THE 10 GREATEST PARENTING MISTAKES I’VE MADE TO DATE

UNTIL you become a parent, you just don’t get it.

You can’t get it.

Parenting seems like the easiest, most natural thing in the world when you haven’t got a child.

You see a kid throwing a tantrum in the supermarket and know exactly what the mum should be doing.

You roll your eyes when you see a food splattered toddler in your local cafe (doesn’t that dad know he needs to clean him up?) and tell yourself that if / when you are a parent you will never give your child a dummy, let him watch TV or eat white bread.

Ah ignorance is bliss.

I used to do some of this stuff too, that is until Elsie arrived into my world in July 2012 and s**t suddenly got real. Until I suddenly got it.

Parenting is the most wondrous, life changing experience and the love you feel for your child knows no bounds. However it is also complicated, challenging, exhausting, demanding and all consuming.

Parenting is a tough business. It is the hardest job, especially on the hardest of days.

I’ve made heaps of mistakes in the past two and a half years but I’ve also learnt lots too. Some stuff I’ve handled brilliantly, other stuff not so much.

And I’m alright with that. As a parent you can only tackle each day the best you can, with the knowledge you have at that time. It’s impossible to get everything right and just as we teach our children, they also teach us.

But in a bid to keep things real and because I GET IT, here are the greatest parenting mistakes I’ve made. (To date)

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 My 10 greatest parenting mistakes

1) I feared I wasn’t good enough

At the very beginning and throughout my pregnancy I was frightened.

I wasn’t sure I would be a good mum or how I would cope. I was terrified that I would fail my daughter and that someone else could do a better job.

And I was wrong.

Motherhood is a scary business – especially when you’re a new mum – but you have to fight the fear and your inner demons and know and believe that you are enough. Because you ARE. And you can do this.

 

2) I allowed other people to tell me about my child

Many people love to tell you stuff about your child and parenting skills, because they think they know best or because they think they’re being helpful.

But they don’t and they’re not.

You – their parent – know your child better than anyone else in the world. Better than relatives, friends, doctors, teachers or anyone else.

Don’t ever forget that.

You know your child. You know what’s best. You know what to do.

No one – no matter how well meaning – has any right to ever make you question or feel bad about your parenting.

 

3) I thought I was super mum and could do it all

For the first eight months of Elsie’s life, I was the only person to ever put her down to sleep or for a nap. Even when I was ill. Even when I was worn out.

I thought I could do it all and I felt it was my place to be there for her whenever she needed me.

But trying to do everything only left me feeling fraught and at times a bit of an emotional wreck. And, I hasten to add, it was all my own fault.

As soon as I allowed, yes allowed, my husband to do his fair share, things got much better for all of us. Lesson learnt? You can NOT do it all, no matter how hard you may want to or feel you can.

 

4) I thought I was failing if parenting wasn’t plain sailing

I can still remember the first parenting day I had when things went wrong. Elsie was two weeks old and up to this point, we’d been doing brilliantly. I was breastfeeding with ease, she was sleeping well and life was pretty rosy.  I even remember thinking to myself, “wow, this parenting lark is a doddle” (I know, I know, I know.)

Then one day it all went wrong. Elsie woke up on a Saturday and decided to cry for eight hours straight. She wouldn’t sleep, she wouldn’t feed and nothing that had previously worked, would calm her.

S**t definitely got real.

Eventually we figured out it was colic and introduced a dummy and Infacol into our routine and things straightened out. But I’ll never forget that panic. And that horrible feeling that I didn’t know what to do.

Two and a half years down the line and I now know that parenting throws up challenges all the time and that we should expect it to.

Having a bad day does not make you a bad parent. It’s just a bad day.

 

5) I ignored my instinct

We all do it and I think the reason why comes from points 1 and 2. We think other people know best, we fear we aren’t good enough and because of that we ignore our parenting instincts.

But we do so at our peril. Doing the best for our children means trusting our judgement and making decisions based on our parenting instincts. Even if it means upsetting others or causing people to raise their eyes in disagreement.

Trusting my gut is crucial to me getting things right as a mum.

 

6) I forgot about ‘me time’

Every parent needs and deserves a break.

When I have time to myself, I am a better parent. I am calmer, more patient, less stressed and much happier.

Devotion to our children is wonderful but our love for them is not diminished just because we need a few hours to ourselves.

It’s OK to have time apart from our kids, in fact it’s healthy. It shows them that you value and respect yourself which is a very important lesson for any little one to learn.

 

7) I lost myself

Not for long but I did. When Elsie was about six months old I remember looking in the mirror and thinking: “who the hell am I now?” 

