The Biggest Lie About Parenting

You’ll never do it ‘right’ — because right doesn’t exist

Mindy Stern
Human Parts


Photo: Tetra Images/Getty Images

II love self-help memes on Instagram. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a gushy inspirational quote that gives you pause as you mindlessly scroll through your feed? But what I do not like are the memes like this: the feet of a woman in high heels below the words, “Self love will literally solve all your fucking problems.” That’s ridiculous.

The other day, I came across a meme on an account geared toward young mothers. It said, “Respond to your children with love in their worst moments, their angry moments, their selfish moments, their lonely moments, their inconvenient moments because it is in their most unlovable human moments that they most need to feel loved.”

This is true — not just for our children but for all of us. We all need to feel love in our most unlovable moments. But, come on, it’s impossible to do all of the time.

What’s missing is the next page, the words that give mothers permission to flail and fail, the words that normalize our shortcomings rather than shaming us for them. What needs to follow that quote is, “and forgive yourself for the moments you don’t—because you are human too.”

While these memes can inspire and provoke thought, or lead to a lightbulb moment or a mindful insight…