The 15 Reasons why you’re NOT a Bad Parent

When the idea for this blog originally popped into my brain- I had fully intended on ACTUALLY making a list… Okay, that’s a lie. I never intended on making a list of the 15 reasons why you’re not a bad parent. Nope, not once.
Now, before you get pissed and swear to hunt me down and stick a spork in my ass- let me explain. It’s the least I can do for luring you here under false pretenses.

Throughout the year, time and time again, there are these blogs that go viral. Everyone and their mother and their weird aunt Sally (sorry to anyone named Sally who reads this, it just felt right to type) latches on to it and shares it and suddenly it’s ALL you see anywhere you go. Then you read it, and perhaps you feel the need to share it too- because it touches something inside of you that makes you think “I feel better now… I bet this will make others feel better too.” It’s a sweet thought, to want to make others day a little bit brighter by sharing with them something that did the same for you- and the internet makes that all the more easy.

These blogs, or articles- whatever you want to call them- are lists. We all love a good list. It’s short, it’s sweet, it’s to the point. There’s that one that blew the hell up about people having a worse day than you that made you feel like your shitty day wasn’t all that shitty after all. There was the one about stories from throughout the year that prove there is still good left in this world- which came at just the right horrible time in our history and helped us not to lose hope in humanity. There are even lists of the top fails, the top videos, the top funny photos. There’s a list for just about everything out there. Pop into Google “The Top 15 reasons” and hit enter- even worse, try “Top 10”- enjoy the rest of your week!
Hell, even I have about a dozen blogs that are made up of lists of random things.

Why? I figure it’s because there is something in each one of those lists that appeals to every one of us. There’s something in us that is always seeking out ways to feel better about the world, or our lives, or any dark crevice of humanity that otherwise just doesn’t make sense. As humans, we want to see the good in people. We want to live life to the fullest and be HAPPY- and fill our lives with love and laughter. The mundane ins and outs of every day life and especially the 5 o’clock news can really bog all of that down- and these lists that shine a little light on exactly what we’re feeling (even if we didn’t know it) make us FEEL good. And who doesn’t want to feel good?

So then we come to this blog. Why on earth would I title it “The 15 Reasons why you’re NOT a Bad Parent”– and not follow through with a list of those reasons?
The reason is pretty simple- and it’s not because I’m an evil horrible person who wanted to bring you here and let you down. It’s because you don’t need me to tell you why you’re not a bad parent. You might think you do, but you don’t.
You are. And you need to know that, from yourself- not from me. Not from some stupid list on the internet that cherry picks some news stories that shows you how terrible everyone else is, and since you are not even close to that terrible- POOF, you suddenly realize you aren’t so bad after all.

Being a parent is NOT an easy job, and that’s putting it mildly. Every day we face choices, some of which if we choose the “wrong” choice can have some pretty ugly consequences- from a diaper blowout to mass amounts of spitup to a temper tantrum or even the dreaded (in the fairer sex’s case) Mommy Guilt. Every day there are questions over whether or not you’re doing the right thing, raising your child the right way, if what you’re doing is really the “best”- what is RIGHT? What is the “best”, anyway?

I know what it’s like on the bad days, or the days where you say to yourself “I’m definitely not winning the Parent of the Year award after THAT”– to seek validation. SOMEONE to tell you that you’re doing the right thing, that you’re not a total fuck-up and your kids aren’t going to grow up to hate you or be monsters or any other of the gazillion worries we have throughout the course of every week- sometimes even every day. All that wondering and worrying can lead to panic and anxiety and it’s natural to seek someone else to confirm because otherwise, you’re left out in the open- alone.

It took me a VERY long time, and even some very ugly situations where my validation seeking resulted in disagreements and strangers calling me a “terrible parent”- and then watching as life proved them all wrong to really understand that what I needed more than validation- more than another person telling me I was right- more than a list on the internet to make me feel better about myself- was for ME to believe in myself.

