It occurred to me today that no-one ever talks about “skilled parenting”. Someone might be called a good parent, a natural parent, a wonderful parent – yet I don’t think I’ve ever ever heard someone’s caregiving described as skillful or similar. This struck me while I was doing one of those instantaneous and complex mental assessments of immediate priorities, which are all the more difficult with another bub, and thinking of how much skill is involved in managing things so that life runs smoothly. Forward planning and fleet-footed reassessment. I see other mums do this too. My cousin’s partner is amazing, when we were camping I was like wow, she’s got this totally sussed.
It’s kinda stink that this isn’t spoken of as a skill, which it very much is, but more as a knack or a gift or a talent. It diminishes the nature of the effort and -possibly more damaging – it suggests that ya got it or ya don’t. But that’s not true. Parents who aren’t naturally patient can develop patience, parents who aren’t very organised can learn how to become more so, parents who aren’t immediately good at reading the mood of a toddler can figure it out through trial and error. We have to, just to get through the day.