My Failures as a Mom. Now Let’s Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

Before I became a parent, I made serious vows. I vowed to never take my kids to McDonald’s, never feed them donuts for breakfast, and absolutely never let them sleep in my bed.

Wonder how that’s working for me?

Not good. I’ve broken all these vows. The mother I thought I’d become was different. Seriously, she was impressive. She was supposed to purΓ©e baby food using only organic ingredients. Wash and reuse cloth diapers . . .

Three kids later, I’m nowhere near the poster girl for parenthood. Today I’m coming clean. I want to share a small sampling of my failures. Here are five parenting fails in no particular order:

1. Co-sleeping- I’m a sucker when it comes to sleeping with my babies. I don’t believe in sleep training a newborn.

2. Withholding the Pacifier- Don’t give your baby a pacifier. It causes nipple confusion. I don’t buy it. If my baby cries, I’m popping a pacifier in his mouth.

3. The “Because I said so” trope- I cringed the first time I said these words aloud. But what was I supposed say? My son asked why he can’t continue flushing cheese down the toilet.

4. Regulating Cellphone Usage- I have no excuse for this one. I let my kids play with my iPhone during long car drives. I know, it’s foolish.

5. Banning Food Coloring- Red 40 is the most commonly used dye in kiddie food. Traces can be found in some of my favorite cereals.

Glad I got that out of the way. Now we can commiserate over a Happy Meal? I know some people think “McDonald’s is the work of the devil.” I think it’s a lifesaver for toddlers who are picky eaters.

Are you guilty of any parenting fails?Β 

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72 thoughts on “My Failures as a Mom. Now Let’s Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

    1. Sounds like these realities hit you hard, too. I remember the first time my “super mom” theory was blown. My baby girl wasn’t even home from the hospital 24 hours before I thought I failed her miserably.

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      1. I think it is the honesty of the topic that can make it so relatable for many. Any normal person who reads this will instantly relate regardless of if they want to or not.

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  1. I had my son when I was 20. I was to young to even think about how I was going to go about it. At least you had a plan! lol I learned how to parent from watching the Cosby Show. Now, would I change the way I did some things. Yes! I was too strict and too blunt. well, at least I was honest, I guess (shoulder shrug) lol

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    1. Shawn, my plan went out the window when I brought my first baby home from the hospital. It was terrifying! Like you, I’ve learned to give myself grace. No one is perfect, right?

      But, I gotta say, I thought the Cosbys were pretty darn close to perfection.

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    1. I knew I was missing something from my list–too much television. I’m still in denial about the T.V. At least it’s not on during dinner.

      Hope you enjoy this Monday with Cesar while the other two are off in school!

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  2. You are not the only one believe me….my kids are 22, 19 and 17 and all were fed fruity pebbles and all those yummy cereals when they were little……I caved many many times and pulled into the Golden Arches drive through because I was just to gosh darn tired to make dinner….and even though I felt somewhat (like 10%) guilty for taking short cuts or the easy way out of things……..sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. My kids are healthy, “normal” and a little Red 40 never hurt anyone. hahahaha….

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    1. “A little Red 40 never hurt anyone” . . . so true, Jolene! As for a McDonald’s cheesburger, how bad can it REALLY be? Wait, don’t answer. I’m afraid to find out.

      Love your new gravatar by the way!

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      1. Thank you!!!! well at least the kids meal comes with apples and milk……when my kids were younger they didn’t have that option!! haha I will opt for a kids meal now and again instead of getting a “adult” meal…..for some reason I don’t feel as guilty!

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      2. The apples and milk option crack me up. It’s like “Here gobble up some greasy fries. Oh, and while you’re at it, we’ve included some apples.” This is McDonald’s version of healthy. Nice try.

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  3. Anka! I think pregnancy is inspiring your writing! This was one of your most clever! We all can relate! We all start out with the best of intentions as mamas to be! It is the seasoned few who share honest experiences that help out the new ones who sometimes feel like failures when they don’t measure up! You inspired me to write one for older moms!

