It’s okay to be a crap parent sometimes

Today CBeebies did most of the parenting.  Tonight will be white wine and self-loathing served in front of some inane rubbish on the TV – Made in Chelsea should do the trick.  It’s okay to be a crap parent sometimes.  Tomorrow will be a better day. 

This is not how parenting is supposed to go.  Super-Nanny would have condemned me for finally giving into the tantrum and for buying The Octonauts magazine.  I condemn myself for my inconsistency.  If I was going to give in and buy the magazine anyway, I should have saved myself the stress and capitulated at the beginning of the day.   

The woman in the garden centre asked me whether my sobbing, hyper-ventilating, child had hurt himself.  My son had tears streaming down his face.  He looked as though the world’s injustices had been heaped upon his shoulders.  “No”, I assured her, “he is having a tantrum because I won’t buy him a new Spider-Man”.   Her look of concern suggested she was contemplating calling social services. I don’t know whether she did.  I scooped up Cygnet, my son, and left. 

crap parent

Being a parent has taught me that there was no point reading all of those parenting books.

Before I became a parent, I thought I’d try baby-led weaning, but no baby-led weaning book tells you what to do if your baby is just too stupid, or in Cygnet’s case just not bothered about eating.  If I had let Cygnet lead weaning, he would have starved.

Before I became a parent, I had notions that Cygnet would only eat home cooked food.  It was a noble aim, but what mother actually has time to cook?  When I look back at that first year I wonder how I found the energy to get dressed and clean my teeth.  I just about found the microwave. 

Before I became a parent, I was obsessed with what kind of parenting ‘style’ I wanted to have.  The reality is that I use all parenting styles, all of the time and all of them inconsistently.

We practice attachment parenting when Cygnet attaches himself to my ankles when I try to go to the toilet.  I am a crap parent.

We practice firm parenting when I tell him that I will take The Octonauts magazine back to the shop if he does not “sit down now and eat [his] pineapple”. I am a crap parent.

We practice independent and autonomous parenting when I need a break and Cbeebies takes over while I sit and drink a cup of tea on my balcony and try to control my breathing.  I am a crap parent.

Any parent who is a tidy-housed, switched-on ideas machine all of the time has to be lying. Or on drugs. We all need time to re-group occasionally.  I don’t know about you but I really need by glass of wine in the evenings. 

Tomorrow will be a better day.  Tomorrow, I won’t be such a crap parent.  We will go pumpkin picking at the farm and we will make cookies (from a pack where all you have to do is add butter    let’s not get too carried away). 

It’s okay to be a crap parent sometimes. 

P.S.  If you liked this post, you’ll appreciate: We’re all a bit mad, especially after having a baby; This is the rush hour of our lives and Guilty Mum, there’s no need to feel guilty.

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66 Comments

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:25 pm

      It’s a pleasure Claire. Thank you for hosting Life, Love and Dirty Dishes. Pen x

  1. October 20, 2017 / 9:14 am

    So true! There is no such thing as a perfect parent. We all muddling through, trying to do the best we can. As for those books, I had a certain Gina Ford book when I had my first child. It nearly drove me insane, when I binned it and stopped having these expectations, we were all so much happier. #FridayFrolics

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:25 pm

      I had Gina Ford too. I am not sure whether she sent me insane, or rescued me from my insanity. I was too tired to work it out. Pen x

  2. October 20, 2017 / 9:29 am

    I feel like a rubbish parent for at least 10x a day. But I no I do my best most of the time. Good to know I’m not alone x #stayclassymama

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:24 pm

      Hi Eva, Judging by the comments on this blog post, I think it is fair to say that we are DEFINITELY NOT ALONE! Pen x

  3. October 20, 2017 / 12:26 pm

    Oh Pen, I hear you. The only perfect parents are the people who aren’t parents yet! I berate myself for my DREADFUL parenting on a daily basis. Inconsistent. Shouty. Short-tempered. And the rest of it. But every day I know I can start afresh and try to do better tomorrow (until I lose it again that is!). AND my daughter thinks I’m the best mummy ever no matter what. Poor wee thing!
    Emma recently posted…Single mum inspiration: Kickass Single Mom by Emma JohnsonMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:23 pm

