Today, we’re going to talk perfect parents. You know, the parents we all want to be. The ones with perfect hair, skin and nails, immaculate make up, spotless house, and angelic baby that sleeps through the night and never throws up.
Oh wait, they don’t exist. Well, maybe in Johnson’s adverts. But not in the real world.
I promise you, every parent makes mistakes, or does the occasional thing that perhaps they shouldn’t. Just this morning, when she was sick there were no wipes to hand so I cleaned up the sick with some bubblewrap. No, it’s not perfect but it worked in a pinch. And she’s still alive and well, so I clearly didn’t hurt her.
As parents, we often are faced with a lot of pressure to be ‘perfect,’ or at least to appear so. But honestly, it’s ridiculous. Caring for a child is difficult enough without added stresses like that. It’s so entrenched that many of us feel guilt for not doing things the ‘right’ way, for making mistakes or taking our eyes off our precious bundles for a second. Because, you know, God forbid we may need the toilet.
The worst thing is, nobody talks about their mistakes for fear of looking like a bad parent. Which is unhealthy to say the least, as all that does is perpetuate the myth of perfection.
I spoke to my most wonderful Internet mum friends, and asked them about their parenting fails. Here are some of the responses I got:
‘iPad dropped on her poor legs while nursing.’
‘ I forgot to pack nipples when I sent her to my mom’s house when I went to work. I had to go home and get them. When she was like a week old I accidentally bonked her head on her pack and play. I also lifted her up to adjust her in order to nurse in bed and hit her little head on the headboard. I’ve dropped my phone on her head several times. I didn’t cut her nails at all this weekend and her baby talons scratched the crap out of her face.’
‘I often attempt to put the diaper on backwards several times before I realize it is the wrong way.’
‘With my first I was obsessed with ‘safety’. One weekend I was putting together a foam mat for the bottom of our basement stairs since the floor is cement. I didn’t want to risk him falling and cracking his head in the floor. While i was putting the foam pieces together he toddler over to me saying ewww and yucky and started crying. He had an open container of goof-off in his hands. I picked him up and smelled his breath and sure enough, he drank it! That was his first over night hospital stay. He was fine, no damage, but wouldn’t it figure while I’m installing safety crap this would happen?’
‘I’ve taken the corners too hard and she leans back and smacks her head on the door trim. Oops. and last night I forgot to turn on the monitor. I woke up to her screaming in her crib with the door closed.’
‘JoJo pooped while we were out and because genius mommy forgot to pack diapers in the diaper bag, someone had to sit in his own poop until we got home. This has happened more than once.’
‘I also whacked her head on the end of the rocking chair the other night. It was like a 2am feed. She didn’t cry. Which made me think I gave her a concussion.’
‘When he was a day old I knocked his little head on the door frame. He just recent fell off of the rocking chair head first. And yesterday he rolled off of the blanket onto the floor. And when I picked him up he had a spit up and dog hair goatee…’
‘Oh and I went to give her a bottle one time at like 3 am and I was so sleep deprived I hadn’t screwed the lid on and dumped it all over her.’
And my absolute favourite:
‘Hailey tried to eat a bowl of cat food while I was peeing for a minute.’
There were lots more. I love these because they excellent reminders that we’re all only human. Mistakes get made, things that we don’t want to happen happen anyway, and we forget things.
Also, I know these mummies, and I can attest that they are all excellent parents. But excellent doesn’t mean perfect. And when we do make mistakes, we need to learn to let go of the guilt and embrace our human nature. Furthermore, share it with other new mums! They might not know that it’s perfectly okay to screw up every now and then.
Stop feeling guilty; you’re not perfect and you’re doing fine.
As an aside, I’d love to hear your less-than-perfect moments!