Sussex columnist: I watched Lewis Capaldi's Netflix show and now I feel like a parenting imposter

​I’ve been watching the new Netflix documentary about Lewis Capaldi called How I’m Feeling Now.
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​It’s a really good show, albeit quite a hard one to watch at times as you see the singer struggling with his mental health and anxiety.

Not to in any way compare myself to the Scottish megastar, but when he talked about having imposter syndrome it struck a bit of a chord (oh, how I laughed at my own musical pun).

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Because I think we probably all have times when we feel like we’re not really good enough, and worry that sometime, somehow, somebody is going to find out and we’ll get exposed for our shortcomings.

Sir Peter can deal with the heavy stuff, This page is for Katherine and her love of outside dryingSir Peter can deal with the heavy stuff, This page is for Katherine and her love of outside drying
Sir Peter can deal with the heavy stuff, This page is for Katherine and her love of outside drying

I think parenting can be a bit like that. When you’re having tricky times with your children, and you really feel like you’re just surviving each day on a wing and prayer, every parent around you seems to be a wholesome, nurturing genius.

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It can make you feel like a bit of a fraud. On the face of it, you’re there, parenting like the rest of them, but there can be that niggling voice in the back of your mind making you question if you’re doing it well at all.

I usually feel this way when one of my children makes a stand about something and I literally don’t know what to do next. Have you ever been there?

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Child refuses to do something. The usual bribes and threats don’t work. You’ve tried being calm, you’ve tried being assertive. Nothing is working. Where do you go next?

It happened this week when my son refused to come and have his bath.

He’s normally pretty well behaved, and even when he doesn’t want to do something, he can be persuaded quite easily.

But he really didn’t want to get clean this time. He point-blank refused to come upstairs and nothing I said would change his mind.

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He’d been playing in the mud on our day out at Wakehurst (Superworm’s trail was a real mess after days of rain), so he really needed a wash and I couldn’t let it go.

The more I tried, the more he dug his heels in. I was stuck. Then the doubt kicked in and I wondered if other parents were as ineffective as me at convincing their children bathing was fun.

It took a while, and I don’t think any parenting magic happened, but eventually I was able to coax him upstairs. Child was clean, but mummy was a shell of her former self.

Thankfully, all other parenting went fairly smoothly last week, but that left room for me to feel like an imposter in other areas…

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I think I said last week that sometimes I forget people might read this column, and it isn’t just a nice little diary to help me remember what I did last week (does baby brain ever end?!).

Sometimes I imagine my children’s head teacher reading about me extolling the delights of daytime drinking and I cringe.

And then there’s poor Sir Peter Bottomley. In the print version of this column, my waffle sits next to his weekly offering.

This man is the Father of the House. He’s been an MP since 1975 and he writes with gravitas about life in the Commons, taking up the causes of his constituents and his work that takes him across the UK and beyond.

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And he is placed next to the ramblings of a woman who can write paragraphs and paragraphs about the joy of drying her washing outside and how she loves Creme Egg ice cream (hands down, best ice cream EVER).

Should my stream of consciousness really be placed next to the columns of somebody eminently cleverer than me!?

How could you not have columnist imposter syndrome when the juxtaposition is so sharp?

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to offer you effective debrief on governmental policy, so maybe I need to look at things differently.

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We each provide something unique. Sir Peter will do the important stuff, and I’ll let you know if I spot any good new venues for bottomless brunches.

Seems like a good deal to me!