Don’t get me wrong. I think I score okay on the big picture stuff. I’m patient. I read stories. I sing lullabies. I listen. I care. I label the behaviour and not the child. I cuddle. I try to lead by example. I pick my battles. They know they’re loved unconditionally.
It’s more the day-to-day admin side of parenting that really needs some attention at our place. Here’s an audit of recent events:
1. Banana left in school bag for the entire school holidays. FAIL.
2. Dreadlocks in the four-year-old’s hair. No, not as a fashion statement. FAIL.
3. Under 7’s soccer. Forgot to bring back the man-of-the-match trophy – the one you are only supposed to keep for a week. No trophy for this week’s man-of-the-match. FAIL.
4. Left kids with a babysitter and no instructions on what to cook for dinner. Kids had take away pizza. Again. FAIL.
5. Two tiny dots of green mould on the back of the four-year-old’s ballet leotard, discovered after the ballet class, possibly as a result of being left in a bag with rotten fruit. (See above). FAIL.
6. Fifteen minutes late for the school Easter Hat Parade. Pretty much missed the whole thing. ‘Didn’t you see me darling? I was standing just over there’ FAIL. Oh, and I forgot the camera! FAIL.
7. Fillings in the eight-year-old and six-year-old’s teeth. FAIL.
8. Several play dates and sleepovers yet to be reciprocated. ‘Maybe Max can come over next weekend sweetheart. Yes, I know it’s been four months’. FAIL.
9. Avoiding story time at Manly Library – for two years – because of an outstanding $78 fine. FAIL.
10. Only sent out thank-you cards to half the guests from the four-year-old’s birthday party. FAIL.
11. RSVP’d to a birthday party and then completely forgot it was on. No show. No present. FAIL.
12. Borrowed the children’s Christmas money from Grandma and only paid it back last week. FAIL.
13. Eight-year-old singled out by her teacher as suitable for a special ‘gifted and talented’ drama enrichment weekend workshop. Took too long to fill in the form. Workshop full. FAIL.
14. Did the Premier’s Reading Challenge, but forgot to fill in the form. No certificate . FAIL.
15. Slip of paper in the bottom of the school bag, with important information about the next parent get together, discovered after the get together had taken place. FAIL.
And this last one may be the worst. It’s the one I’m most ashamed of…
16. Missed four calls from the children’s school. Called back two hours later to find the six-year-old had been in sick bay but had given up waiting for mum to pick him up and was back in class. FAIL. FAIL. FAIL!
Anyway, I confessed my failings on the radio this week (one of the perks of working as a producer on Richard Glover’s Drive Program on 702 ABC Sydney is we get to embarrass ourselves on air sometimes). I was hoping some people might call in with admissions of worse parental failings… and I wasn’t disappointed. Thank you so much to the following people, who made me feel just a little bit better:
1. The woman who left her four year old in a toilet at a petrol station, driving a couple of kilometres down the road before realising he was missing.
2. The man who was wondering why his baby was crying, only to find he’d pinned the nappy to the child as well as the nappy.
3. The woman who sent her daughter to school dressed as a princess for ‘P’ day – on the wrong day.
4. The man who told his son to stop complaining about sore ribs and then discovered – weeks later – that the ribs were cracked.
5. The woman who got home from the playground, took her daughter’s shoes off and realised yesterday’s socks were still stuffed into the toes.
6. And all those lovely people who called in confessing to forgetting to pick their children up from soccer, ballet, school, camp, music lessons…
What’s that old saying? ‘What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’? If this is true, my three must be pretty tough by now. I like to think I’m teaching them how to cope with chaos. Still, I wonder if an extra cuddle will compensate for the life the eight-year-old might have lead on the stage – if only her mother had filled out that form for the ‘Gifted and Talented’ weekend.
Emma Crowe works as a Radio Producer at 702 ABC Sydney two days a week. The rest of the week, she can be found driving a people mover around Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
To hear Emma confessing her ‘failings’ on live on 702, click here.
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Confess your parenting fails – and if you don’t have kids, what were your own parent’s failures?