A couple of weeks ago I composed this post. Then I decided that I couldn't post it. Why? It was a little too honest. Here I was admitting how I had failed as a parent. Surely, that is something I should be keeping under my hat: wrong! I have spoken about the pressure to be the perfect parent before. We have the toolbar of shame on the Daily Mail, where one minute they are criticising celebrity parents for spoiling their children, and the next minute they are criticising the same celebrity parents for not helping their children enough.
Then there is social media which again can make us feel like we live in a world of perfect parents. I am equally guilty of this. I like to take nice photos for my Instagram feed. They often feature a happy looking Youngest or Oldest. What you can't see is what happened on the morning/afternoon that the picture was taken. I have made a lovely film from our weekend. However, this is an edited version of life. I chose not to include the moment Oldest pelted out of the sea, shouting about Youngest
"She has done a poo in the sea."
This was shouted loud enough for the whole of Jersey to hear. The shame. However, I shouldn't feel the shame. This is life. This is parenting. Some days everything goes swimmingly; we even allow ourselves to feel smug. Other days, it becomes more like an endurance match, and we are counting the time down to bed. We love our children, but it can be unpredictable and sometimes is like living with two mini dictators. Therefore, I am going share my parenting failures with you all. I am confessing how I failed at parenting.
- When Youngest kept demanding a lolly at 9am in the morning. I caved in and let her have it. I consider this a win though because she stopped moaning for all of 10 minutes.
- On Tuesday, we were about to leave the house for school when I realised that Oldest was in her summer dress when she should have been in her PE kit. There was much panic, and some muttered swear words under my breath. I then located PE kit. Debated not ironing PE kit. Decided that I should iron it; spent 10 minutes wrestling with the ironing board before I gave up.
- I then sent Oldest to school in a PE kit that wasn't ironed. On the way to school I realised that the shirt had a weird stain on it. I briefly contemplated trying to hide the stain with an oversized brooch but realised that this would just draw attention to it. I then wondered if I could fashion a scarf around Oldest that would hide the stain but then remembered that it was summer time. In the end I ordered Oldest to keep her PE tracksuit top on all day, so that the creased, stained shirt was hidden from view. It was a win though because we were not late for school.
- On Thursday I forgot that Oldest had a school trip. I didn't remember until I picked up Oldest and she told me about it. I need to invest in a calendar, pronto!
- When I had to drag a grumpy Youngest to Waitrose I bribed her with the promise of a trip to the coffee shop. She wasn't good. However, we still went because I needed coffee. Don't judge!
- I didn't clean the house. The girl's bedroom looked like it had been in some sort of hurricane and there were piles of toys all over my living room floor. The kids were happy though. Mr C was not as happy and rather bemused because his seat on the sofa had been taken up by a life-sized tiger called 'Bertie'. On the other hand I found Bertie to be the perfect TV companion. He happily watched Pretty Little Liars with me without a roar of complaint.
- Last Sunday we stayed in our PJs all day and it was glorious.
- I ate the last of the Jaffa Cakes as I hid in the toilet - whoops! I then told the girls that they must have eaten them all - whoops again.
- I paid Youngest £1 to put my mountain of washing away. Oldest then tried to bribe a pay rise from me. What followed were boardroom type negotiations that would have made Alan Sugar proud. I resisted the urge to shout "you're fired".
- I let Oldest watch back to back episodes of the Famous Five. She loves it and doesn't seem to realise that it is set in the 1970s. She hasn't cottoned on to the fact that there is a distinct lack of mobile phones, iPads or iPods. However, my affection for the Famous Five was abruptly cut short by Oldest. She was fascinated by the women wearing pinnies and cleaning the house. Oldest questioned where my pinny was and why I didn't clean our house? The feminist in me was outraged. I tried to switch the programme off mid-episode; this caused Oldest to shout very loudly (as there is no other volume for Oldest)
"But I want to know where DICK is".
I should have explained why we don't really shorten the name Richard to Dick because the next day she told her friend,
"I watched a brilliant new TV programme. I can't remember what it was called but it had a DICK in it"
Cue horrified look from parent. I then hastily explained that she was talking about The Famous Five, and that she was referring to a person called Dick, not male genitalia.
Last week, might have been hard and I might have felt that I was failing on so many levels but really I wasn't. As a parent there will be times when we feel overwhelmed. There will be times when we look back at our day and realise that we could have handled things better, but that is the joy of hindsight. However, (here comes the cheese) I didn't really fail because despite all of these little failures my children are happy. Therefore, I had a successful week 🙂
Let's embrace our parenting failures, how did you fail at parenting last week?
This article first appeared on Island Living 365