Why I'm OK With My Parenting Fails
As a type A perfectionist, I can be exacting about some (ok, a lot of) things. Like spelling, RSVP-ing (oh, thou ancient art!) and the proper way to load a dishwasher. Some might call these tendencies “freakish.” I prefer to think of myself as a “Control Maintenance Expert.”
You can imagine my dismay when my baby did not do one single thing I wanted her to.
Sleep? Only after three hours of wailing. Get in the car seat? Only after making her body a rigid plank. Stop crying for no discernable reason? Pfft. That could go on for hours.
One of the hard lessons you learn as a first-time parent is that things are not going to go your way – often. You may want to leave the library in a quiet, expedient fashion and your toddler may want to shriek like a chimpanzee at the injustice of being asked to go home and eat grilled cheese then relax in bed for two hours surrounded by his favorite soft animals.
I learned to laugh at some of the hardest moments, and at my “mistakes” to get a break from the stress and overwhelm of catering 24/7 to a tiny person with zero neck strength or bowel control.
If I didn’t find humor in my mom fails (and some of my less rosy thoughts about parenthood) I probably would have felt guilty about them and who wants to feel worse about a job they already feel like they suck at sometimes?
So I compiled my best/worst comic parenting blunders in my new book Dear Baby: I’m Sorry…Apologies for Life’s Little Parenting Fails. I like to think of the book, and my blog Dear Baby XO as a shame-free zone where I narrate the everyday indignities of parenting to make moms laugh. Because we do a super hard job, often in isolation and we deserve it.
Here are 20 (of the hundreds of) parenting fails I learned to laugh at:
1. Binge-watching Game of Thrones instead of reading that Baby Whisperer book.
2. Bringing the diaper bag…but forgetting the diapers. (And sippy cup. And teething biscuits. Good thing there was a public wooden table nearby to soothe her gums instead).
3. Taking my toddler to the playground so early it was closed (because I couldn’t spend one more minute inside reading “Jungly Tails”).
4. Referring to baby’s nap as “my first victory of the day.”
5. Using my last two dollars at a garage sale to buy the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy instead of the teddy bear my toddler was eyeing.
6. Hiding in the bathroom to polish off my baby’s cheddar bunnies while taking the “Which Pop Diva Are You?” personality quiz.
7. Leaving an overflowing basket of unfolded laundry out so long she thought it was her closet.
8. Saying there were Cheerios in the hamper so baby would climb in and leave me alone for two seconds.
9. Running over Talking Elmo with the car (“accident” under investigation).
10. Wheeling her stroller into the wine store before 10 am.
11. Spending four hours jiggling, swaying, swaddling, nursing, Bjorning and bouncing baby to FINALLY fall asleep...only to wake her up by sniffing.
12. Pulling last night’s broccoli out of baby’s neck folds the next morning.
13. Not being able to play with baby at 4 o’clock because I was trying to finish 3-line email I started at 8 am.
14. Foisting baby onto lap of strange old man in rented, smelly costume with massive itchy fake beard so I can take amusing holiday pix of my terrified offspring to put on Facebook.
15. Leaving baby at home with stranger so I could go eat an amazing concoction called “grilled pound cake ice cream sandwich.”
16. Tossing Halloween cauldron of cavities toddler worked two hours to build in bottom of coat closet never to be seen again (by her, at least).
17. Genetically pre-destining baby for chin hairs.
18. Leaving holiday décor out so long the kid was still singing Jingle Bells well into March.
19. Putting baby in the jolly jumper then hotfooting it to the kitchen floor to hide behind a bunch of cabinets.
20. Only having a pair of crazy neon orange Tigger PJs on hand to change baby into after she sharted herself at Target.
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