Being a parent’s all about the failure right? Unless you’re actually doing it WELL? (In which case, I think you may be reading the wrong blog.) Anyway, the other day I was asked, in an interview for The New Mum’s Notebook, what my top #parentingfail has been. ‘Do you just want the one?’ I asked. ‘Because I have plenty…‘ Here’s my top 10, in no particular order. I’d love to hear yours (misery loves company ‘n’ all that).
1. Missing the Father’s Day BBQ. Now you’d be right in thinking, ‘Well that’s no biggie. You’re a mum, not a dad,‘ and I’d probably agree with you there. But when the daddy is at work, it’s of huge importance that someone (anyone) attends the Father’s Day BBQ at nursery. And this is probably what I should have done. Found ‘anyone’. More reliable than me. Maybe the postman could have popped in. Or that nice lady who works in our newsagents. Because I totally forgot. Actually, I didn’t totally forget, I just turned up a day late. Which, in the eyes of your child, is apparently as bad as not turning up at all.
2. Missing parent’s evening. Are you sensing a theme here? Now this, I completely forgot. I can’t even make some lame excuse about turning up on the wrong day. I did, however, remember about a week later. In that random and rather useless way that thoughts come to you when you can do sod all about them, except enjoy that glorious feeling of being wracked with guilt.
3. Missing a birthday party. If you’re going to miss a birthday party, make sure you do this before your child can converse with other children. This is your only hope in hell in getting away with it. Your child won’t realise they’ve missed the party at the time. Until they go back to school, that is, and EVERYONE’s talking about it and asking where they were. Good luck explaining that one when you do pick-up.
4. The Easter Bonnet Parade. The first year I went all out. ALL OUT. There were nests made out of fake grass by ME (NO ONE had any interest in knowing how I made these). Chocolate mini eggs. And teeny, tiny chicks. The winner that year? Someone who’d stuck a teddy on top of a hat. I kid you not. So this year, I observed last year’s criteria and stuck a fluffy chick on top of a hat. We didn’t win. Or even come third. And my kids were APPALLED with my lack of effort.
5. Crap mealtimes. Mealtimes in our house have been on the slide for some time now. Everyone is always so underwhelmed with what I make, I’ve kind of given up. Lately, I’ve been more likely to throw bits of sausage rolls at them, like ducks. But last week, I had a word with myself. And got my slow cooker out. (There’s something about cooking with a slow cooker that makes you feel like a proper mum, isn’t there?) So I chucked in some chicken, carrots, garlic and stock and let it do its magic. HAHA. 30 minutes before the end I threw in some rice noodles. And hey presto! A dinner bland and beige enough to satisfy even my kids. Godivy took a bit of convincing but Beaver cajoled her. ‘It looks disgusting. But it’s actually quite nice. Try it.’ When I saw them all tucking in, I was like, ‘OH YEAH!’ and did a little dance around the kitchen singing, ‘They’re eating my dinner, they’re eating my dinner. They’re eating my dinner,‘ (think In Da Club by 50 Cent and you’ll sort of get my drift), before Beaver well and truly put me in my place. ‘We might be eating it, but that doesn’t mean we want it for dinner EVERY night.‘ Ahhhh. My kids. They know me so well.
6. Forgetting to do anything I’ve been asked to do. When Beaver started school, I was going to be ALL about the efficiency and organisation. Then I got about 300 emails with various different (and random) requests. I fell pregnant with baby no. 3. And my brain turned to complete mush (I don’t think it’s ever recovered). One day, Beaver brought home her purse, which her reception teacher had named for me. ‘Oh dear, Mrs M must think I’m such a rubbish mum,‘ I said. ‘She does, Mum,’ said Beaver. ‘But don’t worry, you’re not.’
7. Allowing my kids to pick their own clothes. Most days this is a mistake of giant proportions. But throw in a gin hangover and you risk letting your 3 year old trot out of the door wearing hot pants and looking like a cross between Kylie and a Lady of the Night.
8. Following through with threats. Consistent parenting is not my forte these days. I used to be much better, then I had three kids and well, you know. But when Beaver was very small she hit me with a stick. I was so cross (and shocked) that I told her I was going to remove EVERY SINGLE TOY from her room as a punishment. She looked at me with those challenging ‘Go on then‘ eyes that two year olds do SO well and I had to follow through, didn’t I? I spent the next two hours putting every bit of plastic crap from her room into bin bags whilst cursing and hitting myself with the stick. Beaver learned her lesson. And I learned mine. Always use sensible punishments that don’t involve a lot of labour on your part. I mean, it’s so much easier pressing a button to switch off Netflix, right?
9. My time-keeping. It’s dreadful. Worse since the third child came along. Let’s leave it at that, shall we? It’s so bad that when we’ve ever managed to turn up at school on time or, god forbid, early, my kids look a little lost and confused. ‘Where is everyone? And why aren’t you shouting at us, Mummy?‘ Anyway, my poor time-keeping is going to be a thing of the past as I’ve just bought a wall clock for our kitchen. The first clock our house has ever owned. It’s obviously going to transform our lives. And my aptitude as a mother. HAHA. (Don’t you just LOVE a bit of remorse and a shed load of good intentions?)
10. My good intentions. See above. They last about two days before they, erm, don’t.