9 Ways I'm Definitely Screwing My Kid Up For Life


Parenting isn't a black and white job, it's full of tough decisions and difficult choices. Even knowing this, a ton of parents firmly believe that their way is the "right" way, and anyone who falls outside of those bounds is a hot ass mess. I am a firm believer in the right of every parent to get through the trenches in the best ways they know how, so rather than hiding my so-called parenting flaws, I'm owning them. In public. Here are all the ways society would definitely say I'm totally screwing my kid up for life.

  • 1) I rely too much on screen time.

    For some reason completely unknown to me, my kid ardently refuses to watch movies or TV shows. He will, though, keep his attention glued to a mobile phone or video game for hours -- so I let him. As shameful as it is to admit, I rely on his love of video games to keep him occupied when I need to get work done, cook dinner, or even have an adult conversation without a wily 2-year-old butting in every 3 seconds. Unfortunately, my "lazy" little parenting hack is generally not recommended by the experts and could end up with him resenting me for not spending every waking hour of his childhood entertaining him, or so people say. But I'm pretty sure I'm not the only mom who does this.

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  • 2) My kid goes to bed way too late.

    I'm the first to admit that we are a "late" family. My partner and I do chores late, cook dinner late, and go to bed late. And since our kid isn't in school or daycare yet, he is no exception. Most nights, it's nearing 11 pm before we get him down to bed, and his sitter has usually been in the house for about an hour before he wakes up. I'm pretty sure this lack of structure is going to bite both of us in the ass someday. But for now, it's working for us.

  • 3) I probably won't "give" him a sibling.

    I don't have any plans to have another baby, so unless something major happens to completely change my mind, my kid will probably be an only child. While I've always viewed only children as being pretty lucky in many regards, a lot of people view my decision as selfish. Apparently, if my son doesn't have any siblings, he'll be a sad, lonely little hermit who will grow to hate me for subjecting him to a life without companionship. Looks like I'm taking that chance!

  • 4) I'm not strict about food.

    It's not like we're eating pizza topped with Cheetos for dinner every night. My child always gets his daily dose of fruits and veggies and we very rarely order takeout. Still, I have no interest in forcing myself or my kid to eat nothing but bean sprouts and green juice. We definitely have potato chips in our pantry, he loves Honey Nut Cheerios, and we enjoy a chocolate chip cookie (or two) from time to time. Surely, this level of childhood debauchery is going to lead him down a path of constant health problems later in life, right??! Meh.

  • 5) Playdates are few and far between.

    I admit it: I hate playdates. I'm sure I'll give in as my son gets older and actually starts requesting to hang out with friends. For now, though, they suck and I try to avoid them as much as possible. My son gets plenty of time with other kids through weekly activities, his cousins, and neighborhood friends. I know lots of people are sure that not allowing him and some other toddler to run amok in my house every single Saturday from 12-3 is going to mess up his psyche in some way or another, but so be it. So far, he seems just fine to me.

  • 6) I fail at being creative.

    You know that mom who can churn out perfect Pinterest crafts with ease and who decorates birthday cakes better than Martha Stewart? Yeah, that's totally not me. I can barely draw a stick figure without screwing things up. Essentially, that means no homemade Halloween costumes, no beautiful hand-drawn murals on his bedroom walls, and as little family crafting time as I can get away with. My son's growing artistic spirit is probably being crushed under the weight of my inability to crochet the kid a doll that looks like him. Actually, probably not.

  • 7) He doesn't have the "perfect" family.

    Married parents, siblings, a lovable little dog, and sweet, gentle grandparents. My kid has pretty much none of the makings of a "perfect" family. Instead of an exact replica of the Cleavers, he's going to grow up with a mom who curses a little too much, a dad who's allergic to most animals, and four grandparents who are just as hilariously messy as he is. 

    Even though he's got a crazy amount of people in his life who love him to death, I'm sure some people think the fact that we often eat dinner on the couch instead quietly around a beautifully decorated dining room table probably means danger for his future. But, it doesn't.

  • 8) I don't ALWAYS put my kid first.

    While I always make sure my son has everything he needs, I definitely don't always put him first. Sometimes I know he wants to go to the park on a day when it'll be particularly crowded but I don't take him because my anxiety just can't handle it. Sometimes, he has a tummy ache but I leave him with the sitter and go to work anyway. Maybe that makes me a bad mom. Maybe he'll turn to a life of crime because I leave him with grandma for date night every Tuesday instead of bringing him along. Or maybe this is just reality, and we should give parents a break.

  • 9) I have no idea what I'm doing.

    No, seriously. I have no idea. Pretty much everything I do is some variation of "winging it." Even with all the parenting books and all of the advice, I still get pretty lost sometimes. 

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    Fortunately, I've come to realize that everyone else is pretty much in the exact same boat, even if they don't want to admit it. And that's perfectly okay. It doesn't matter if we're too busy to put handwritten notes in our kids' lunchboxes every day or we let them stay up way too late. We're all just doing our best, and the only thing that really matters is how much love we have for our kids. 

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