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Parenting: When Doing Your Best Is Never Enough

I saw a Facebook post once that really hit the nail on the head.

You’ll have to pardon the language, but I think you’ll get the point.

It basically said, “Parenting. One big fu*k you.”

On plenty of days since, I’ve thought of this sweet little quote. Because it couldn’t be more on-point. Especially on the toughest mothering days.

Like when I packed a special picnic lunch to take the boys to the park after preschool. And on the way there, a tantrum ensued over why we weren’t stopping at McDonald’s.

Or, when I got up early to make pancakes. And there were tears over a lack of bacon in the dish.

Or, when I brought Lunchables as a special reward after a morning of errands. And then, was nearly ticketed by a police officer for letting the boys sit in the car to eat them.

You know.

Those moments.

When you think you’re going to be Mom of the Year.

But instead, you end up being Captain A-Hole.

Sometimes, you just can’t win.

And then, it occurs to you. That parenthood might be the only job where doing your best is never enough.

I had similar sentiments yesterday, when I read a TIME article that said time-outs may be damaging to children.

The article questioned the effectiveness of alone time as a form of discipline, saying that the isolation of time-outs can be emotionally damaging to a child. In fact, in a brain scan, scientists said, time-outs look the same as physical abuse.


So, let me get this straight.

We can’t spank. We can’t yell. And now, we’re supposed to feel guilty about enforcing time-outs?

I’m sorry, but are any of these scientists and doctors also parents to toddlers?

Because, as an expert in this particular field, I can tell you this: If you don’t have some sort of discipline in a house full of mini-terrorists, you’re basically screwed.

Sometimes, as moms in our society, it feels like we’re told every way is wrong.

“Swaddling is best.” “But skin-to-skin contact is really the way to go.” “No, kids should cry it out.”

You just can’t win.

“You should wait until your child is ready to start potty-training.” “But, all kids should be potty-trained by 3 years old.” “Actually, a diaper at night is fine until age 6.”

You can’t win.

“You should have a home-cooked meal on the table every night, pick up your husband’s drycleaning and never miss a birthday. And despite the countless errands required to accomplish that, your toddlers must still be perfectly-behaved in public.”

Look, I get it.

Every kid is different. And a huge part of my message is that every mom is different too. We all do motherhood differently, and I truly believe that’s a beautiful thing.

So let’s just agree to disagree.

Science is going to find fault with everything we do.

But, as parents, we need to know this:

We’re trying our hardest to do what’s best for our kids.

And some days, that’s just surviving.