      You are lucky. I think Cygnet thinks I am a terrible mother. When I dropped him at his dad’s this evening he told me to ‘go now’. Thanks Cygnet. Pen x

      • November 13, 2017 / 10:46 am

        Sorry, only saw this reply! Please don’t get me wrong Pen my daughter (who is 6) does frequently yell at me “I wish I had a better mummy! you’re the worst mummy in the world!” And if I’m having one of those crappy parenting days I feel like the worst mummy in the world! (Although sometimes that’s her reaction to standard parenting stuff that it’s my job to be strict about!). What I mean is that when it all comes out in the wash, and I’ve apologised for being shouty and horrible, she’ll forgive and forget and still snuggle up to me and tell me I’m the best mummy ever. Cygnet is younger and it’s harder for them to express themselves, but I bet he feels exactly the same way… xxx
        Emma recently posted…How to get more sleep and win at life!My Profile

        • thesingleswan
          November 13, 2017 / 10:17 pm

          Thank you for your really sweet reply Emma, I appreciate you popping back to comment again. It’s okay, I know Cygnet loves me really. He is just going through that difficult stage of figuring out boundaries and learning about his anger and his frustration. I know it is only a phase and we will get through it. Sometimes I wish he would just let me put his coat on without a tantrum. Ah kids! Thank you again Emma. Pen x

  4. The Mummy Bubble
    October 20, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    I am definitely a crap parent sometimes. It’s hard not to beat yourself up about it but I try to remind myself that little kids are a challenge and I might be the parent, but I’m also only human. I hate it when people look judgementally at me when my toddler is having a meltdown, as if it’s not a normal thing for a toddler to have a tantrum. Could totally relate to this x #fridayfrolics

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:21 pm

      It is really difficult not to beat yourself up – you are right. I know I beat myself up. Pen x

  5. October 20, 2017 / 4:16 pm

    Oh girl we have all been there! My kid is complicated by foster kid stuff. There are days when I manage to get organic food AND her daily vitamin down her gullet. There are other days we are hitting the drive through for the lowest form of meat possible. The good news is you start over the next day. In the long run parenting is a marathon not a sprint. In the end as long as they are healthy, productive successful adults that is all that matters! They won’t care you once feed them a non-organic carrot off the floor! Been there sista!

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:20 pm

      Yes, you are right, parenting is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:20 pm

      Thanks. Pen x

  6. October 20, 2017 / 7:13 pm

    As I’m reading this I just told my daughter and her friend that they could have some more candy. Anything to get them to leave me in peace for another ten minutes! #fridayfrolics
    jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…A World of JerksMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:19 pm

      haha, excellent. I hope you enjoyed your extra 10 mins. I am glad you spent some of it visiting my blog. Pen x

  7. October 20, 2017 / 10:10 pm

    Yes, yes! I have been a crap parent this week! Actually, if I’m being kind I have been a crap parent to one child and a not-so-crap parent to the other. This is even more inconsistent! Cheers! To CBeebies…Long May it live! #fridayfrolics

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:17 pm

      yes indeed. How did people survive parenting before Cbeebies? Pen x

  8. October 20, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    I give in and buy my kids stuff all the time! I try my damndest to do any shopping whatsoever either online or when they’re not around – bit different if you’re in a garden centre though! Your parenting is about 75% better than mine I reckon 🙂

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:16 pm

      I very much doubt that. Lovely to hear from you. I hope you are well. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:15 pm

      haha, thanks Barrie. Pen x

  9. October 21, 2017 / 6:06 am

    I feel like if we keep them in one piece and they don’t end up torturing animals or robbing people, we’re doing pretty damn good! Love this post. Dropping in from #StayClassyMama

    Have a great weekend!
    WebMDiva recently posted…Shit I’ve Learned From MotherhoodMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      October 21, 2017 / 9:15 pm

