Moms Share Their Biggest Parenting Fails Because We All Make Mistakes

Jess Richardson | Jul 31, 2019 Being a Mom
Moms Share Their Biggest Parenting Fails Because We All Make Mistakes
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Moms Share Their Biggest Parenting Fails Because We All Make Mistakes

When we asked real moms from around the country to share their biggest parenting mistakes, we could feel the cringe -- and the sense of total relief as women heard each other's experiences and totally related to them. We don't know how many moms said they had done #1 on this list, but it was at least a dozen, and they all felt horrible and like they were the only ones -- and that makes sense, because moms have it tough. Not to make it all about gender, but when a dad in the grocery store deals with a crying baby, people tend to look over and smile, like he's being such a good dad for parenting his kid. But when a mom in the store has the same experience, she does not get the same reaction -- instead, people tend to look at her and judge her performance as a mother, wondering why her kid is crying like that. (Uh, dunno ... because babies just cry sometimes?) 

Fortunately, we're not alone in the shared experience of motherhood, as much as it sometimes feels that way. Some moms have been extremely brave about coming forward about some of the difficulties and judgments they face. For instance, we were genuinely inspired by celebrity moms sharing their postpartum depression battles. It really means a lot when people choose to leverage their status by sharing that this has happened to them because it helps normalize an issue that is very common and needs to be destigmatized. But it's not just meaningful when celebrities share moments that might be difficult. For instance, check out moms who 'came out' to their children. That's a potentially stressful moment, especially for anyone living in a more conservative area, and we're grateful these women chose to share their experiences. Of course, we love moms revealing the most mortifying thing that happened when they were pregnant and real moms sharing the parts of birth no one warned them about. Most moms can relate to the vast majority of these. 

  • That Time I Drove With My Kid In the Backseat Without Buckling Him in

    That Time I Drove With My Kid In The Backseat Without Buckling Him In

    "We have one of those car seats that comes out of the car with us ... one time, I took my son into the Target with me in his carseat, and of course unbuckled him while we were in there ... but then when I put him back in the car, I snapped the seat back, but totally forgot to buckle him back in. A few blocks later, I thought, 'Wait ... something's not quite right ...' and had to pull over. Nothing happened, but I was so shaken and felt like a terrible mom." -- Nicole L, Beaverton, Oregon

  • Oh, I Definitely Dropped My Kid

    Oh, I Definitely Dropped My Kid

    "I dropped my three-month-old the other day. I was holding her, accidentally fell asleep, and dropped her flat on her face. I still feel awful, and I started to cry in the doctor's office when I took her to get checked out (all was fine, she barely even cried, and the doctor told me it happens)." -- Tanya H, Las Vegas

  • Not Baby Proofing the Wine Bottles

    Not Baby Proofing The Wine Bottles

    "We didn't do a whole baby-proofing deal ... instead, we've been baby-proofing as needed, by age and also by interest. We have a stack of wine bottles at exactly his height, and he tried to pull one once ... we should probably go ahead and fix that soon, huh?" -- Tori L, Rye, New York

  • Forgetting To Supervise for a While

    Forgetting To Supervise For A While

    "When my son was not quite 4, we were at a friends’ house. We thought he was up in the (baby-proofed) playroom. After going to check on him and finding that he wasn’t there, we panicked and started looking everywhere. Finally, we found him ... sitting on top of my husband’s car. It was pretty terrifying..." -- Shawndra G, Atlanta

  • Letting a Murderous Little Tiger Live With Our Kid

    Letting A Murderous Little Tiger Live With Our Kid

    "In retrospect, we could have put our cat with my parents for a while. I mean, we did everything right: we sent home a blanket and a hat that smelled like him, so she could get used to it. But whenever she was in the room with him, she was definitely pissed, and she would hiss to him every time she got close to him. We just never left him unsupervised for even a minute around her, but ... I think after seeing other people with babies, they can just put your baby down on the floor and go do something? We never could because of the cat. It made having a newborn harder, and was maybe an unnecessary risk." -- Danielle L, Bethesda, Maryland

  • Even Trying To Keep the Kid Warm Can Be a Mistake

    Even Trying To Keep The Kid Warm Can Be A Mistake

    "My daughter was a few weeks old and we were out walking with a friend. I thought having the light muslin blanket over her to keep the sun off was what we were supposed to do. Instead, she just way overheated. When I got her back inside, she looked beet red and I had to take her to the doctor." -- Abby R, Rutland, Vermont

  • Using Maxi Pads in My Bra

    Using Maxi Pads In My Bra

    "Well, there was that time I severely underestimated how much milk I could produce and ran out of nursing pads, so I rocked two maxi pads stuck to the inside of my bra. They're super soft, btw." -- Haley T, Concord, North Carolina

  • Losing My Kid at the Zoo

    Losing My Kid At The Zoo

    "My worst fail, no question, was losing my kid at the zoo. We were in a crowded play area and I lost sight of him for like 60 seconds. I fully panicked -- it ended well in the end, but yeah, that was a huge, huge fail." -- Melody P, Houston, Texas

  • That Time I Burned My Baby by Accident

    That Time I Burned My Baby By Accident

    "Oh, I got a 2nd degree burn on my 3 month old. I was carrying him in one arm and a cup of just-poured tea in my other hand. I thought it was far enough away from him, but I turned my body to avoid hitting his head on a door jam, and as I walked through it, I ran the hand that was holding the tea into the wall, and the tea splashed back on to his knee. It was the worst night of my life, but he was fine. Baby skin is a miracle. I’ll never fully forgive myself though. But we’re so lucky he had cotton clothes on to absorb some of it, and that it didn’t hit his face or anything. I find humor in lots of dark places, but not this one." -- Brooke M, Riverside, California

