It feels like Angelina Jolie has been doing more with her guest-editorship of Time Magazine during the quarantine. She usually writes one or two columns a month, but now she’s doing video-conferences with Time’s editor-in-chief, and guest-editing a “special edition” of Time. Someone has time on her hands in LA, basically. So what’s up with this special edition? It’s Time’s Parents newsletter, and Angelina wrote an open letter to parents:
I am thinking of you. I am imagining how hard each of you is trying to get through your days. How much you want to lead your loved ones through this. How you worry. How you plan. How you smile for them, when inside you feel at times you are breaking.
I was not a very stable youth. In fact, I never thought I could be anyone’s mom. I remember the decision to become a parent. It wasn’t hard to love. It wasn’t hard to dedicate myself to someone and something greater than my life. What was hard was knowing that from now on I needed to be the one to make sure everything was okay. To manage it and make it work. From food to school to medical. Whatever would come. And to be patient.
I realized I stopped my constant daydreaming, instead staying always ready for any break into what I was doing or thinking to answer a need. It was a new skill to acquire.
So now, in the midst of this pandemic, I think of all the mothers and fathers with children at home. All hoping they can do everything right, answer all needs, and stay calm and positive.
One thing that has helped me is to know that’s impossible.
It is a lovely thing to discover that your children don’t want you perfect. They just want you honest. And doing your best. In fact, the more room they have to be great where you are weak, the stronger they may become. They love you. They want to help you. So in the end, it’s the team you build. And in a way, they are raising you up too. You grow together.
“It is a lovely thing to discover that your children don’t want you perfect.” One thing I like about Angelina is that she never played footsie with the Motherhood Industrial Complex, and she never pushed a “mother superior” image in the press. She never made it a secret that parenthood changed her life and all of that, but hell, she can barely boil an egg and she takes her kids to fast-food drive-throughs. She lets them dress how they want, she’s not an Instagram-mommy and the worst thing anyone can really say about her at this point is that she loves to travel with her kids and give them adventures. My point is that Angelina has a leg up during the lockdown – her kids already knew she wasn’t perfect, because she never pushed that image on them. Now for all of the competitive Insta-mommies out there… so much for that subset, huh? Nowadays, every parent I see looks absolutely frazzled and punch-drunk.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Backgrid and Avalon Red.