Middle American values and tastes and mores, but I most certainly am just as befuddled at times by this parenting gig as most Moms are, and I’m trying just as hard as everyone else is to find a path through the wilds of parenthood that allows me to be myself – warts and all – AND be a good parent. Because the reality is, of course, that you don’t have to be a perfect and you don’t have to have all the answers (or, in my case, even MOST of the answers). And you certainly don’t have to be a beyond reproach, Martha Stewart subscribing obsessively scrapbooking Suzy Homemaker bot-type to be a great Mom. You can be a little… weird. You can be who you really are, like what you really like, be interested in whatever it is that interests you – however unconventional – and still be a kickass parent. Or, you know, kickass-ish. Let’s not overstate reality, shall we?
Right. So let’s do this thing.
Hi, I’m Tracey. I’m a single mom, PhD dropout, prototypical Gen-Xer, and avowed smartass. I work from home as a writer/editor, and live with my evil genius 8-year-old daughter (think the girl from Little Miss Sunshine meets Dr. Horrible) – aka The Kid – my baker boyfriend C, plus a gaggle of assorted insane pets, in a passably-restored 1914 Foursquare in beautiful Baltimore, Maryland. I recently became a vegan (for health-related reasons), I have a thing for prosecco, and I really, really like incredibly bad reality TV. I’m doing the best I can at everything I do, and most of the time, the best I can do is pretty okay.
This blog will, I hope, be a place for those of you who, like me, feel they don’t quite fit in with or relate to a lot of what’s offered on more traditional parenting sites. I’ve long joked with friends that my personal site is the blog equivalent of the spot behind the bleachers where the burnouts and punk kids went to hang out between classes in high school – that safe place we went to commiserate and, for at least a few moments, feel understood and accepted (and okay, sure, maybe bum a smoke or two). I hope Sweetney & Spice will be that, too.
So stick around, hang out, relax, and please, be yourself. I’ll make sure you get to Home Ec on time, and the principal and teachers will none the wiser, promise.
Read more from Tracey Gaughran-Perez at her personal blog Sweetney.com