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6 Parenting Fails I Didn't Expect

I think most parents would admit that we all have moments when we think, "I really suck at this parenting thing." For me, that moment arrived recently when my husband turned and looked at me brushing our toddler's teeth before bed and said this: "Is that Desitin?" Yes, yes it was Desitin and not that tube of pricey, all-natural kid toothpaste I thought I had reached for.

When newly pregnant, we stock the house with everything we expect will create a magical, happy and healthy environment for our new life with baby. We envision ourselves as a picture-perfect parent with endless amounts of patience and the energy to create fun games, fancy family dinners and vacations.

Then the kid—and reality—arrives.

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Although I'm fairly new to this parenting thing (almost three years in), I've discovered a few of my own misaligned parenting expectations along the way. Any of these sound familiar?

1. Bye-bye bath

I'm lucky if each gets their face and paws dampened with a wet wipe before bed.

In the beginning, I lovingly bathed my new little baby every night as part of the perfectly prescribed soothing bedtime routine. Now, with two slippery kids (one an infant), I'm lucky if each gets their face and paws dampened with a wet wipe before bed. Baths slowly whittled down to every other night, and now maybe every three days? OK, OK, every weekend!

2. No TV! Yeah, right.

We shielded my firstborn from all TV, even covering her eyes if it happened to be on. We created new smartphone limitations for ourselves and promised that she would have no screen time until the approved age of 2.

As someone who grew up in a household without cable (eek!), where a common phrase was, "It'll rot your brain," I wasn't just following the experts' advice. I truly hoped my kids will grow into the bookworms that my siblings and I did.

Flash-forward: Both kids, including the not-yet-1-year-old are big-time "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" fans, and, if I'm being truly honest, the iPad is now basically owned by the toddler. Of course, we still read to them both every day, but we definitely have embraced screen time, too.

3. What birthday party?

In the Pinterest era, it often feels like everyone is throwing their kid an elaborate birthday party complete with Disney character themes and matching gift bags. I never aspired to those heights, but I did hope to at least bake my kids their own cakes, because my mom did so for me. Of course, I also remember my mom staying up late after working all day to frost these cakes for each of us.

So far, I've managed to bake one cake (no frosting) and throw two very low-key affairs, which could hardly be called parties. Maybe it'll be different for that fourth birthday. Or fifth. Or 16th.

4. Cloth diapering is the best

There's not a lot to say here except this lasted all of three months with my first kid. We went straight to Pampers for the second one. I could blame daycare here as they didn't allow cloth diapers, but the truth is I was relieved to hear it. My daughter got terrible rashes with cloth and it was a whole lot of washing that I didn't have time for, to be honest. Kudos to those who stick this one out.

5. The family that travels together stays together? Ha!

I officially loathe traveling with my kids and I'm not ashamed to say it.

My kids will be well-traveled, global citizens who eagerly look forward to train, plane and car trips together where we will take in the sights, learn a little something and dine together on exciting new cuisines. The kids will happily drift off to sleep in their strollers at appointed nap times and in the pop-up crib at night, worn out by a busy day, all the while becoming more at ease with facing new situations and fending off jet lag.

Um, yeah, that didn't happen.

I officially loathe traveling with my kids and I'm not ashamed to say it. We are THAT family on the airplane whenever we do travel, the ones carrying what seems like their entire house with them (well over the minimum carry-on limits) sweating, covered in spit-up and cracker bits and delaying takeoff for a toddler who won't sit in her seat.

Maybe this will change as they get older? Or maybe they'll need to live out these travel fantasies on their own, perhaps in college.

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6. Goodbye sweet, patient Mommy

OK, this is one I really wish I could be better about. I'm not a naturally patient person, but I thought that somehow that overwhelming love thing you have for your kids would magically melt away that short fuse. Or the opposite could happen.

It turns out that when your kid is throwing their fourth tantrum of the day because you have selfishly not allowed them the honor of cutting up their own waffle, and you have about five minutes to pile the whole family into the car to go to daycare and the train, you might just scream. You might even scream an obscenity.

Yep, we're still working on this one.

Image via Pixabay

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