If there’s a mama out there who thinks she’s winning at parenting every single day, then I would love to meet her and ask her how on earth she’s managing it.
The truth is we all suffer from parental “fails” every single day. They’re the times when we fall short of our impossibly high standards, lose our patience or are unable to control the little darlings.
In the early years of being a mum I used to actually care when I suffered these parenting fails, but these days I’ve lowered my standards. Way, way lowered my standards.
So these are my epic parenting fails, which I’m more than happy to confess to.
1. Resorting to bribery
I’m lucky that my kids have not yet cottoned on to the fact that they can get a lot of chocolate and crisps from me if they behave really badly. I realise my luck will one day run out, then I have zero chances of controlling my children. Until that day, I’ll use this method with zero fucks given.
Bribery works in all manner of situations, including when you want to carry on a conversation with another adult for more than one minute and when you need the kids to stop screaming in public places.
What’s great about toddlers is that the bribe doesn’t need to cost a lot money. Just a simple rocket lolly is considered a win by a two-year-old.
2. Shouting at the kids
I always know a day is going to be a strain when I’ve shouted before 8am.
Generally I make it to around mid morning before I lose it, and it’s usually because I’m trying to get the kids out of the house and they are not co-operating.
Whereas I used to be feel rubbish about this, I now realise that we all resort to shouting at some point. In addition, the kids tend to find it quite funny when I get cross, so permanent damage is definitely not being done.
3. Resorting to an “easy” solution
Rocking the baby to sleep? She’ll never sleep in her own bed if you do that.
Saying “no” and then giving in a minute later? Your child will never respect you.
I used to take heed of the silly warnings about the “correct” way to go about being a parent. I worried taking shortcuts would have terrifying impacts. Now I am all about the short cuts. Short cuts save your sanity.
4. Feeding the kids processed junk for lunch and dinner
Pizza for lunch and chicken nuggets for tea? I’m sure this is a cardinal sin that would have Annabel Karmel spitting out her organic broccoli bites in utter horror.
However some days there’s just no other way to get the kids fed. And I always throw the odd token carrot stick on the plate anyway.
5. Keeping the TV on virtually all day
Some days I need to get some work done. Some days the house needs to be decontaminated and tidied so that I can see the floor again. Sometimes I just need a break.
I was so smug about not using telly as a babysitter during my first year as a parent. I still bought into the old warnings about TV rotting the brain. Then the second one came along and I realised that CBeebies actually has the ability to educate my kids.
We’ve come a long way since TV was just a sock puppet beating a grown man with a stick.
6. Telling the kids a lie
They’re white lies, of course. However I do tell the odd fib to the kids in order to maintain control, or get out of doing stuff I don’t want to do.
These lies might include certain foods and drinks containing alcohol, or having a lot of chilli in them. I’m saving them from a diet that’s high in salt and fat. I’m also trying to eat my bar of chocolate in peace.
7. Being completely inconsistent
Most evenings I am rigid on bedtime. The kids go in to their bedrooms, and I will drag them back there as many times as it takes to convince them they need to go to sleep.
But sometimes I just can’t resist their pleas for a cuddle, so we get into my bed and snuggle up, play hide and seek under the duvet.
Some may say it’s confusing them. I say I’ll take those cuddles for as long as the kids are happy to give them to me.