      Thank you, yes, you are right, we need to focus on the bigger picture. Pen x

  10. October 23, 2017 / 3:43 pm

    I used to be guilt for having the TV on all the time, but I have learnt that instinctively children react to your non verbal vibes. I swear when I was chilled they were better. My son’s at first permanently watched tv at first but got bored after awhile and then went of and entertained themselves. No one is perfect and there is so much pressure to be the entertainer, but you will be amazed at how good children can be. X #anythinggoes

    • thesingleswan
      October 23, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      Thank you! xx

  11. October 23, 2017 / 9:25 pm

    Spot on. We are not robots, sometimes we need to be “crap” just to get some breathing space.
    #anythinggoes

    • thesingleswan
      October 25, 2017 / 9:24 pm

      Yes, that is just it. Sometimes we just need breathing space. pen x

  12. October 23, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    Yup! So true! Thank you for the reminder. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us that we did the best we could in the situation we were in. I beat myself up so much if I’m not “on it” every. single. day. But tomorrow is another day, thank goodness, and a chance to try again #mg
    Lucy At Home recently posted…BlogCrush Week 36 – 20th October 2017My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      October 25, 2017 / 9:23 pm

      Thank you Lucy. Yes, tomorrow is another day – thankfully. Pen x

  13. October 24, 2017 / 3:47 am

    Love this post! I’m sending it to my sister-in-law who’s a single mom and probably feels like a crap parent sometimes. #AnythingGoes

    • thesingleswan
      October 25, 2017 / 9:22 pm

      Thanks Heather. Feel free to put your sister in law in contact with me if she wants a chat. Pen@thesingleswan.com Pen x

  14. October 24, 2017 / 4:02 pm

    I felt rubbish yesterday when the dentist told me my daughter needs to brush her teeth better. Actually I feel like a crap parent quite often. Great post Pen and oh so true. Sarah #mg
    Sarah Stockley recently posted…#ExplorerKids Linky – Week 11My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      October 25, 2017 / 9:21 pm

      Thank you Sarah. I hope you are okay after the dentist ordeal. I really struggle to clean Cygnet’s teeth. It is so tough to pin a toddler down. Pen x

  15. October 24, 2017 / 11:12 pm

    Thank you for this post at this very time! At times, it’s all overwhelming and it is true, we all can be crap. And it is okay. The tv watches them sometimes, and they will be just fine! Same with the iPad. But mostly, we’re not crap, and that is good. xoxo #mg
    Lisa Pomerantz recently posted…On Sunday it was summerMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      October 25, 2017 / 9:20 pm

      Thank you Lisa. Pen x

  16. October 25, 2017 / 7:56 am

    You spoke my mind. I think I’m crap perent too at times! I tried baby led weaning for my son but that meant the entire house getting painted with food and an empty stomach!! Right now feeding my 2 yr old is the biggest challenge, he’s only Happy with cookies and chips for anything else its a war!

    • thesingleswan
      October 25, 2017 / 9:18 pm

      Oh well, at least he is getting calories! Sometimes it is best not to stress about these things – easier said than done i know. pen x

  17. October 25, 2017 / 9:29 am

    Absolutely right. Parenting books are crap and should be illegal for making every other parent feel like they are not doing a good job! We all do the best we can and sometimes that means giving in to the little people so we can keep a little bit of our sanity!. Thank you for sharing with #StayClassymama

    • thesingleswan
      October 25, 2017 / 9:18 pm

      thank you Pat. We should burn the parenting books! Pen x

  18. October 25, 2017 / 6:03 pm

    You’re so not a crap parent! The fact that these thoughts weigh on your mind enough to write this post shows that you are far from a crap parent, because you care!
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

    • thesingleswan
      October 25, 2017 / 9:17 pm

      Thank you Debbie. That’s very sweet of you. Pen x

  19. October 25, 2017 / 10:52 pm

    This is refreshing to read…totally fed up with going to bed and feeling a failure, going over and over the day’s inadequate parenting. Turning it on its head and celebrating one or two good moments would be a better idea….must tell myself that bit of advice tomorrow (yeah, fat chance!)

