Dave Typewriter

Our Story Begins:
I Don’t Need Your Ten Things

Two years ago I started writing for Good Enough Mother. I remember the post that started it all, too, one of Rene’s video posts from 2011. It asked: would you want a crystal ball to tell you what’s going to happen? Would you want to know whether your kids succeed or fail or follow the path you’ve helped them tread? After I posted a comment, Rene contacted me. She’d read my blog, seen what a terrible year 2011 was, and asked if I’d write.

Related:  Wishful Thinking: Would You Want a Crystal Ball (Video)?

Before I tell you the comment that started it all, let me explain why I said I’d write for Rene. The site, after all, says Good Enough Mother. Not parent, not guy, none of that. As silly as it sounds, I weighed if I fit in the community and wondered if I could contribute anything positive? Being a Dad, was I an outsider looking in? After reading more and more of Rene’s site and talking with her, the message was clear and one I’d already been teaching my kids: you don’t have to be perfect. Good enough is perfect. The laundry can be cleaned for the most part, but it won’t kill the kids to wear the same jeans a few days in a row. (It won’t!) There’s a little dust on the entertainment center and the kitchen is never clean enough. I was now part of a community of people…not parents, not mothers…people…who understood that was fine.

10 Things

My Google search of “10 things…”

But there’s a new trend in social media that seems to want to bemoan the situation of being a parent. Go to Google and type in “The 10 things I wish I’d known…” My Facebook, Twitter, all the feeds are swamped with these. They tell me things I’ve known for years but don’t help me in any way.

Dave with his sons on an adventure

Dave with his sons on an adventure

When I became the only parent in a house with two girls and two boys, I had only the information I had gleaned before my wife’s untimely death. If, before I had children, I’d seen “10 things I wish someone had told me” I’d have skipped right past it. These posts do nothing to give me information I need and only exist to get massive clicks and web traffic for their websites. Telling me “you need to take time for yourself” and then closing with “getting a kiss; hug; tear; love from my kids shows me it’s the greatest thing in the world” is the parental version of the political posts you hate getting from your friends.

As a guy, here’s what I needed to know and learned by myself: removing blood from panties; getting grass stains out of jeans; explaining what porn is and why it’s bad (for boys and girls); getting my daughter to be safe when she’s in college; good versus bad cleavage…the list goes on and on.

Related: Our Story Begins: Of Boobs, Body Suits and Boys

But in the end . . . the philosophy I was embracing was what Rene has preached this whole time: you just have to be good enough. Not lazy, not ignorant, but knowing you did your best.

My comment two years ago was to say “no.” I don’t want a crystal ball. Just like those top ten lists, a crystal ball gives you a snapshot. One moment. Preaching to the choir, knowing a finite future, those things don’t benefit you. Wishing I’d known how bad losing sleep is and bemaoning the fact I can never go to the bathroom alone doesn’t help me.

The journey. That’s the enjoyable part. Remembering the story of how we got here . . . that’s what I choose to remember.

What about you? Do you share those Upworthy Buzzfeed pieces and worry about the “10 things you wish you’d known?”

Dave Manoucheri

Dave Manoucheri is a writer and journalist based in Sacramento, California. A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins is a chronicle of their daily life after the loss of his wife, Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.