20 Reasons why I am a terrible parent (according to the Internet)

Being a parent today means having access to a wealth of information to guide you toward raising your kids in the best possible way. In the “old” days our parents and grandparents maybe had a handful of books and an occasional newspaper advice column to turn to for help. Most of the time, people with kids were just making it up as they go, and didn’t live under constant fear of shame and ridicule. Or, at the very least, any shame they felt was limited to a close circle of friends and family.

Now, we have a whole Internet full of ideas on how to raise kids, and, more often than not, a contradictory list of all the ways you’re doing parenting wrong. You would be right to think we shouldn’t let our worth be determined by randos online, but, what can I say, those keyboard warriors have a weird power about them.

As much as I share about my motherhood experience, I do hold back, because I know many of the things I do as a parent would be met with ridicule and shame. My style is a mishmash of attachment, tiger, free-range and anything else you may think of. My parenting often changes with my mood or based on what I feel my kids’ need. I consider outside input, then do what I feel is best for my family.

No matter how I hard I try, I still feel shamed by parenting “advice” online, whether it is coming from an expert or just a bunch of moms in a Facebook group. I acknowledge that as a writer who focuses on parenting, I also contribute to this mess. I hope anyone who reads my stuff takes it with a very large grain of salt.

I think we need to laugh at how varied and disconnected parenting advice can be, so I made I list of all the things I have done or am doing wrong as a parent.

  1. I fed my children store bought baby food.
  2. I breastfed each of my children for longer than one year.
  3. I didn’t breastfeed each of my children for longer than three years.
  4. I gave my kids “regular” food at six months.
  5. I let my babies sleep in bed with me.
  6. I let my big kids sleep in bed with me.
  7. I yell at my kids.
  8. I don’t do “time outs.”
  9. I don’t bribe my kids to eat better, do homework, etc.
  10. I make my kids do their own laundry.
  11. I don’t make them unload the dishwasher.
  12. I hide from my kids when they bother me.
  13. I have criticized my kids.
  14. I have cursed in front of my children.
  15. I won’t let my kids stay up as late as they want.
  16. I let my kids watch almost anything on YouTube.
  17. I let my kids play outside unsupervised.
  18. I let my kids “do nothing” on Saturdays (and often other days).
  19. I lose my cool.
  20. I apologize to my kids for messing up.

I am sure I could come up with 20 more things I do wrong as a parent. I am even imagining people reading my list and coming up with a thousand negative responses. I have been that person. I hope this is read with a sense of humor, and you know that no matter what random strangers on the Internet tell you, you are doing a great job.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and worried you might be doing something or could do something harmful to yourself or your children, please seek help. You are not alone.

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