  20. October 26, 2017 / 9:04 am

    I could have written this, exactly how I feel sometimes especially this week during half term! #thursdayteam

    • thesingleswan
      October 26, 2017 / 8:45 pm

      Yes, half term is tough isn’t it. Cygnet only goes to pre-school (so 3 hours a day), and I work 4 days a week. Normally though I have one day a week off work and he is at school for three hours that day. Those three hours are bliss – really indulgent. Pen x

  21. October 26, 2017 / 10:12 am

    Parenting books are best left propping something up. Personally, I think you’ve got it right. Carry on as you are, pick your battles, you’ll be just fine #brillblogposts x

    • thesingleswan
      October 26, 2017 / 8:43 pm

      Thanks Lisa. Pen x

  22. October 26, 2017 / 12:21 pm

    Omgosh I was literally thinking about your blog the other day and what became to the Swam lady and her little chick (aka cygnet) Im so glad I found you again. your blog is as witty and honest as I remember. I too, use several parenting styles, all the time. Some of them involuntarily, as my child decided that she didn’t like anything that the books suggested. ha. Glad I found you again. xx

    • thesingleswan
      October 26, 2017 / 8:43 pm

      Thanks Vicky. I am glad you have rediscovered me. Please come back. Pen x

  23. October 26, 2017 / 2:13 pm

    Love this post (and all posts like this). The reality of parenting is very very different from the picture-perfect scenes we see on TV and in parenting books. My 4 year old went and fractured his elbow on Day 1 of half-term so all our half-term plans had to be cancelled. Amazon Prime has taken over as babysitter and I’m ok with that!!!
    #ThursdayTeam

    Here are similar posts I’ve penned – on momguilt and other mom confessions – if you fancy a read (or a rant).
    https://talesfrommamaville.com/momguilt-back-off/
    https://talesfrommamaville.com/confessions-of-an-exhausted-mummy/

    • thesingleswan
      October 26, 2017 / 8:42 pm

      Hi Nicole,

      I just read your post about your aborted half term week. Oh well. Things don’t always go to plan do they? Thanks for your comment. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      October 26, 2017 / 8:41 pm

      Thank you for hosting and for commenting. Pen x

  24. October 26, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    I was a crap parent today. After picking the 3yo up from nursery she woke up the 1yo and it went downhill from there. Littlest was a tired a***hole for the rest of the day, and she was grumpy because I was grumpy. I watched Cold Feet and ignored them (tried to anyway) for a bit, then I felt really bad because my eldest started to vomit everywhere. Turns she was grumpy because she’s ill. Cue ALL THE mum guilt… #ThursdayTeam
    Aleena Brown recently posted…The Final Countdown: Where Will You Be This Christmas?My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      October 31, 2017 / 9:19 pm

      Ah yes, we have all been there. There is nothing worse than berating your child for being an absolute sod only to find that they have a reason to be so. Pen x

  25. October 27, 2017 / 6:41 am

    Totally with you! We have ABC kids here and trust me they have done loads of babysitting over the years! Some days I barely dragged myself out from the bed to couch, somedays it was just all too hard. It has gotten easier now that they can all make themselves toast yippee! #mg
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…a blogging good timeMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      October 31, 2017 / 9:16 pm

      Thanks Mac for your honest comment. Parenting is tough and sometimes it is just a bit too much. Thank you. Pen x

  26. October 28, 2017 / 12:42 am

    This is so true! I have had days like these. I still have days like these even now that my kids are older. I don’t think we ever get over feeling guilty for the choices we make as parents, no matter the outcome-or the intention. #anythinggoes
    Michelle Kellogg recently posted…Parents also Friends?My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      October 31, 2017 / 9:15 pm

      Thanks Michelle. Pen x

  27. October 31, 2017 / 2:01 pm

    It’s like I could have written this post myself, really loved this post! Sometimes there are days that are just full on hard, tough and you do feel like a crap parent but then you have an amazing day and wonder why you worried. I read all the books in the early days and thought about what parent I would be, now they are in the loft!! #thursdayteam

    • thesingleswan
      October 31, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your comment. yes, you are right. There are good days too. Thank fully. Pen x

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