You Have Failed As A Parent. Really?

Yesterday, I’d written about the parenting fail of not buckling your child in their infant safety seat.  That post was inspired by a thread on my home message board.  While there are a couple of truly heinous instances of parenting fail, most of the comments added are things that wouldn’t exactly cause a reasonable person to point and say “You have failed as a parent.”

Sure, maybe some of them aren’t sterling examples of good parenting skills, but really, I can’t say that you have failed as a parent because you let your dog lick the baby.  Honestly, with Winston the Wonder Chihuahua in my house, I’ve already realized that trying to get your dog to keep his tongue to himself is often a losing battle.  At this point, I just try to keep the dog from licking Norton’s face and hands.  Anything else is pretty much fair game.

Other instances that mothers cited when posting in the bad mommy thread were letting their babies co-sleep.  Okay, fine, I’m not a fan of baby bed sharing.  I feel that it’s a nasty habit in terms of being hard to break (I co-slept until Kindergarten, and so did my oldest child), plus it’s not safe for me to do this in my house.  But, then again, I also tend to follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics to the point of insanity.

However, there’s a whole school of parenting thought that centers around concepts like baby bed sharing and babywearing.  I’m not going to say to someone that you have failed as a parent because you’re into attachment parenting.  Just because it’s not right for me or my family doesn’t mean that it’s not right for you.  I’m not willing to slam your parenting skills because you follow the advice of a different doctor.  I just hope that you at least attempt to follow Dr. Sears’ guidelines for safe baby bed sharing.

Another common one that was listed in the “I’m a bad mommy” thread was letting babies sleep in the swing.  I confess, I’m guilty of that one.  You know what?  He doesn’t sleep very well or very long in his crib, even though we’ve set the mattress up on an incline.  He doesn’t sleep at all in his pack n play.  He seems to be showing signs of infant reflux.

I’m not going to apologize or refer to myself as a bad parent because I want to sleep and not have my kid covered in baby barf all the time.  I’m not going to apologize for wanting food to come out the back end after digestion instead of out of the top end before digestion.

In short, give yourself a break.  Ninety percent of the time, whenever you think that you have failed as a parent in the infant stage, you haven’t.  But if you did commit a major act of parenting fail and post that you are a “bad mommy” because of it, don’t be surprised when people agree with you.

How do you convince yourself to give yourself a break on minor parenting flops?

Originally published on What to Expect on April 13, 2010.

Child Gun Safety, Kentucky, and Tragedy

Everyone has their own opinions on gun safety.  Some think that gun safety is only doable by eliminating guns.  Some think that gun safety means shoot the other guy first.  I’m pretty sure the majority of us lean towards “increased background checks” as a reasonable alternative.  But when it comes to child gun safety, there are far fewer grey areas. [Read more…]

Child Gun Safety, Kentucky, and Tragedy

Everyone has their own opinions on gun safety.  Some think that gun safety is only doable by eliminating guns.  Some think that gun safety means shoot the other guy first.  I’m pretty sure the majority of us lean towards “increased background checks” as a reasonable alternative.  But when it comes to child gun safety, there are far fewer grey areas.

By now, everyone in the world has heard about the recent events in Kentucky: a five year old was left unattended with his own gun.  He shot and killed his two year old sister.

Child Gun Safety, Kentucky, and Tragedy (Motherhood Looms)

Some people (probably the majority?) think that the child had no business even touching a gun.  I’m not so sure about that.  You see, my own father received a .22 rifle when he was around five years old.  His mother taught him how to shoot.  Mind you, this was also in rural Alabama nearly seventy years ago.  Back then, it was also not uncommon for a high school kid to drive his pick up truck to school with a gun rack mounted in the back window.

Child gun safety does not necessarily mean keeping all guns from children.  It doesn’t mean that keeping children from even knowing that guns exist.  But child gun safety does mean being responsible.  Teaching a child to clean a firearm is not irresponsible.  Teaching a child how to shoot a firearm at the gun range is not irresponsible.  Even allowing a child to have his or her own child sized firearm is not irresponsible.

What’s irresponsible?  Keeping guns out.  I don’t care if you have children or you don’t.  Basic safety (child gun safety or adult) means that firearms are kept secured.  Basic child gun safety requires that firearms are only handled in appropriate locations like the gun range.  And common sense means that you don’t walk out of the room even for a split second.  Leaving two children unattended with a gun is irresponsible.  A two year old girl is dead because of that stupidity.

I don’t doubt that the family is suffering.  I fervently hope that five year old will never remember it.  That being said, it is not a “freak incident.”  It’s bad parenting.  Some will say that the family is suffering enough.  Perhaps they are.  However, that doesn’t change that the behavior is criminal and someone should be going to jail.  Sure, she won’t make that same mistake again, but maybe sending someone to jail for neglect (because it’s pretty freaking neglectful to leave two kids alone with an unsecured weapon), or wreckless endangerment of a minor, or failure to secure a firearm or something will serve as a reminder to other parents who get stupid about child gun safety.

What are your thoughts on child gun safety?

*Point of clarification: before someone determines that I must be some sort of “NRA gun nut,” I should point out that I am not a member of the NRA.  I do not own firearms.  I have never fired a weapon and have no intention of doing so any time soon.  My children have also never handled a firearm.  However, my personal distaste for guns does not negate second amendment rights.  Nor should it.

Toddler Potty Training + Restaurant = Parenting FAIL

I get the trials and tribulations of toddler potty training.  It’s been an ongoing issue, and I’m only thinking that we’re finally at the point where we’re making some progress.  However, most responsible parents realize that there’s a time and a place for toddler potty training.

The key word here is “most.”

[Read more…]

Bullying, Parenting, Decision Making, and Court Complaints

While perusing my Facebook today, I found that an article was trending.  In this article, a teenaged girl who took bullying too far and into the realm of assault went to court.  The judge offered a deal for a reduced sentence.  The mother took it.  And now mommy is crying foul, claiming that she felt intimidated.

What happened?  Well, this brat and her friend decided that it was great fun to bully a three year old by cutting off the kid’s hair.  The mom of the three year old handled it amazingly well: rather than beating those little monsters to a pulp for daring to touch her child, she took it through the legal system.  A brat was found guilty, and the judge offered a deal: reduction of community service if Mom cut off the culprit’s hair.  Right there in the court room.  Mom did it, but now she’s whining and filing a complaint against the judge.

[Read more…]