I had to accept that as a parent, the caretaker for two little boys (and it did take me 2 to figure it out)- there were and are going to be days where I was going to get everything wrong. I was going to make mistakes. My kids were going to misbehave and be downright horrendous to me. I had to be okay with fucking up- A LOT- and with trusting my gut to make decisions for my children that others might not agree with but it didn’t matter- because they are MY kids, and I love them with my whole heart and therefore know I will always do what I think and feel is the best for them… even if that turns out to be wrong- it came from a place of love.

You don’t need me, or a list- you need YOU. And to really truly believe in you. I know it’s hard- and some days it doesn’t even seem possible- but as long as you have love for your children and trust in your own abilities- you won’t ever be a “bad parent”– even on the really bad days.

Posted on December 27, 2012 by Holdin' Holden 10 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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  • I can’t begin to describe how much I love you! I’m working on baby #4, and I’m all about your blog and book!!You give moms( all moms, even seasoned moms like me) hope and faith and you remind us all we’re damn good people, even when we think we aren’t. Above all, we’re normal, in our own weird ways. <--- Love that contradiction only a mom would get, no? =}

  • Love this! You are so right, we all need to believe in ourselves, as parents, not rely on everyone else and their mothers to tell us we’re good parents. 🙂

  • Thanks! I love this! My son is only 8 months old, but I constantly worry if I am doing it right! I feel like others are walking, waving, etc and he isn’t so I must be doing something wrong, then I get told that he will when he is ready! It is very hard, but then I see women addicted to drugs who ignore their kids and I think I must be doing something right because we are happy!!

  • Thank you…i think your list is perfect the way it is:)

  • Well put! There are days I wonder if I’m doing things right. My 9yr old is having issues with not getting his work done at school and I’ve tried everything. He is ADHD and I’m at my wits end. Is it my fault? Or what? My children are not perfect. They run in stores they don’t listen But I know that I love them more than life itself and that I’m doing my best to raise them and keep them safe. 🙂 Thank you for this blog! Love it!

  • Jennifer Valdez, your son will be ok, if you just keep the faith and believe you’re doing everything you can. My son was (is?) severely ADHD, and had a horrible time getting his work turned in.I felt EXACTLY the way you did.
    But he graduated from HS, he’s now 31 with a well paying job he worked hard to earn. He’s a smart, witty and CHARMING man who can do anything he wants to accomplish.
    Jennifer, it’s not your fault, have faith. Just keep doing what you’re doing, you WILL all get thru it.

  • I have 6 children living in my home. 3 of them are mine and 3 of them are my step children. It was a hard transition for the step kids when they came to live with us in June 2012. Let alone for myself that has everything doubled by the click of our fingers. There are days that I just don’t think I could move on. Thinking that I am the bad parent because I just want to relax for just a minute. But reading your blog has made me realize that I am not a bad parent. I may yell and scream at times but by no means do I beat on my kids like some pics that I see on facebook. Also, my house may not be the cleanest but it is lived in and these children are in a better place by being with us. My house is what I call ‘lived in’. It is not filthy but it is not spotless either. I honestly was thinking that this was going to be a list of ways for me to better myself and after reading it I like your ‘list’ just the way you have put it. Thank you

  • Oh I love you!! I needed to read this so badly! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Amber I was on your boat than we added another child
    .I use to think the house had to be spotless but realized with 7 kids it never was going to stay spotless and lived in was ok..plus I watched hoarders hehe. mine are grown up now except 2. and my house is still not spotless. now I have grand babies. it will always going to look lived in. spotless is for people with ocd..lived in is a house full of love.

  • I wish more parents would get this. You’re all doing the best job that you can do. Some days are better than others. Some days are utter fails. Right now I’m shaking my head at the utter pigsty that is my house after Christmas with 5 kids in it.

    But it doesn’t matter. Remember your kids love you regardless.