Parenting Fails

May 30, 2010

My husband’s version of the internet is totally different than the one I experience.  Glancing over at his computer screen is like accidentally opening a book written in Sanskrit (assuming you have no experience with Sanskrit — I’m sure that at least one of you, brilliant readers, is a Sanskrit scholar), and usually I quickly turn to my snarky celebrity fashion critiques or famous mama blogs. 

Once in a while, though, Mr. Blogling will make some excellent interweb discovery and share  it.  He’s the one who introduced me to the entire concept of “fails” — basically, places on the internet that record various embarassing or ridiculous images and categorize them as something normal gone wrong.  For example, the picture below is entitled “road painting fail.” 

Get it?  There used to be an entire website entitled “My First Fail,” which contained picture of babies and kids in compromising positions.   The following picture of  Corrina was once featured, upon Mr. Blogling’s submission. 


The caption was “one of these things is not like the other.”  Funny, right?  Anyway, My First Fail has now become Babies Making Faces, which is the same hilarious concept under a different name and an excellent way to waste some time on the internet. 

If you’ve made it this far in the post without getting sidetracked by the various awesome hyperlinks above, you deserve to know my point, which is this:  there is no website devoted to parenting fails, though every good parent I know berates themselves occasionally for moments gone awry.   (Oh dear:  proof that I shouldn’t type before I google.  There IS a website devoted to atrocious parenting fails, and it will instantly make you all feel superior in your parenting abilities and choices.)  For those of us who are doing a pretty good job overall, though, plugging away at parenting every day means messing up once in a while.  I, for example, had the following conversation with our resident three-year-old yesterday.  (Note:  transcription of conversation does not reflect said three-year-old’s adorable yet severe speech impediments.)

TYO:  Can I have an apple?    

Me:  Sorry, sweetie, we don’t have any apples.

TYO:  Strawberries?

Me:  Nope.  We finished the strawberries yesterday.

TYO:  Banana?

Me:  Nope.  Out of those too.

TYO (after a pause, to evaluate the situation and choose the food most likely to be found continuously in our kitchen):  POPSICLE?

Me (head hung in shame):  I’m so sorry.  We don’t even have popsicles.  We’ll go to the store. 

That’s right, in our house it is more likely that you’ll find popsicles than produce, and even then, there’s no guarantee that I’ve been grocery shopping any time in the recent future.  Poor kid.  All he wanted was some Vitamin C. 

Here’s another recent fail of mine: 

That’s right, she’s straining against the harness of the stroller as though we’ve shackled her to a gurney in order to commit her to an institution.  (Which, now that I think of it, sounds more than a little appealing… )  What happened prior to this pictures is that I had the gall to demand that we leave a playdate at Jayla’s house ’cause, you know, it was BEDTIME.  Apologies to everyone in my neighborhood who had to decide whether the shrieking banshee cries of my toddler were actual cause for alarm or just a run-of-the-mill parenting fail.

The thing is, parenting is hard — like really, really, really hard, and there is always room to feel like a failure.  One of best things about working at the Goose is that it’s a safe space to confess those parenting fails and receive comfort from your fellow moms.  Once, I was lamenting about having sent my kids off to school with nothing but milk in their bellies, and Sandy, from across the room, yelled, “Milk is a FOOD!”  The other day, beautiful Barb was upset because she’d let her little boy play quietly in his crib while she took a shower, only to discover after she’d gotten nice and clean that he had somehow undone his diaper and covered himself in poop.  I reminder her that kids love poop, and that as long as she had remedied the poop situation with an immediate bath, which she had, she had no cause for worry. 

Possibilities for imperfect parenting are endless, and so are the attendant opportunities for self-criticism.  For me, it helps to ask the following two questions:  Is your child healthy?  Is your child happy?  Once you answer those questions in the affirmative,  share your parenting fail, have a laugh, and let go of the guilt.  Overall, you’re doing a really great job.  We know it, and so should you.

-Meryl at the Goose


2 Responses to “Parenting Fails”

  1. Gwynne Says:

    best blog post ever.

  2. Kriss Eckenrode Says:

    I agree with Gwynne! I wish I could post a picture I took of Bella screaming her head off a few days ago. In fact, I sent it to Josh via picture text with the phrase “mommy is failing miserably today”…
    Thanks for posting this, I don’t feel quite as alone!

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