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6 Ways I’ve Messed up at Parenting This Week

image source: heather neal
image source: heather neal

For whatever reason, it often feels like there’s overwhelming pressure to be the perfect parent. While I put my best efforts forward, I’m not scared of messing up or straying from 100% success. If I did, I’d drive myself absolutely crazy, and that’s saying a lot given I’m a perfectionist in almost every other aspect. It’s a good thing I decided to let it slide when it comes to the myth of perfect parenting, otherwise I’d be in some serious trouble. Let’s take last week, for example. (If I go back any further the list would inevitably be too long.)

Here are six ways I’ve messed up at parenting this week alone. (For the record, my use of the word “let” is debatable.)

1. Let my kid drink a bottle of Benadryl while three responsible adults were in the house.

So much for childproof lids on high shelves. Where there’s a will, there’s a way — and with a 3-year-old, there’s always a will. A will for trouble in all shapes and forms. At least he demonstrated creativity and perseverance in his quest, and I learned that poison control automatically routes your calls based on your area code. Perhaps it’s time to get a phone number that matches the state I live in. Also? Benadryl does not make him sleep.

2. Let my kid color on the walls, carpet, chair, and books with purple magic marker.

My threenager recently dropped the ever-elusive nap time — cold turkey. Being the smart parent that I am, I instituted “quiet time” instead. I should’ve known better when it actually worked. I went upstairs a few moments later to find a quiet, happy kid looking up at me from the floor with wide innocent eyes — so captivating that it took me more than a minute to see the deep purple scribbles all over the wall. And the glider. And the carpet, his books, and a box. Pretty much the only thing he didn’t tag was the one thing that’s easy to dunk in the tub: himself. I should also add his timing was impeccable: it’s the first time in three years that he’s colored on something besides paper and it happened to be the walls and carpet of the house we’d just sold and were in the middle of packing up.

3. Yelled “no, you’re being the meanie” at my 3-year-old.

True story. Not proud. But it did kind of make me feel better, before it made me feel really juvenile and guilty. Brightside: my son thought it was hysterical. Full disclosure: I can’t promise this is the first time I’ve stooped to toddler-like responses.

4. Stabbed my son in the eye with my finger.

While wrestling — not on purpose. As if the silent, tough-boy sniffs after the incident weren’t guilt-inducing enough, seeing the tiny red dot on the white of his eye for the rest of the day was. In all fairness, he gets me pretty good a fair amount of the time.

5. Forgot to pack a snack for a class birthday party.

Preschool, man. I can’t keep up. I’m screwed when it gets more complicated than remembering Play-Doh and snack days. Normally birthday treats are provided by the kid celebrating, but with my son’s food allergies, it’s up to me to remember to bring him something of his own. Class birthdays are in my planner, my calendar, and my phone. Even sticky notes on the front door and my steering wheel have failed on occasion. Yes, I think that means I just admitted this wasn’t the first time I forgot a birthday snack. Whoops.

6. Let him fill the toaster oven with neon blue crazy sand.

It looks like such a good idea in the store: sand that sticks together and doesn’t make a mess. I should have known it was too good to be true when it created a glorious five-minute silence. As I was scrambling to take advantage of the rare toddler-preoccupation and make dinner, my creative toddler was making his own version of dinner. Thank goodness I caught it before he cooked it. (OK, full disclosure: I knew he was doing it and let him continue anyways.) He had fun; I made dinner. No harm, no foul. Although we don’t own crazy sand anymore.

See? Not perfect. Luckily, despite my occasional ineptitude, my kid seems to be doing just fine. A good thing to remember when my lack of perfection comes to more important things like a clean house or picture-perfect family dinners.

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