Parenting fails. We've all had some bloopers.

The Tooth Fairy needs to be sacked, I tell you. She forgot to fly by our house when my son lost his tooth. Three nights in a row. “I wonder why she didn’t leave me any coins or take my tooth?” asked my son, a worried look on his face.

Quick as a flash, my husband responded, “You’re supposed to write her a note. If you forget the letter, she forgets the money.”

Disaster averted. My son scrawled out his note. And the Tooth Fairy visited our home that night. Let’s hope she remembers to take her memory pills the next time around.

Thanks for stopping by, Tooth Fairy!

This got us talking around the office about our parenting hits and misses. The epic fails and the shiny successes. Here are some of them…


Don’t get us started. Between the lot of us we have a whole bunch of fussy eaters. We do our best to make the healthy stuff go down. But sometimes, we just throw our hands in the air in surrender.

Take our editor Alys Gagnon, for example. She says, “For about six months, I let my kid have porridge for dinner. Every. Single. Night. He flat-out refused to eat anything else.”

Read more: The seven things you really think while giving birth.

Another mum let her daughter eat cheese Twisties everyday because she wasn't eating any other carbs and was underweight. Her child's paediatrician recommended it.

Writer Jo Abi reveals, “I let my kids eat – yes, eat – Milo without milk.” Bet they think it’s delish.

Sometimes, we even use food as a bribe. “My daughter was throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, causing a scene,” says a staff mummy. “I tried everything to get her to behave. Finally – and I hope nobody heard me – I promised her a donut if she stopped. It worked a treat."

Porridge for dinner? Yes, please.


Night time is not called the Witching Hour for nothing in Alys’ house. “I have bribed my child with a few minutes on the iPad so that he’ll go to bed. Sometimes, I even sweeten the deal with the promise of chocolate if he co-operates.”

Writer Shauna shares this anecdote about her sleep-deprived self: “We were jet-lagged after a long overseas holiday. My son had kept me up for many nights in a row. I finally told him (maybe I yelled a bit) that I would actually die if I didn't get any sleep. He burst into tears and whimpered for the rest of the night: ‘I don't want you to die.’ I hope I’ve not scarred him for life.”

Need. More. Sleep.

Toilet Training

Pee and poo. It's funny how your kids' bowel movements take up some much of your time and thoughts. Time and again, our kids prove to us that when you gotta go, you gotta go!


Writer Jo Abi reveals, “While toilet training my son, he wet himself at the Coles checkout leaving a puddle on the floor. I mopped it up with my scarf – and switched to grocery shopping at Woolies.”

A Mum-of-three who writes for us and asked to remain anonymous for this one, understandably (!) once forgot to stock up on nappies. It was the middle of the night and she had no option but to "scoop the poop and reuse the nappy.” Yucky? Maybe. But top marks for disaster (and waste) management.

We were at a party in the park when my son was toilet training. He needed to pee but I couldn't be bothered to take him to the public toilets, so I told him to pee on a tree. To my embarrassment, he still thinks it's okay to do this when we're outdoors and he needs to go.

Toilet training can be a test in patience.


Jo Abi will never forget this blooper: “I forgot to hang out my daughter's uniform to dry. So when she went to put it on, it was still damp. I lied and told her she was imagining things – that it just felt cold.”

Another mum sheepishly remembers how she washed her son’s pristine white sports uniform, only to turn it a pretty shade of pink. He was not impressed. She blames his stray red sock. But it could have been her pink blouse...

One red sock is all it took to turn the white shirts pink.

White lies

From Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to the everyday half-truths we feed our kids, it's all done to keep the peace and maintain some semblance of sanity. Or so we tell ourselves.

While my kids were toddlers, they used to make a big fuss when it was time to go home from the park. So I would point to a random stranger and say that he was the park ranger who had come to lock up the park. Never mind that said park didn’t even have a gate.

Another friend lied to her kids, telling them the shops were closed for a week. She had promised to buy them toys but did not want to spend the money.

My sister-in-law once told her daughter that her birthday was a week later than its actual date. Her husband was away on work and she was too bogged down with a project to handle the party preparations on her own. my niece remains blissfully unaware to this day.

It's my birthday today. Really, it is.

Listen to the editor of Mamamia Holly Wainwright, host of This Glorious Mess, tell us about her parenting fail. (You can sign up to the podcast here.)

Share your parenting fails in the comments below. We promise not to judge. We do not promise not to laugh.