Just when I think I’ve maxed out on embarrassing moments another child-related incident smacks me in the face – which promptly turns bright red.
Those embarrassing and cringe-worthy moments are part and parcel of being a parent.
I feel that my kids are a personal reflection of me and that their behaviour is a reflection of how good I am at parenting. They’re not crying because they’re just kids, they’re crying because I have failed to meet some kind of need. At least that’s what I worry people are thinking.
It’s very easy to say crying, tantrums and boisterous behaviour are normal in kids, so why worry about it? But there are still many times when I’ve wanted the ground to swallow me up. When my kids are drawing attention to us in public in this way, it makes me cringe.
Here’s a rundown of my top embarrassing moments since becoming a parent:
The first swimming lesson
It’s supposed to be a magical memory filled with wide-eyed glee and little splashes as your baby discovers swimming. My experience at a large, national swim school was not this picture perfect moment. Far from it.
I arrived full of excitement and with every possible item we could need crammed into the changing bag, multiplied by two. This was my first child after all. Then we had to put on the so-called Happy Nappy, or Unhappy Nappy as I like to call it.
All was fine at first and then the screaming began shortly after we entered the pool area. My baby was eight weeks old at this stage and when I say she had a pair of lungs on her, I mean it’s like she had 10 pairs of lungs on her. The hysterical crying echoed around the pool, which was at a local gym and pretty small. We got her in the water. It didn’t make things better. Other mums swam with their gurgling little ones, who gave the odd weak cry before going back to happily splashing about.
The instructor advised to take her to one side to calm her down. She wouldn’t. I tried to take part in the class anyway, but I was told she couldn’t take part if she was in such a state.
I fled with my tail between my legs. The next week I tried again, making sure she had an extra feed, was burped to the max and had napped beforehand. We didn’t even get in the pool this time. I fled the poolside area red-faced leaving her screams bouncing around the echoey room. It sounds minor looking back on it now, but it was pretty traumatic for a new mum. I never returned so I was about £100 down too.
We went on to swim alone at a local pool, without the Happy Nappy which I blame for the swim class meltdown. All was fine without the torture device on. I’m still too scared to go back to a swim class!
When I cried about breastfeeding to everyone I know
My breastfeeding journey with my first was not easy. I couldn’t just accept it wasn’t working out so I pumped out of guilt for 20 weeks.
The first eight weeks were the hardest as my supply built up and I struggled to find the hours in the day needed to be hooked up to the pump.
When friends asked me how it was going I would explain through floods of tears how hard it was. My other half advised me to just supplement with formula. Looking back I don’t know why I didn’t give more formula and feel pretty silly for making such a big deal out of it.
There are a lot more important things to being a parent than whether you breastfeed.
When I visited the doctor over a teeny tiny rash
I blame this one on an overly-cautious health visitor who advised I see a GP over what I thought was just a patch of stubborn nappy rash.
The GP raised an eyebrow at me after inspecting the tiny reddy-orange patch then turned to his computer. Bringing up Google, he then showed me photos of proper nappy rash. The kind where it looks like a cheese grater has been applied where it shouldn’t be.
I was ushered out post-haste with a red glow on my cheeks for wasting NHS time.
When we tried to have lunch with friends
We were about 10 weeks in with our first child when a couple asked if we wanted to meet for lunch so they could meet the baby. How lovely, we thought. Her napping was going pretty well at this stage and I felt confident I could get her to snooze in the buggy.
But on this day she decided she did not want to snooze in the buggy. Or on Mummy. Or on daddy. She didn’t want to feed either. She just wanted to yell.
We attempted to switch her between the two of us as we ate one-handed but she went into a full-blown wailing-fest prompting stares from every corner of the restaurant. In the end my husband had to take her to a quieter part of the restaurant where he could rock her while walking up and down. I could still hear her occasional screams of discontent as I crammed food in my mouth, desperate for the ordeal to be over.
When we tried to brave a wedding abroad
A good friend was getting married in rural France so we decided to brave the long trip by car and overnight somewhere on the way. Our eldest was about 19 months old and I was very pregnant with our second baby.
The journey was long and uncomfortable for pregnant me and the hotel we stayed in was so bad even the bed bugs had checked out. The lack of sleep in the awful hotel’s bed was made worse when we got a flat tyre with just two hours until the wedding! The baby decided to get involved then and boot me in the bladder, forcing me to squat behind the car and wee by the side of the road. Ah the glamour of a wedding abroad!
Luckily, with a little help from the AA, we made it on time.
But after a long spell in the car that day and the day before, our toddler decided she was not happy. She made it through the wedding ceremony then decided that it was all too much. She threw a wobbler that progressed to a 10 on the Richter scale meltdown as the photographer tried to assemble people for photographs.
It was a full-on throw yourself to the ground, kick your legs and shriek kind of tantrum. There was no way back. My husband dutifully took her to the hotel room to see if she would nap. He never made it back to the wedding.
I was left red-faced as I tried to explain where the rest of my family had vanished to just one hour into the day’s celebrations.
Luckily these embarrassing moments are getting easier to handle as time goes on. I think I still have a few red-faced incidents to look forward to. But one day soon the situation will be reversed and I will be humiliating two eye-rolling teenagers.
What’s been your most cringe-worthy or embarrassing moment since becoming a parent? Have you found public meltdowns tough to deal with? I would love to hear from you.