Once upon a time I was visiting a doctor, and we were making idle chit-chat that included what I did for (paid) work. At the time, I had just started editing for KidsOutAndAbout.com, but I’d also been sending out articles for regional parenting publications that were published here and there.
“. . . So, you’re a parenting expert?” the doctor asked.
I was so startled that I might have gasped out loud.
“No! No. Absolutely not. I am in no way a parenting expert,” I protested.
“But you write articles giving parents advice about their kids,” she persisted.
“Yeah, but. . . .” Well, yeah. But I wasn’t giving, like, important advice about crucial parenting issues. I remember sitting there on the crinkly paper and wearing my tied-in-the-back gown, feeling stumped. I mean, okay, I could see where she would reach that conclusion, but it still seemed like entirely the wrong conclusion to me.
I had a similar experience recently when members of the board at WGGS suggested that I join a panel about parenting and social media. “Oh. . . I don’t really know that much,” I said. “Don’t you want some expert?” But since I’d recently revamped the website, I manage the Facebook page, and crucially, I have exactly the right aged kids for discussions about social media, the ladies all thought that I should be a parent panelist. I pointed out that I am still mostly mystified by SnapChat, but they found my argument unconvincing. I grudgingly agreed as long as they promised to introduce me as a parent-not-expert.
I don’t know. I have been told that I am too self-deprecating, and maybe I am. On this blog, for sure, I veer toward self-deprecation, but that’s because when I read blogs where the writers feel really secure in their own fantastic-ness (no, it is not a word, but I require it, anyway), I just find it irritating and demoralizing. I mean, if you guys want to feel inadequate and crappy about yourself, you can go read Goop or look at Pinterest boards, amIright? . . .
Wait, is that just me? Maybe I have Issues. Maybe I should See Someone.
Nah. . . .
Okay, I’ll say this. While I do not feel in any way like a parenting expert, if we were to judge expertise solely on the product produced, I am killing it. We’ve got two spectacular human beings. They are kind and conscientious and strong and curious and funny and powerful girls who earn excellent grades, nurture delightful friendships, perform awesome athletic feats, present themselves tastefully, and are engaging conversationalists. I am well aware that there’s a great deal of good fortune involved. But also, possibly, a bit of expertise.