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We’re Only Human: On the Silly, Stupid Parenting Mistakes We All Make

wasabi-photoOnce upon a time, there was a boy who liked sushi. Avocado rolls only. So his parents got him some for dinner. Then the boy wanted more avocado, so his mom cut up slices and put it in the takeout container. Suddenly the boy looked startled and tears filled his eyes. And his clueless mom realized that both avocado and wasabi are the same color! And the boy had eaten a chunk of wasabi! She did not know what to do, so she fed him chocolate pudding. And that worked. Then the boy realized that Mater eats wasabi in Cars 2, his favorite movie of all time, so everything was cool. The end.

That’s no modern-day fairytale — it was dinner at our house last night. Eleven years into this parenting gig, I still make stupid parenting mistakes.

Back when I had babies, I could blame sleep deprivation for things like driving off with a bottle of milk sitting on the car hood or falling asleep on the bed with my daughter lying precariously close to the edge (I caught her as she was about to go over). But now that my kids are older, there’s no real excuse for the times when I do bubble-headed parenting stuff. Although it’s not usual for me to try to smite my children with spicy substances, in recent months I have:

• Completely forgotten to take my 9-year-old to her annual physical at the pediatrician’s, and only remembered upon receiving a “You missed your appointment” letter.

• Accidentally used my color-enhancing shampoo on my son (it didn’t enhance his hair).

• Said “Sure!” when my daughter and her friend asked to do spin art in our newly painted basement then wigged out when it got all over the wall because SPIN art.

• Let my son obsessively replay the Taco-dile scene in Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs 2 because: 1) he thinks it’s a laugh riot and 2) it gives me a chance to get stuff done.

• Neglected to notice that my son left the house in 15-degree weather without socks.

• Told my kids it’s not a good idea to eat raw cake batter (there’s a salmonella risk) … then let them eat raw cake batter. 

Sometimes, I guilt myself over these seeming mom misdemeanors. Shouldn’t I know better by now? What is wrong with me? But then, I remind myself: My kids are basically happy and healthy. I am a mother of the human variety who does her best to be wise and responsible. I shouldn’t consider my dubious decisions and absentmindedness a fail; they are a normal part of parenthood. Also: I am not a Dance Mom. Comparing yourself to those ladies is an excellent way to instantly feel like Mother Teresa.

I did feel badly about the wasabi incident, although we’ve moved past it. “Max, want some wasabi?” has become our new family joke.

“No,” he tells me. “You have it.”

Image source: Flickr/Carlos Gracia

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