Sorry, but it's highly likely you are a crap parent.
It's true. It most likely started during your pregnancy but in the interests of time let's just start at the birth of your child. I hear you didn't do it right, that is unless you went out behind a tree and birthed by yourself in a forest devoid of any pollution so that your baby entered a world of peace and cleanliness without INTERVENTION from anyone who THINKS they know what is best for you.
You see, women have been birthing babies forever and they never needed any help before, shame on you. Let us not be swayed by those other facts, you know, the ones that indicate women forced to birth without assistance or invention actually die way too often. The WHO report gives a 15 year old female in sub-Saharan Africa a 1 in 40 chance of dying during childbirth in her lifetime, but still, you could have probably done better at the birth of your baby.
After birth, you probably did any number of the following awful things risking your baby's future. Co-slept, fed to sleep, used a dummy, used a bottle, drove around in the car to get your baby to sleep, had a glass of wine and then breastfed, had a glass of wine and then bottle fed. Allowed your child under 2 to watch TV, had a Grandma who put food on a dummy, swaddled for too long, swaddled the hips too tight. Used a cot bumper (actually that is crap parenting), used a baby bath seat, turned your car seat too early, used a bassinet for too long.
Perhaps at some stage, you also decided to go back to work. OMFG!
If you didn't go back to work, well, bigger fool you because your children are now stuffed, the research says the children of mothers in the paid work force are all better off.
But maybe you stayed home and made home made lunches and cakes and protein balls and your child's lunch box never ever saw a piece of processed food. Plus, the rest of society kind of relies on your unpaid hours to keep the rest of us afloat. Imagine our community with no parents at home at all, that would be rather shite.
Everyone knows that one in five children are now obese and this is a really bad state of affairs, one that really, can probably be blamed on mums who are low on time and using processed foods. Hang your head in shame you working mothers, who cares that your kid might be better off with you working, you have still failed! I bet you even allowed LCM bars and tiny teddies in the house, probably even blamed the kids, saying that somedays that is all they will eat!
Some of you may have cried when you 'had' to leave your kids at crèche. The guilt was the sign that you are clearly a crap parent, totally unworthy of such fabulous children. Then again, research shows that kids in crèche have more books read to them and get exposed to more social interactions than those at home having babycino's with Mum, supposedly doing all the craft activities on Pinterest to help with fine motor skills, but really just playing iPad.
Perhaps you didn't take your child to swimming lessons and now they will only be average at school, becausekids who do swim lessons before age five are better at language, numeracy and literacy skills (apparently). It could be you missed music and mummy classes so now your kid is never going to be able to be good at maths.
I have listened to people sighing and ohhing over the desperately sad idea of children going out for dinner and using iDevices at the table. Boo hoo, what will become of the children? Clearly those kids have crap parents. The same sighing people will then rave about a new educational app that your child just must have, it will save them from falling below average. You see, the trick is to never let anyone see your child using the iDevice, only crap parents allow that to happen. Again, that's probably you, failing at this parenting gig again.
And how are your school lunch box skills? Have you mastered the piece of art that your child deserves to receive each day? Are your wholegrain organic spelt sandwiches cut into dinosaurs? You do know that the option of triangles or squares is just not enough mental stimulation for young growing minds. No wonder your child isn't eating their lunch if you are providing them a piece of fruit, it's your job to get out those cookie cutters and be original. Excite your child at every opportunity. Anything less is just another sticker on your crap parenting chart.
Raise your hand if your child has never ever tasted fairy bread. Now, those of you with a raised hand, you are a crap parent. Every child has the right to experience the joy of fairy bread.
Now let's get serious. Schools. If you are at a private primary school, well that is a total waste of money that you could be spending on your child in better ways, just proving again you are likely a crap parent. (Don't read too far into the research as you my find it slightly skewed).
As for high school, well if you didn't enrol young Bernie on to the waiting list before they were six weeks old, you get another crap parent sticker. What hope does Bernie have if you can't even get the forms in on time? If you have a flicker of hope it will be that you are living in the postage stamp sized boundary of the select entry school.
There are other ways to confirm your crap parenting levels too. Have you ever:
Raised your voice in anger at your child?
Sighed loudly when they needed to go to the toilet just as you and your weeks worth of groceries got to the check out?
Been too lazy to cook dinner and used the Macca's drive through?
Used a babysitter who did not have a police check and CPR certificates?
Sent the kids to bed in the clothes they fell asleep in, without cleaning their teeth?
Missed going to the dentist?
Thought a runny nose was a virus, which became an ear infection in the middle of the night?
Missed library day at school (two weeks in a row)?
Missed an assembly when your kid got student of the week?
Have failed to take your children for a cultural diversity trip overseas? (Bali does not count)
Have failed to take your children camping, outside of a caravan park?
Don't have a pet?
You don't have to admit it out loud, and I am sorry to be the one to highlight your failings to you, but as you can see, chances are you are a crap parent.
There is a way to fully redeem yourself and protect your child from your parenting fails.
Just love your child with all your might and protect them from harm at all times.
Hug them, cuddle them, laugh with them, talk to them, listen to them. Keep them warm and snug, and feed them the best you can. Read books together, take selfies together. Sing badly in the car and share TicTacs when you get petrol.
In ten years your baby won't care that you had an epidural or you missed music classes.
Just love your kids.
Don't hit them.
Don't let anyone else hit them.
Do stuff together.
The rest is all gonna be ok.
This was first published on Claire's blog and is republished with permission.