Ways I Have Failed as a Parent
I really thought it would all be perfect. Really and truly. I was 35 when I had my one and only child. By that point, I surely thought I had life figured out. Ten years later, I’m just counting all the way I have failed as a parent.
“Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, “Where have I gone wrong?” Then a voice says to me, “This is going to take more than one night.” Charles M. Schulz
Ways In Which I Have Failed as a Parent
Exposing My Child to the “Adult Film” Scene in Love Actually
Let’s just start with this one. It’s the one that will either keep you on this post, laughing hysterically, or have your clicking out in a huff of judgement and disgust. It’s a good way to find out who my people are.
So here’s what happened: This past Christmas Season, I wanted to watch one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. And if you’re seen Love Actually, you may remember the scenes in which two characters, John and Judy, meet while playing body doubles on the set of an “adult film.”
The two strike up a sweet and sincere conversation in the midst of an awkward situation: spending the day assuming various mechanical nude poses and “miming” adult activities. And in some of those scenes, they are nude.
But see, I did forget about those scenes. I forgot about the ones where they were naked. The only scene I remember was them being fully clothed and, um standing. So in a a moment of poor judgement, I assumed I could just fast forward through that part if she happened to be in the room when it came on. Problem was, I had completely forgotten about the other scenes!
And, as luck would have it, she was in the room at the exact moment the nude and most risque scene came on. And so when that happened, I jumped up, ran to block the TV with my body and screamed “DOOOONNNNNNN’T LOOOOOOOOOOK!”
Incidentally, this is not the best method to use when you DON’T want your child to look at something.
Needless to say, I feel like I completely ruined her childhood. If there is any positive outcome of this, it is that she was incredibly grossed out. I’m hoping she holds that belief for many more years.
Letting My Child Play With Scissors While I Enjoyed Sangria
Yes. This happened. Sometimes, when your bestie comes over to enjoy delicious sangria on a warm, sunny, patio day, you need things to occupy the kids. But, scissors is never a good choice. Particularly, when they are in the “Barbie Fab Friends Styling Head” phase.
Again, this is a place where I may lose some people….people who do a better job of checking the craft supply box….people who don’t drink sangria on patios. Basically, people who are better parents than me.
But guess what? We lived through her bi-level haircut and five years later, we can laugh about it.
The “Stay In Your Bed Ghost”
Okay, this. Let me explain. We went through this really hard phase of Little B not staying in her bed. Honestly, we’re still in it. She’s a night owl, like her dad.
Once we transitioned from the baby bed to the toddler bed, she wouldn’t stay put. Believe me, we tried everything. We were desperate.
So her Dad constructed this…thing, and put it the living room between her room and ours. Note: this is a TERRIBLE photo. I know that. It’s dark and blurry, taken before I had one of the iPhones with a decent camera. But I feel it’s necessary to have some sort of visual so you get the gist.
From the get-go, I felt this was a bad idea. He stood his ground and felt this would be effective. Sometimes you have to pick your battles.
Sure enough, when she came scampering out of her room and ran into “Stay In Your Bed Ghost,” wails and tears ensued and she ended up sleeping in our bed due to the trauma.
Beer Wine and Tomato Soup – Art Imitates Life
She’s a picky eater. I’ve searched high and low on Pinteres for “easy recipes for my picky child,” “simple and delicious dinners,” “kid-friendly foods,” etc.
Bottom line: she prefers crap. And sometimes, I just throw in the towel and let her eat crappy food. So for awhile, she was on a huge tomato soup kick. She ate it almost every night.
And while tomato soup isn’t necessarily crappy food, her depiction of our “family dinner time” could be, in fact, considered crappy. When I asked her about this piece, she told me it was called “Beer, Wine and Tomato Soup.”
I mean, this doesn’t necessarily scream “wholesome and balanced,” does it?
No. It does not.
The Discreet Bird – a Family Tradition
If I haven’t lost you as a friend by now, then hang tight. This is an oldie but goody.
If you know my husband and his family even a little, then you know about their affinity for The Bird. They sneak it into as many photos as possible.
It started with their Dad, LB. The man is stealth about discreetly flipping off the camera. In this example, well, it’s not so stealth. But a lot of times, it is.
If you aren’t super uptight, then it’s actually pretty to see a 70-something man smiling and flipping you off on film.
But the problem with having smart-a**es in the family is that it rubs off on the kids. See, here? This is a pic I snapped when she was five.
You know, just your normal kindergartner, eating a snack bar before school.
See what she did there?
And I didn’t even catch it until months later. Again, fail.
So if you’ve hung with me this far, chances are you have your own parenting fails. And if you don’t have any parenting fails, well, maybe we’re just not meant to be.
Because here’s the thing. We all have fails. Our kids do things we never imagined they would do. We mess up in ways we never thought possible. It’s just life. But despite the fails, I’m pretty sure I’m doing okay.
But I’m Doing Okay – Despite Ways I Have Failed as a Parent
My child is kind. Truly, she has a kind heart. Is she perfect? Nope. She’s had her bouts of girl drama and conflict and life lessons about friendships. But overall, she is kind and loving towards people. Kids will have conflict. That’s part of life. But if, in general, they are kind human beings, then you’re doing okay in my book.
She’s independent. She’s always had a strong sense of self. From dressing herself eccentrically to playing alone on the playground. She knows who she is and for the most part, does a pretty good job of staying on her true course.
She has a great sense of humor. For example, her uncle has an intense hatred for and fear of clowns. So last year, she drew this for him.
She is wise beyond her years. For example, just last week on the way to school, she selected “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey from my playlist and declared “This is my jam!”
I mean really, what more could I ask for?
Sure, I have failed as a parent many, many times. We all have. But we have so many more wins.
We just have to forgive our fails and keep looking for the wins.
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