My 5-year-old thinks I’m a bad parent because I won’t buy him a $90 dinosaur robot. My childless neighbors think I’m a bad parent because I lost my cool once and yelled at my children who were fighting like wild beasts on the front lawn. Lots of folks have strong opinions on what makes a good or bad parent. But what do they know?
Parent to parent, I’m here to cut you a little slack. If you are doing one of any of these ten things you are definitely not a bad parent, you are a normal one, and I say welcome to the club!
1. Eating Cold Cereal for Dinner
Despite the best of intentions, and a strong Wi-Fi signal to capture the genius of that recipe you saw on Pinterest, sometimes dinner is just a horror show. The answer to your culinary nightmare is cold cereal.
2. Coloring on the Wall
Kids trash everything if given half a chance, so instead of trying to fight it, give a little leeway and toss a pack of washable crayons in the mix. My kids get free rein over the refrigerator, raised eyebrows from the Mother-in-law notwithstanding.
3. Dropping Unsavory 4-Letter Words
If you really want to tell me that you’ve never dropped the taboo F-Bomb or uttered a misplaced curse here or there as a parent … then you’re a lying liar. Cursing like a salty sailor is probably not a great idea, but no one’s going to die if you lose your verbal cool once in a while. Parents are human, after all.
4. Using TV as the Default Babysitter
Hello, PBS! Let me point you at my children while I shuffle around my house in my worn out slippers, sucking down my cold coffee, and trying to get everyone else organized and out of my house! Admit it, TV makes a perfect babysitter.
5. Skipping Baths
My children once went nearly a week without a bath. Now, before you get all judgy about that admission, let me point out that it was summertime and they had spent God knows how many hours swimming in a lake like small fish. They were fine.
6. Calling Your Child by the Wrong Name
You know you’ve been there: yelling everyone else’s name before you yell the right one because you’re angry in that way that only moms seem to get. The other day I yelled all my kids’ names, my husband’s name, and even the dog’s name before I could figure out whom I was directing my mom wrath at.
7. Drinking Before 5PM
Unless you have a legit drinking problem, no one is going to care if you pour a glass of wine at 2 PM on a particularly rotten day of enduring the trenches of parenthood.
8. Staring at Facebook
The Internet is a both a curse and Godsend of entertainment, shopping, looking up weirdo WebMD symptoms, and of course Facebook. You are not a bad parent for hiding out in cyberspace for a beat.
9. Not Feeling “So Blessed”
I do not feel so #blessed when my kid throws a temper tantrum in the middle of grocery store and then again when I struggle to get him buckled into his car seat. I do not feel so #blessed a lot of the time, and it irks me to no end when holier than thou jerks tell me how I should feel about being a mother.
10. Complaining About Your Kids
Part of the beauty of parenthood is that we are allowed to laugh at it. We can make fun of it, we can point at ourselves and snicker at the ridiculous shit we put up with, and we can vent to each other about how hard it really and truly is. That is healthy. That is normal.
There are a lot of things you can do to earn the awful title of Bad Parent, but none of these 10 things will get you there. If you love your kids and you keep them safe and healthy, then at the end of the day, you’re doing just fine.More On