I AM A LESS-THAN-PERFECT PARENT BECAUSE…

This post was written for inclusion in the May blog carnival hosted by One Fit Mom (wait, that’s me! ;)). Today, participants share their funny, honest and even poignant confessions of how they are less-than-perfect parents (or parents-to-be). Please read to the end of the post to see the full list of links to other carnival submissions.

Eight months. Eight confessions. And believe me, this is only the tip of the iceberg. If I had the time, I could probably think of something for every week of poor young Oliver’s life! :)

1. I really hated breastfeeding at first. It was not the magical bonding experience I was lead to believe it would be. This probably had a lot to do with my early breastfeeding struggles. I dreaded every single nursing session for the first couple of months, and whenever Oliver cried, I would think to myself, “Oh, please don’t be hungry again.” When Oliver would latch, I would grit my teeth, wince, and then pull out my iPhone or laptop and surf the web in an attempt to make those agonizing minutes pass as quickly as possible.

For the most part, I never came to love our nursing sessions, with the exception of our nightly dream feeds. They were the only time Oliver fed without farting around, biting, getting distracted, twiddling, kicking, or any other one of his rather impolite nursing habits. There is nothing in the world like cuddling up with a soft, warm, sleeping baby while he nurses quietly and contentedly.

But alas, eight-month-old Oliver is starting to wean himself. He’s having shorter and less frequent feedings during the day, and last night marked his final dream feed. It was a bittersweet moment as I lay him back down in his crib.

2. Screen time is our cheap parenting trick. Yes, I know: every major child health organization recommends no screen time before the age of two. But this mesmerizing animated children’s lullaby buys me just enough time to clip all of Oliver’s fingernails with nary a fuss nor fidget. The iPad hath charms to soothe even the most savagely fussy baby on an airplane. And then there’s the iPhone — the mother of all crawling incentives. Indeed, I don’t believe Oliver would have learned to crawl nearly as early as he did if it weren’t for Daddy’s iPhone left carelessly on the floor, just out of reach. Whenever I start to feel guilty about screen time, I remind myself that at least we don’t have cable, so we haven’t gone as far as to plunk Oliver in front of the television for an episode of the latest über-creepy children’s program (shout out to The Wiggles).

Oliver, “helping” Daddy at work. Does it count as screen time if the screens are off?

3. I exploited the Exersaucer for naps. My naps, that is. On a few occasions that I was so exhausted I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I put Oliver in the Exersaucer to safely contain him while I caught a 10-minute catnap. I positioned the plastic monstrosity beside the bed to assuage Oliver’s separation anxiety, and he would giggle and make eyes at me, thinking I was interacting with him, when in reality I was dozing.

4. I was wholly responsible for Oliver’s first “dropping on the head” incident. It was under my care (J wasn’t even in the same city as us!) that Oliver happened to fall off the settee of my friend’s boat and land directly on the top of his head, on hardwood floor, of course. As I picked him up by his legs — he was wedged upside-down between the settee and the dining table — I felt like the most inept mother in the world. He was fine. They bounce.

Mere moments before “the incident.”

5. I can’t believe I’m admitting this on the Internet, but we’ve driven in the car — twice — without properly securing our baby. The first incident occurred when Oliver was four weeks old and we were collecting his grandmother from the airport. We’d carried him into the airport in his infant seat and unbuckled the harness to let him be more comfortable during the potentially lengthy wait. The idea was that he would eventually be taken out of the seat to meet his grandmother. As it turns out, he fell asleep, so we left him in the seat. Upon returning to the car, we blithely clicked the seat back onto its base as we’d done dozens of times before, forgetting that our baby’s harness wasn’t fastened. Amateur mistake.

On the second occasion, we were on vacation and using the car seat in a rental car, without its base. After assiduously strapping Oliver into the seat, we drove off, only to realize upon arrival at our destination that we’d forgotten to secure the seat to the car using the seatbelt. Both incidents scared the crap out of us, and we established car seat “procedures” to ensure we would never repeat them.

6. I was a food hypocrite. J and I agreed that Oliver would not be given any grains, sugar or processed foods for at least the first couple of years of his life; however, it didn’t stop us from treating ourselves from time to time. On numerous occasions, we ate said contraband in front of our very food-aware, solids-eating baby, while he looked on with importunate eyes. We’ve stopped doing it. It’s cruel. Oliver has finally given us the motivation we’ve needed to kick the treat habit. Nobody wants to be “those asshole parents.” :)

7. Oliver has bumper pads in his crib. Yes, those much-maligned panels of cushiony goodness surround my baby’s sleeping space, and I know for a fact I’m not the only mom doing this. Bumpers are still sold in baby stores, and let’s face it, baby stores don’t stock products that don’t sell. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone else follow our lead (in fact, I’d categorically advise against it), but if you watched a mere five minutes of “Oliver Cam” (our video baby monitor), you would understand our decision. The kid does not stop moving, and without bumper pads, we’d undoubtedly be running into his bedroom every half hour throughout the night to extricate yet another trapped limb.