But I found myself again by making time for myself, thinking about my appearance, taking on freelancing work and where possible, dabbling a bit in my old life (like seeing friends for a night out).

Motherhood changes us (for the better) but we are still the same person underneath the slightly softer, wobblier and more emotional shell. It’s just sometimes we have to look a little hider to find out where we are lurking and figure out who we are.

 

8) I thought I was the only one struggling

But I’m not and I wasn’t. No matter what you are going through right now, know that someone out there is in or has been in, exactly the same boat.

Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone and and reach out to other parents and ask for advice or help.

Us mums and dads are all in this together, just muddling by as best we can.

 

9) I thought I would never survive sleep deprivation

But I’m still here so I’m doing alright.

Some kids sleep through the night, but many don’t and that includes my wee cherub. It’s been months since Elsie has slept through for a night but weirdly, the longer her chaotic sleep pattern goes on, the easier it becomes to deal with.

Acceptance for me was the key. As well as being kind to myself and my husband.

When your child doesn’t sleep well, my advice is to do whatever works. For you and your family. Forget about everything else and just do what you need to do so you can all get some kip.

Eat well, sleep whenever you can, take it in turns with your partner and keep telling yourself that one day things will be different. Because they will.

 

10) I didn’t think I could love my daughter any more

When Elsie came into the world, all 8 pounds 4 ounces of her gorgeous self, it was the greatest, most emotional experience of my life. I could not get over how much I totally and utterly loved her and thought it wasn’t possible to love her any more than I did in that moment.

But I was wrong. Again.

Because quite astonishingly the depth of my love for Elsie has somehow continued to grow even deeper. As she grows, so does my love.

It is weird, unfathomable and incredible but you know what?

I wouldn’t change it for the world. (And I promise you that’s not the sleep deprivation talking).

——–

Which mistakes have I missed out do you think? Are there any parenting mistakes you’ve made which you wish you hadn’t or indeed, are glad you did? Mums and dads, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.

With love,

Kate

Lips

 

 

 

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29 Discussions on
“THE 10 GREATEST PARENTING MISTAKES I’VE MADE TO DATE”
  • I love this post Katie – it’s absolutely spot on for me too :) No 2 and 5 especially. Second time around I feel much more confident in this – trusting my own instinct more and not being so easily influencing/criticised/’educated’ by other people – even if they meant well. They’re not mistakes that you’ve made though, they are just life lessons – you can look back now and see how you’ve grown as a mother, how you’re doing things your way and how much more confident you are now :) Mim @ http://www.mamamim.com

  • Oh darling, such a beautiful, honest post, I was nodding frantically along to it all because I’ve been there like you and wish I’d had this post to read particularly with my first when I felt lost, failing and alone at times. You are so right too-those words, ‘ a bad day doesn’t make for a bad parent’-you need to get that in an image and pin it baby. This is one of my most favourite posts of yours, it’s thanks to blogging so many of us don’t need to feel alone or that we’re failing, love this x

  • This is a beautiful post, and i remember Thinking that no child of mine would be left to tantrum in public (oh how wrong would I be proven) that I’d encourage sleeping on their own from birth (nope fed to sleep for a loooooong time! ) that I wouldn’t give into demands (oops pregnant and tantrumming because j won’t share my biscuit, I’d rather give in!!!

    But your actual 10 points are very true and very real. parents need to give themselves a break. We need to trust our instincts. We need to remember we don’t have to be supermum every second of every day… that our child will love us regardless of our faults.

    And I try to remember that every night as I sneak into his room to watch him sleep, that at the end of every day I have tried my best and its good enough xx

  • Spot on! I think we have all been there for every single one of them. I still need to get to grips with me time, I get very little me time. I think they are all lessons we need to learn as a new parent though as it makes us better at it in the long run.
    It is bloody tough this parenting malarkey but it’s tough for all of us and as you said so perfectly, a bad parenting day doesn’t make a bad parent.

    Xx

  • This is fabulous, Kate. I have made lots of mistakes as a parent, and being a good parents means you make mistakes, recognise them and move on.

    Jess from Wry Mummy blogged about the precedents, they are my worst mistake! Letting them sit in the front of the car, letting them stay up at the weekend to watch films, using the iPad as an incentive … However, we try to strike the balance, and seeing them achieve and be happy kids is all you can ask for.

    #thelist

  • Spot on, Katie. I really wish that someone had reassured us beforehand that, behind all the perfect Facebook and Instragram updates, everyone else struggles and makes mistakes too. It seems so obvious, but it’s so easy to forget and to end up beating yourself up for just being normal.

