June 25, 2015

The Five Most Common Parenting Fails

Viv is making an escape. Jules thinks she's a cat. I'm a good mom.

I had a moment today where I was sure I was the worst mother in the world. I looked up from switching laundry to see Viv had knocked over the gate, was climbing over it and halfway to the cat food bowl. Jules was a few feet behind her just munching away on a cat toy. It was such a great mom fail moment that I just had to take a picture. Everyone was fine of course but that didn't stop me from feeling like crap for not paying closer attention. Until I remembered: these fails happen - to everyone! And our kids are (almost) always fine!

Maybe it just means that Viv has a future in hurdles? As for Jules, she is clearly mimicking someone, so good for her!

Here are some of the most common parenting fails I've seen (and possibly done) plus how they make us feel vs. what really happens:

You chopped off the top of baby's finger while cutting her nails

What it feels like: 

You have mortally injured your child and she will never trust you again. Her first memory will be of you as the first person to ever intentionally inflict pain on her. You will never again cut her nails, vowing to endure every searing scratch and pinch as an act of contrition for scarring her. She'll probably even have a lifelong fear of having her hand held. Bonus points if it just won't stop bleeding.

What actually happens: 

Baby felt a slight pinch, cried for a bit and moved on almost immediately. You really are too terrified to cut her nails so you don't until the scratching hurts too much and then you will spend three hours trying to cut just one nail because you keep chickening out at the last second. You finally resort to biting them when she gives you one particularly deep scratch a centimeter from your (or her) eyeball.

You dropped your phone on baby's head

What it feels like: 

You die inside as baby cries like she got hit with a brick and stares at you with a look that just screams "Why have you forsaken me for this piece of plastic!?" You try to calm her and all of a sudden realize that you spend way too much time on your phone while feeding/playing with her so you immediately throw it down and promise to be more present while silently hating yourself for destroying the bond you had with her.

What actually happens: 

Baby has no idea what hit her and was probably just startled. She forgets as soon as you put a nipple in her mouth or she gets distracted. Which is about the moment you forget your vow and pick your phone back up to check Facebook or go back to your game.

Baby rolled off the couch/changing table/bed/your lap/whatever.

What it feels like: 

You are clearly unequipped for this job as you don't possess the ability to foresee when your child will decide to start rolling (like a ninja). You foolishly trusted that she would stay where you put her so you are clearly not meant to be a parent.. Baby will no longer be allowed on surfaces higher than 1 inch off the ground unless you are wearing or otherwise attached to her to break her fall.

What actually happens:  

After you're sure she doesn't have a serious brain injury you scold yourself for making such a rookie mistake and vow to never leave her alone in a high place again. You have a hand on her at all times for about a day. The next morning you lay her in the exact same spot and go about the exact same thing just like every other day only this time you make sure to stay close enough so you can catch her before she hits the floor.

The monitor died in the middle of the night or you forgot to turn it on before bed:

What it feels like: 

On the edges of sleep you think you hear a baby crying and reach for the monitor but hear silence. No crying but no whooshing or lullabies either. You shoot out of bed and race to her room to find her either passed out or, if you're super lucky like me, screaming bloody murder. You cry. You know you have broken her. Even if she's sleeping you know that she knew you were completely ignoring her and she now hates you. You vow to co-sleep for the next 12 years.

What actually happens: 

You feel like crap for a few minutes until baby falls back asleep, then you turn the monitor on and go back to sleep yourself. You make sure to double check the monitor every night from now on, or for at least a week. As far as baby is concerned you were in the bathroom or just took the long way to her room or she has no idea anything ever happened because babies don't get the concept of time. You repeat this when it happens again a few months later.

Baby swallowed soap/a rock/orajel/vinegar/paper/a bead/poop/a pill/detergent/eye drops/and the list goes on and on.

What it feels like: 

That's it. You've killed her. All because you had to switch the laundry or get some coffee and you forgot that a baby is like a human bloodhound, able to sniff out the tastiest treats and choking hazards that you carelessly left out or swear you put away (they're ninjas I tell you). You will never take your eyes off her again and from now on you will scrutinize every square inch of your everywhere for such hazards before you even think about putting her down to play.

What actually happens:

Assuming it's not true poison or a pair of scissors baby swallowed you call poison control or the Doctor and give them their laugh for the day. They assure you that all is well and before you've even hung up the phone baby is shoving a leaf down her throat.  You shake your head and swat it down and wonder how the hell she found the one leaf that got into your house. Then you just give up and tell yourself that it's good for her immune system.

There are so many more - ever given baby a bottle of what might be spoiled milk or formula? How about over or under dosed medicine? Knocked her head into a wall in the dark? Ran bath water too hot or too cold? Gotten sunscreen or lotion in her eyes? Closed her fingers in a door? What's yours?

I don't care if you're the most perfect, smartest, most patient parent in the world - stuff happens. Not only that but you're sure you're the only parent who has ever been this stupid. You're definitely not. Parenting is a dangerous game and it seems like life threatening hazards are waiting around every corner. But we all make the same mistakes and most of the time they'll be just fine. There's a reason why people say "Babies bounce!"

Because if they didn't we all would have died out a hell of a long time ago!

What was your biggest parenting fail?



lesli said...

Thanks for the funny read! I could not imagine being afirt time mom to TWINS. Keep up the food work.


Maigen said...

Thank you Lesli! It's hard work but so worth it (most days)!

Eve said...

This is hilarious, but very true! I used to freak out so much when my daughter put sand into her mouth...

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