8. I let a hobo touch my baby. Not just any hobo, mind you, but my long-time neighbourhood panhandler whom I’ve known for years. He was so excited to meet then six-week-old Oliver that he leaned his face in super close and grabbed Oliver’s little hand, all the while cooing and oohing and ahhing over him. I cringed (his hands were filthy!), but I just didn’t have the heart to ruin a fleeting moment of happiness in this gentle soul’s otherwise tragic life — even for my baby. I immediately took Oliver home and scrubbed him.

I also let him play with his stroller wheels. Dirt is good, right?

Okay, it’s time to ‘fess up. What are your worst parenting transgressions?

Other submissions:

  • Cassie at Mama PhD ‘N Training discusses her cloth diapering dilemmas, and how they might be interfering with the progress of her dissertation.
  • Carmen at I Love Being Mom shares the guilt and relief that came with the end of her breastfeeding relationship.
  • Quinn at Sun Flower and Sunshine (whose baby is due any day now!) confesses her third trimester diet debauchery.
  • Cheryl at Mommy & Co. learns firsthand why her mom may have made some of the parenting mistakes she did.
  • Vicky at TGAW shares some of the hilarious mishaps of computer programmers turned parents.

18 responses to “I AM A LESS-THAN-PERFECT PARENT BECAUSE…

  1. Pingback: Parenting Confessions « TGAW·

  2. Pingback: A breastfeeding story | I love Being a Mommy·

  3. I seriously cracked up over the hobo part… Also, I remember dropping my little sister when she was a baby. Such a terrible feeling!
    Oh, and my nephews use to chew on my flip-flops. Talk about dirt!

    • Yes, the falling on the head thing really sucked. I was out of town (on my own) with Oliver, and was initially convinced I was going to be spending the night in the ER, all by myself of course, because it was late evening and J wouldn’t have been able to catch a ferry or a plane until the morning. Then logic prevailed and I realized that all they were likely to do at the ER was check his vitals and tell me to keep an eye on him overnight for any changes. So I figured I could manage that on my own and skip the part that involved sitting in a hospital for three hours first. :)

      • Good call on the ER! I commend your logic. That is pretty much what they did, but with one horribly excruciating addition– They wanted to give our little guy an IV (I think saline lock might be the more fitting term?) “just in case” something like seizures came up overnight. It took them four heartbreaking tries to get a line in one of his tiny limbs. It was sooo much worse than the actual hit to the head (which was unnoticable at that point) and after all that trouble getting the IV in, it luckily never had to be used. So again, good call! :)

        • Oh, that must have been terrible :(

          I remember when Oliver had blood drawn after birth and at four days old (to test his clotting factors). His cries were absolutely heartbreaking. And that was only a blood draw; not an insertion of a line.

  4. I feel you on the breastfeeding part. I never had pain, but I have a low supply and I have tried EVERYTHING to bring it up (pumping, herbs, lactation consultants, etc), including prescription drugs. It’s just a pain because I breastfeed, then pump, then give my daughter the little that I pump after, but I still have to supplement a few ounces a day on top of that with donated breast milk. It’s totally time consuming and huge bummer. It is definitely not the love-inducing bonding time that everyone says it is our case. The only time I really enjoy it is in the middle of the night or in the early morning when I have the most milk and I don’t have to pump and do all the rest of it. I know it’s the best thing for her, which is why I do it, but really, just giving her a bottle of formula would be much, much easier in my case.

    • Kudos to you for persisting, despite all those challenges!! Pumping is not exactly easy nor fun, and it’s very time-consuming (really it’s just yet *another* 20 minutes stuck on the bed with something attached to your breast). Hopefully all your hard work will pay off, and your supply will increase to the point where you can ditch the pump and the donated milk (lucky you that you’re able to get donated milk, though!).

      In the beginning, I couldn’t imagine that breastfeeding could possibly be easier than mixing formula and sterilizing bottles, but once everything finally came together and I wasn’t experiencing quite so much pain, it was infinitely more convenient.