    The ‘me’ time thing is critical too. So often as parents we struggle to find even ‘us’ time, but me-time is also important. Blogging’s my me-time, my wife’s is having evenings out with local friends and fellow mums. People who don’t know call sometimes ask if that’s being selfish, to which my response has always been that it’s even more important than it is pre-kids, because it’s that little window where you get to blow off steam and recharge your batteries ready for the demands of the rest of the week.

  • A great post, lovely. I can only agree with all what you have said. Shame we do not know these things before we have our little angels. The second time round is very different, I promise, much easier as you know what’s coming! On the other hands having one or two littleis is another story too! love x

  • Just wanted to stop by and say such a great post – found via The List. I related to all of the points but especially point 3 – I had a really specific walk and jiggle that could settle my little girl and I honestly believed on-one else was capable of doing it properly! Also the final point almost made me cry (I am a bit sleep deprived!) My first is now 2.5 and my little boy 8 months – I had no idea it was possible to have enough space to love both of them so much.

    • Ah thank you Rachel! Really appreciate you popping by to say hello and for your super comment.Sorry to make you cry! Hope you’ve managed to get some decent sleep since. xx

  • I love this Kate, so honest and so real for every parent. I know what you mean about sleep deprivation, blimey, it’s a killer! One thing that got me, was that when I was pregnant for a second time, I was so unbelievably worried that I wouldn’t love that child as much as my son. In some ways it ruined my pregnancy because it was in the back of mind for 9 months. But low and behold, as soon as she was in my arms, my love doubled. Love can grow. Infinitely. xx #SundayStars

  • What a really lovely post and I think we can probably all relate to this?? I think sleep deprivation is in a league of it’s own though and can make you feel quite mad at times. Lovely read. Emily x

  • Love how honest this post is and been written brilliantly. I think biggest mistake I’ve made is beating myself up for things that happen and routines our LO has gotten into that in my head means I’ve failed. Most nights we end up co-sleeping in the early hours so I’ve blamed myself for Georgia not sleeping through or being able to settle herself, she’s also become a very fussy eater (a phase I know a lot of little ones go through) but I instinctively took it as my fault. End of day I know I do the best I can but its sometimes hard not to think should have done things better or differently. x

    • It sure is. Mums are under so much pressure but we have to do what works for us and know that this is ok. Hard I know but it does get easier I find. And you’re right, if you go to bed knowing you’ve done the best you can, you’re doing brilliantly! x

  • What a lovely post. I have made many mistakes in the last 18 months but Elsa is happy so I must be doing something right. The big one for me was listening to what other people told me too much. I didn’t want her to have a dummy because everyone told me it was bad, same for a bottle instead of breastfeeding. This meant we had several days of screaming until I realised that she needed a dummy and then she was quite happy. I also tired myself out expressing milk when she wouldn’t latch on and as a result I was grumpy and exhausted and not in a good place. When I finally gave up and switched to formula it made everyone a lot happier. I felt guilty but you have to do what suits you and your child. Now, 18 months on, Elsa won’t sleep through the night so every night at around 1am she comes into my bed. Nothing else works and I’m past caring what other people tell me about it now. It means she gets the sleep she needs and that’s all I want.

    • So glad you’ve found what works for you Charlotte and are no longer feeling the pressure to listen to others and do what they do! Turning that corner is key to being happier as a Mum I feel! x

  • Great post, I agree with all of these! I have been especially guilty of number five on more than one occasion, especially when my oldest kids were babies, although the more children you have the more you learn to trust yourself. Thanks for linking up with #SundayStars

  • Well now, ain’t that the truth?! I remember all too well my pre-baby days when I would mentally note all the things that of course I wouldn’t do with my own children, but I could probably sit here now and tick them all off on my fingers easily! Hindsight is 20/20 of course but you’re so right that you can’t ‘know it’ until you’re ‘in it’. A big thumbs up to all of these from me, especially the one about celebrating yourself for being YOU as well as being a MUMMY – so important. Fabulous post as always gorg xx

  • Absolutely fantastic post! You’ve hit the nail on the head here again and again …I was expecting random parent mishaps here, but your post is everything but! It’s deep, personal and incredibly important …I’ll definitely be sending some social media love your way ;-)

    #BrilliantBlogPosts

  • All so very, very true! I was that person who said I wouldn’t do certain things pre baby, that I now do – and do you know what, it doesn’t matter! I also feared I wasn’t good enough before I had my baby but I think I’m doing okay :) we do give ourselves a hard time when we really don’t need to x

    • We do indeed. Natural I guess too, but always good to have a reminder that we should be kinder to ourselves. x

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