Mom Confessional: I'm Not a Perfect Mom, and That's OK

Mom Confessional: I'm Not a Perfect Mom, and That's OK

Parenthood is full of mistakes —here’s one mom’s account of her latest mishap.

By: Meredith Porretta

For some unthinkable reason, many people place a huge amount of pressure on themselves to be a perfect parent — or a parent that's as close to perfect as possible. This is mind-boggling. There may be nothing in life as completely fraught with mistakes and missteps as parenthood. It is the hardest job in the world, and it's one that you've taken on for the long haul, so there’s lots of room for missteps in the quest for perfection.

One of these “missteps” occurred to me recently, and it was particularly horrifying.

My daughter lost a tooth. Her tiny little tooth looked like a wee little chip from a perfectly white porcelain plate. Her excitement over this event was delightfully effervescent: She proudly toted her tooth around the house, announcing this accomplishment to anyone who would listen. And in fact, that day, there were plenty of people to tell, as we were having a small party. This is something we are rarely able to do, but was overdue, because, yes, parents do enjoy speaking with other adult human beings on occasion.

About two hours later than usual, I put her to bed. Bedtime was delayed because I was busy — busy catching up with friends. We placed the baggie with the tooth inside under her pillow, and as I left the room I promised myself to remind my husband to play tooth fairy, since he was the one with cash in his wallet that night.

Then we continued to have a lovely and spirited evening with our nearest and dearest.

Fast forward to 5 a.m. — I am completely unconscious when a very disappointed, disillusioned blond, green-eyed cherub bursts into my bedroom, exclaiming in a voice filled with complete and utter misery that the tooth fairy did not come! I had never experienced that kind of all-consuming parental shame and panic I felt at that moment. I turned my head to my husband, eyes like saucers and mouthed, “We forgot!”


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I was literally trembling. How could I have possibly let my daughter down like that? And to make it worse, I forgot because I was selfishly having a party with friends and staying up too late.

I thought I was the worst parent in the world.

Mercifully, we were able to think on our toes and explain that it's only 5 o’clock in the morning, and the tooth fairy has so many children to visit that she just hasn't arrived yet. We were able to convince her to put her little tooth back under her pillow and wait a while. And then — to her amazement — when she woke again at 7 a.m., the tooth fairy had in fact stopped by!


So, there you have it: As much as I've tried, I've been unsuccessful at achieving perfection as a parent, and I’ve come to understand that I will continue to have missteps like this one. It’s important to remember that children are quite resilient and can be forgiving if you give them the right reasons (leading by example helps, e.g., forgiving yourself and others).

These types of mistakes help them understand that no one is perfect. All we can do is simply our best, and not beat ourselves up when we have those inevitable slipups.

Meredith is a mother of two, blogger for Yin Mom, Yang Mom, Etsy shop owner and freelance graphic/web designer. She resides in New England and enjoys photography, knitting, meditation, drawing and writing snarky commentary.

Read all the pieces of our on-going series of Mom Confessionals.

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