      And now that Oliver is starting to wean, I am actually a bit sad that soon he won’t depend on me for his nourishment…

      • I live in the San Francisco Bay area where there is a good network of women who informally share breast milk. I don’t have to supplement that much anymore (about 5 ounces per day), so I have been able to keep her mostly on breast milk for the first three months. I didn’t have ANY milk at all for about the first three weeks, so I had to give her formula then when I didn’t know I could get donations. I think the most frustrating thing is that LC’s tell you that it is so rare to have supply issues (which turns out to be untrue according to both my OB and my kid’s pediatrician). So, it is a big bummer when people tell you that something that is happening to you despite your best efforts…is still happening to you!

        • How nice to have a network of women who can support each other with donor milk! I understand it can be quite difficult to get milk through a milk bank unless your baby has health issues or is premature, since there is always such a great demand.

  5. OMG, I would do the same thing during the bfeeding sessions. It’s so hard but I realize that it’s worth it. I just wish I would have been more educated at the time. I was also responsible for dropping my baby and I couldn’t sleep the whole night. I would wake up every hour to check on her. It was horrible. Ahhh the joys of parenting…lol. Thanks for this!

    • I think the iPhone/breastfeeding thing is pretty universal these days. I do wonder what women did in the days before smart phones? :P

      • Try asking your mom!! I watched TV, sometimes talked on the phone, leafed through a magazine or just quietly relaxed. Once I became proficient, I did some one-handed chores such as stirring a pot and yes vacuuming if I was in a pinch, I timed my feedings at approximately 10 minutes per side so I was done in about 20 minutes. Maybe that isn’t acceptable nowadays but it certainly worked for me and all 3 babies. We didn’t even have a cell phone or a computer let alone an i-pad or i-phone. With technology moving so quickly, years from now your children may wonder what you did “back in the day”. It’s all relative………..

        • Mom, I can’t believe you vacuumed and cooked while breastfeeding us!! Although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you were vacuuming… hahaha :P

  6. My worst parenting transgression? Wow it’s hard to narrow it down to just one…okay, so here’s two!

    I do recall that when J was about 9 or 10 months old, she absolutely adored Steve Harvey from the Family Feud :) She would dance and laugh whenever he was on the TV. heh heh.
    The FIRST DAY I was alone with J (hub went back to work when she was 6mo), I was putting her in her highchair. I turned to grab the tray and when I turned back, I watched my baby tumbled forward and land face first onto the floor…it literally looked like a chubby sac of potatoes falling onto the floor. I was horrified and she was devastated. SILVER LINING: The DAY BEFORE (seriously) we had bought that alphabet soft mat/padded/interlocked square thingy for our exposed CONCRETE floor, just to increase the area of ‘safe’ tumbling for her. So she landed on that instead of the CONCRETE floor. I think that might have prevented a broken nose. Phew. Yeah.

    • That is scary, and so lucky that you guys had bought the foam mats! Our place is almost entirely hard flooring. I’m not so worried about the wood laminate because it has some “give,” but we have wickedly slippery marble tiles at the front entrance and in the bathrooms. Our bathroom in particular has a tub surround made of this same tile, and Oliver loves to pull himself up on it. I have visions of him losing his footing and cracking his face on the tub surround, on his way down to the hard floor. Oh the tears that will fall…

  7. When D. was newly crawling, before I figured out that she could crawl *and* climb the stairs, I let her have mostly free-range around the house. One day I got side-tracked (by something likely as trivial as checking email) and had a moment of panic when I didn’t hear her usual shuffle-shuffle. It was quiet…too quiet. When I peeked into the living room, I didn’t see her and from there, I heard a giggle–she was at the top of the stairs, sitting in the cat litter box. I don’t know which is worse–the possibility that she could have fallen down the stairs or the ick-disease factor of sitting in kitty litter? She was simply delighted with the sand box arrangement! The baby gate went up immediately after that.

    My second worst mommy moment was when D. was about 2 years old and she let herself out of the front door and wandered down the street. That time I was doing dishes and chatting with her when she made room rounds. I really didn’t know she could reach the front door handle, let alone open it! After a few minutes of not hearing her, I went to look for her. Talk about near heart attack–I almost fainted when I couldn’t find her in the house! I ran outside with the phone ready to call the police or my husband or CPS (I was feeling pretty negligent for losing my own kid in my own house!). Anyhow, I saw some of the neighborhood teenagers doing bike tricks on our street and there she was, sitting on the curb watching them intently. One of the girls told me, “Don’t worry, she’s been here the whole time!” (The *whole* time? Exactly how long was that?!) Thankfully something caught her interest since she would have likely walked herself to the library or something. Phew!

    I think my mommy radar has improved slightly–Z. will likely come up with her own antics!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s