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50 Ways You Are Failing at Parenting

Photograph by Twenty20

The chorus of the internet has hereby declared: We parents are ruining our children with each and every decision we make, and there’s nothing we can do to change that.

What exactly have we done to draw the ire of every modern parenting expert (including those “experts” in every internet comments section)?

1. We were too young when we got pregnant.

2. We were too old when we got pregnant.

3. We didn’t exercise enough during our pregnancy.

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4. We exercised too much during pregnancy.

5. We used fertility treatments to assist with our pregnancies.

6. We chose surrogacy.

7. We chose adoption.

8. We placed our child for adoption.

9. We chose abortion.

10. We ate the wrong cheese while pregnant.

11. We didn’t microwave our lunch meat while pregnant.

12. We gave birth in a hospital.

13. We gave birth at home.

14. We used an epidural.

We checked our phone while our children played at the playground. (Oh the humanity!)

15. We didn’t practice skin-to-skin contact immediately after our baby’s birth.

16. We wore our baby everywhere we went.

17. We didn’t get the right baby carrier.

18. We didn’t use the right stroller.

19. We used a stroller (and everyone knows that means a child will grow up thinking we want to push them away from us).

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20. We’ve trusted our pediatrician’s opinion.

21. We’ve questioned our pediatrician’s opinion.

22. We have too many kids.

23. We have an only child (poor impoverished soul).

24. We fed our babies formula.

25. We breastfed for too long.

26. We didn’t breastfeed long enough.

27. We have “mom hair.” (Apparently “mom-anything” signifies a woman giving up on the world.)

28. We have a “dad bod.” (I’m not sure that equal body-shaming is what anyone meant by gender equality.)

29. We helicopter over our children.

30. We don’t watch our children closely enough.

31. We checked our phone while our children played at the playground. (Oh the humanity!)

32. We’re single parents.

33. We’re divorced.

34. We’re in a same-sex relationship.

We have “mom hair.” (Apparently “mom-anything” signifies a woman giving up on the world.)

35. We have a traditional family arrangement.

36. We send our kids to public school.

37. We send our kids to private school.

38. We homeschool our children.

39. We live in the city.

40. We live in the suburbs.

41. We live in the country.

42. We stay at home with our children.

43. We work outside the home.

44. We’ve hired a nanny.

45. We send our kids to daycare.

46. We have no childcare support. (It takes a village, but a village is a privilege. Or a privillage. Pardon the pun.)

47. We’ve raised our kids to be vegans or vegetarians.

48. Our kids eat hot dogs and pre-packaged, GMO-filled, high-fructose-corn-syrup-ridden snacks on the regular.

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49. We praise our children’s abilities instead of their efforts, their actions instead of their character. (It’s exhausting trying to keep up with all of these rules.)

50. We’ve had the audacity to make any parenting choice at all.

So good luck not ruining your kids! The best any of us can probably hope for is to parent our children with love and compassion and treat everyone (other parents included) with respect and dignity.

As far as I know, that’s never ruined anyone.

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