I am not a bad mom. I’m just a good mom who occasionally does “bad” things. I am, however, confident the good does outweigh the bad.
My daughter is spoiled. Rotten. On the other hand I take every opportunity that arises to try and help her understand that she is spoiled and there are many, many people in the world less fortunate than she is. We look at the picture of the little girl in India, almost exactly the same age as my daughter, that we sponsor and talk about her life and how different it is than ours. We go to the pantry and fill up the Foodbank donation bag with food. And not the food we don’t want but favorites like her precious Kraft Dinner. Does she get it? Well she’s not quite three yet so not completely but she thinks about it and I am absolutely certain that we are raising a child with compassion and empathy.
She loves chocolate and Oreo cookies, and I let her have them. And I don’t feel the least bit bad about that. This is a kid who requests broccoli for dinner, loves smoked salmon and believes every meal needs to come with a side of sliced pears.
We still haven’t quite got her sleeping on her own. Yes I admit this is frustrating at times but there is also something quite special about snuggling in bed with her and waking up with her beautiful sleeping face beside me. Some day she will want no part of that.
I try, I really do, but sometimes a “bad” word slips out and even if I don’t think she is paying attention she is. Sometimes she will stop everything and scold me for uttering a not so nice word and sometimes she doesn’t bat an eye but a couple days later the same word falls from her pretty little lips.
I have yelled at her on occasion. This isn’t something I’m proud of but it has happened and I’m pretty sure it will happen again. I inevitably feel awful when I do and make a conscience effort not to do it again. But as bad as I feel when this happens I know that 99% of the time I am a gentle mother and my daughter trusts that I will be there to support, comfort and love her.
Sometimes I give in to her to avoid a tantrum. You know those days when you are tired, cranky and just want some peace? And you have a 2-3 year old who is in the throws of pushing boundaries and asserting small measures of independence? Yeah, those are the days that she gets a second cookie when I should probably say no or I let her wear her sneakers instead of boots even though there is 5 feet of snow on the ground. I pick my battles.
She has tasted coffee, tea, pop and even beer. Yep, that’s right. Lock me up and throw away the key. My preschooler has tasted beer, twice. And you know what? She hated it, both times. Which was exactly the point of letting her taste it. She also doesn’t like the taste of coffee although she politely pretends she does and quickly reaches for her water to get the taste out of her mouth. I don’t blame her. I think coffee is vile. I’m not sure why she pretends to like that one. To act grown up? To not offend her daddy by telling him his drink is gross? She does like tea, but only Earl Grey, which makes me a little bit happy for some reason. On weekends (the only time I drink tea at home) I will sometimes leave her a small sip in the bottom of my cup or occasionally fill her special little tea cup with milk and add a few drops of my tea to it.
I could probably write pages and pages of all the little “fails” (buzz word) I have made and will continue to make as a parent but the thing is you really have to screw up on a massive scale to be a failure as a parent. Children are forgiving and resilient and are capable of surviving and even thriving in a home where good parents sometimes do “bad” things (and yes I am using the term bad loosely here). Mistakes are what make life interesting and how we learn. If we were all perfect parents our world would be populated with really boring people and therapists would be out of business.
Confession time. What “bad” parenting techniques or mistakes are you guilty of?