10 Ways I Failed at Parenting Last Year

10 Ways I Failed at Parenting Last Year
Image source: Selena Mills

In reflecting on twenty-fourteen as a parent, I can fully admit that it was a year of much crow eating and changing of parenting ideals and theories in our house-hold. Everyday I blow through my entire reserve — and it’s worth it. That’s something I wouldn’t have admitted before. Moms, I thought, were supposed to be this shining beacon of everlasting grace, energy, and abundance in all the things.

While my love for my children is profound, it also staggers me at almost every move. Sparkling, yet unadorned in its raw, everyday existence. I’m not out to win any contests, I’m just looking to make it to the end of my day; in putting pot-bellied, happy little kiddos to bed without blowing my gasket at one point or another. My goals as a parent have gotten more simple as the years pass and my groove might appear to others as a series of “fails.” Which is fine by me. When I stopped caring about what other parents thought and tuned in to more of what my kids think about me … the better I became. The better I do.

I didn’t have to think too hard about some of the ways in which I resemble a mom of the ’70s. And proud of it!

1. I let my kids fight.

All the time. They are going to be brother and sister for a long time so they might as well figure out how to work together starting … NOW! I am so done with constantly intervening. Unless there’s blood or something, of course. I’m not that horrible of a mother!

2. I got rid of a lot of their stuff.

At the end of 2014, I did a big purge of books and toys and didn’t consult them about any of it. Not one little thing. Did they miss anything? Out of all of it, a lone penguin seems to be asked after and looked for to this day. I’ve not seen it, have you? We must have left that at Grandma’s, right?

3. I didn’t keep a spotless home.

My dining-room table is often sticky, my sink is filled with dirty dishes, and laundry is always in baskets waiting to be put away … but my kids, for the most part are happy. I think.

4. I don’t always play with my kids.

I was a Pinterest demon when they were younger and really into sensory bins and arts and crafts for after-school activities. But work got really busy and since I work from home, my eldest, 5, had to fend for himself more after I picked him up from school. This included reading, old-school coloring with crayons and markers (imagine that!) playing with his toys, building with Legos and blocks, and yes, TV. Instead of feeling guilty for this, I watched my son’s imagination blossom to that of a self-made creator! He came up with some of the coolest ideas and I got my work done. Helping to pay the bills is always a good thing in my book.

5. I didn’t give gifts to classmates and teachers over the holidays.

I didn’t make or give either of my kids’ classmates pre-holiday gifts to hand out before break. The truth? I was so slammed that I completely forgot about teacher’s presents too. Okay, that part I feel bad about. I’ll make up for it come Valentine’s Day. Pinky swears. That’s more my jam, anyway. Anything for love! Will each child in both of my kids’ classrooms get a goodie bag (peanut-free of course), a Valentine’s Day-themed book and card? Heck no. But I’ll definitely get my glitter on.

6. I didn’t take my kids to a preliminary dentist check-up.

As in the check-up before the check-up for their first time in the big chair. Apparently this is a thing and I totally missed the boat on this one. However, my kids aren’t wimps so they did just fine. Although one of them refused the X-rays. As they should have. Having those things shoved in your mouth and biting down on them sucks! No teeth are rotting and falling out yet, so we’re good.

7. I yell at my kids.

Try as I might, I still yell. There’s always something to yell about, I just try to adjust my tone. No foaming at the mouth and no demon eyes allowed. When I find myself yelling, “Don’t forget to wipe your bum!” I know I’m doing something right.

8. We don’t always get dressed.

There is at least one day a week that not a single one of us gets out of our pyjamas. All day. The best part? Out bedtime routine is just that much easier!

9. I make separate meals for my kids.

My kids don’t eat the same as I do. My husband and I have pretty insane food restrictions and while I’m not a zealot about it, there is at least two nights a week where the kids get fed scrambled eggs or grilled cheese instead of the meal I’m making that I know they just won’t eat. Pickin’ and choosin’ my battles, friends. That’s what that is.

10. I gave up on night potty-training my daughter.

Some might say we regressed. For a while there she was doing pretty good with only an accident a week or so. Then all of a sudden (because toddlers), it started happening all the time. It was way too much work, I’ll admit it. Also? I don’t think she’s ready and I don’t think it’s a good idea to put that kind of pressure on her. She started waking up multiple times a night all stressed out and although she can’t articulate that it had to do with potty training, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a coincidence. Now that she’s back in Pull-ups, she’s back to sleeping through the night.

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