  • That Time Pushing for Independence Really Backfired

    That Time Pushing For Independence Really Backfired

    "Not a total fail, but something I always cringe about even 1.5 years later. I’m big on teaching my daughter autonomy and independence, so when she asked me to get a book down from her bookshelf, I suggested she instead push her stool over to the shelf so she could be tall enough to reach the book. She did, and wound up falling off the stool and bumping her head." -- Jessica H, Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Accidentally Slamming the Car Door Shut on My Kid's Hand

    Accidentally Slamming The Car Door Shut On My Kid's Hand

    "My kid was spiking a fever -- it was high, about 103 -- and I flipped out. I started to panic, and I grabbed everything I could need: my purse, a baby bag, the baby, and I shoved the car door closed. It was in that moment I realized I'd closed the door on my daughter's hand because I was so frantic and so desperate. I got to the pediatrician -- I'm crying, my kid is crying, and Dr. Thompson -- who was like 102 at that point -- examined her so thoroughly. And she explained that baby's bones are really soft, and that my daughter was fine. And that spiking a fever is not the end of the world, and it happens. But I learned to not panic the next time there was a problem." -- Chandra H, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  • That Time Our Kid Could Tell We'd Had, Ahem, Grown-Up Time

    That Time Our Kid Could Tell We'd Had, Ahem, Grown-Up Time

    "My husband and I love strawberry-scented anything. We have strawberry-scented candles, Chap-Stick, whatever ... one night, I used a new strawberry-scented lube with my husband for some, um, adult time together. The next morning, our son, who is six, came into the room and said, 'Wow, the Chap-Stick really smells in here!' We could have died."  -- Sara N, Arlington, Texas

  • When I Couldn't Stop Laughing at My Kid's Curse Words

    When I Couldn't Stop Laughing At My Kid's Curse Words

    "Look, I know I'm not supposed to laugh when my kid curses because it's embarrassing and because it'll just encourage him. But he catches me off guard sometimes! I can't help it, it's involuntary. He said, 'Oh, sh*t!' in the grocery when I dropped a loaf of bread yesterday and everyone looked at us and I just busted out laughing." -- Cindy L, Boise

  • That Time I Gave My Kid a DIY Haircut

    That Time I Gave My Kid A DIY Haircut

    "Let it be said, I'm not exactly cheap, but I'm ... OK, I'm pretty cheap. I figured that cutting a kid's hair really couldn't be that difficult -- I thought, 'What, it's not like every salon worker I've ever met has been a genius' -- and so I decided to do it myself. Big. Mistake. It was so uneven and ridiculous-looking, I had to go get it totally fixed for me. Yes, not everyone who works in a salon may be a rocket scientist, but they're way smarter than I am cutting hair, I can tell you that." -- Prithi S, Queens, New York

  • That Time My Kid Outsmarted the Baby Gate and Back Door Lock in One Go

    That Time My Kid Outsmarted The Baby Gate And Back Door Lock In One Go

    "The other day, my toddler decided to just follow me out of the house as I went to the store down the street. My husband was home on the couch, but wasn't paying a ton of attention since there's a baby gate. I came back to the house 20 minutes later to find my husband completely freaking out and to find that our son had both figured out how to unlock the baby gate and the back door and went out into our backyard completely on his own. How did he learn both in the same five-minute period?!" -- Alejandra R, Ludington, Michigan

  • That Time I Definitely Party Fouled on My Kid


    "Once at an outdoor concert -- the kid had the correct protective ear coverings on, no worries -- I was holding my baby and drinking a beer... then I spilled some beer on his head. I wasn't even tipsy (it was my first and last beer that day), but I've never been exactly graceful. I wiped him down with wipes, but definitely got some looks from other people. Fortunately, my husband thought it was hilarious." -- Alexis R, Spartanburg, South Carolina

  • I Forgot the Taps in Our Bathtub Are Funny

    I Forgot The Taps In Our Bathtub Are Funny

    "Once, I thought my daughter just didn't want to take a bath and was being difficult. She kept saying she wouldn't get into the bathwater because it was too hot. I kept adding water from the cold tap and she wouldn't get in and wouldn't get in, and I was distracted with a work problem and wasn't really paying attention, but didn't understand her problem and told her to just get in the bath. Finally my kid -- at age six -- had to remind me that our 'hot' tap actually runs cold, and vice versa. I dipped my hand in and it was definitely way too hot, and I'd been treating my kid like she was being so annoying for just protecting herself. Ugh. I still feel ashamed." -- Amber H, Mauldin, South Carolina

  • I Poked My Kid in the Eye by Accident

    I Poked My Kid In The Eye By Accident

    "I was buckling my son into his carseat the other day, my hand slipped, and I poked him right in the eye. Obviously, I felt awful, but what's even worse is that he remembers it so well. Every time we've gotten in the car since, he says, "Remember, mommy, be careful! No eye!" -- Tina A, Rapid City, South Dakota

  • That Time I Yelled at My Kid for Basically no Reason

    That Time I Yelled At My Kid For Basically No Reason

    "I was exhausted, and my daughter just would not get to sleep no matter what I tried, and I ended up yelling at her. I felt awful immediately after. I feel awful now. But it definitely happened -- and a few other moms have told me they've done the same thing, too." -- Brianna H, Reston, Virginia

  • That Time My Kid Found My Vibrator

    That Time My Kid Found My Vibrator

    "My daughter found my vibrator. Not just any vibrator, but one of those shiny purple glitter ones made of silicone. Like of course she's fascinated by it, waving it at me, touching it, asking me what it is ... I have no memory at all of what I actually said because it was all too embarrassing, but we know not to open mommy's drawers anymore (and mommy knows to keep her vibes in the top of the closet)." -- Sarah H., Atlanta, GA

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