Put a Bib on It

10 Ways I’ve Failed as a Parent (Lately)


"... while I frequently feel like a complete and utter failure as a parent, the reality is that I'm just a parent."Let my daughter watch a video of herself jumping in the bed because it distracted her from having a fit.

Also, jumping in the bed? We do that. A lot.

Gave her two French fries because she said “please.”

On a related note, we apparently go through too many drive thrus, because she’s learned to hold her hand up above her rear-facing car seat like a little shark fin in the rearview mirror, begging for food.

Allowed her to eat the Fruit Loops off of a school art project because it gave me the two minutes I needed to finish drafting an email. I feel relatively confident the glue was nontoxic.

I told her, “I won’t respond to inarticulate whining.” She was not receptive.

Her free reign of our fully child-proofed home has resulted in her gorging herself on cat food. Twice.

Forgot to put sunscreen on her at the zoo. And the park, even after another parent borrowed our sunscreen to slather their own child.

Closed the back door in a hurry before she was clear of it, causing her to fall flat on her face on our concrete patio.

Dissuaded her from eating her daddy’s snacks off of his desk by telling her, “Those are daddy’s nuts.” She will happily tell you all about “daddy’s nuts,” should you even look like you’re going to inquire.

Okay, I don’t really regret that.

The real punch line to this post, of course, is that while I frequently feel like a complete and utter failure as a parent, the reality is that I’m just a parent. When it comes to something as monumentally weighty as the growing and grooming of a child, it can be incredibly challenging to feel like you’re ever doing a good job. The best I can hope for is not to screw up too badly. It feels like cutting yourself any slack as a parent translates into being lazy or unworthy or negligent, but we survived – and thrived – without our parents having a new research study published every day telling them everything they’re doing wrong. I think my children will, too.

I tried to make a list to mirror this one, bolstering myself with successes, but it didn’t come as easily (and it wasn’t as funny). But it was full of simpler things, like keeping promises I made to her about going to the park or the library or playing a game, reading stories every day, keeping my cool when she absolutely lost hers over a whole host of seemingly ludicrous things, cooking and caring and singing and smiling. It’s this stuff I hope she’ll remember, that really shapes her, and not the little messes that stick with – and to – me at the end of the day.

Author: Jillian Kuhlmann

Mama. Nerd. Writer.

2 thoughts on “10 Ways I’ve Failed as a Parent (Lately)

  1. You are to funny you are fantastic mom but you are right it is very challenging.. miss E will be just fine don’t be so hard on yourself Love MoM!!!!!!

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