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    1. Speaking of “a seasoned few,” you’re definitely one of those women, Diane. I often turn to your blog to gain insight for future parenting dilemmas. Glad to hear you’re going to write a post for moms who are out of the child rearing years. Let me know when it’s up!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by to unload, Piper! There will be lots more to share after this third baby arrives. Hoping my newest addition sleeps better than my other two.

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  4. ha! went from organic and baby einstiens with the first to cheerios and dora with the second to sponge bob and cocoa puffs with the third. survival baby!! you have to flexible. you do the best you can most of the time and enjoy fruity pebbles the rest. πŸ™‚

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    1. Ha! That’s how it went for me. First–Baby Einsteins. Second–Skipped over Dora and jumped right into Phineas and Ferb. Then we moved on to miniature Snickers bars for breakfast. With my third, I’m not aiming high. As long as he’s fed and dry, we’ll be good!

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    1. Emma, I’d like to think of my efforts as steady improvements as well. I take it one day at a time. Kind of like requests to drive-thru McD’s. Some days it’s a go, and some days I tell them “no!”

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      1. Sometimes No is a happy place. We have to flex our parenting muscles and kids need to know boundaries. Its good to know I m not alone in the “how did I become this mommy” stakes. .

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      2. So true! Raising kids without boundaries is a breeding ground for disaster. I don’t want my kids to grow up having a sense of entitlement. Privileges must be earned.

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  5. How much of a parenting fail is it to give your child a piece of cake as well as toast for breakfast ( just sometimes) and laugh as he is so delighted? I didn’t really have any lofty goals other than kindness and love. I do both of those by the bucket so I am good πŸ™‚

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    1. Yes, when you distill it down, and you step away from the minutia, parenting doesn’t require much. Like you said, as long as our kids are loved they should be fine. That is my single most important goal–to raise my kids in UNconditional love.

      And for the record, we’ve had cake for breakfast too! I love to nibble on chocolate while drinking coffee in the morning.

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  6. I think I figured out the inferred definition of a noonie but being a father four times over, to wash my daughter’s glittery t-shirts by themselves. Indeed, if your book is but 200 pages, you’re a super parent! πŸ™‚

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    1. Koji, you’ve earned the father of the year award. I give you credit for washing glittery shirts by themselves. Glitter MUST be handled with care just like your daughter!

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  7. I guess it all depends on your perspective- I consider co-sleeping a win, not a failure πŸ™‚
    Jim Gaffigan (a comedian) has a very funny skit about McDonalds. We eat fast food when we have to- my kids know that it doesn’t really taste good; but I’m not always prepared enough to have healthy food available when we’re out and about. I think we need to just love our kids and do the best we can.

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    1. Yes, it’s about perspective, Miriam.
      I became a huge proponent of co-sleeping after reading Dr. Sear’s attachment parenting book. I decided it was better for me to take a hit than my children to feel anxiety sleeping on their own. Both of my babies melted like butter next to me.
      I’m quite certain the third will do the same. So, if my calculations are correct, I should regain sleep three years from now!

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    1. Cristina, it’s amazing what fries can do for a toddler while traveling in car. It completely changes their mood. They go from cranky baby to happy baby in a matter of minutes. As mothers, we have to do whatever works best for our family!

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  8. Hello, McDonald’s IS the work of the devil! You were right first off. I did a lot of blog posts on Fruit Loops a year or so back (deleted now) as I investigated them when they started turning up in the UK. They look so out of place on our shelves it was a shock to discover them. You might like to know that Kellogg’s had to work really hard to bring them out over here, and change lots of ingredients and flavours, as some of the colours aren’t even legally allowed! As it is they had to settle for less colours than you have. It makes you wonder what is in them in the US!!!
    FM

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    1. You’re right. Maybe McDonald’s IS the work of the devil, especially those mysterious meat patties. To be honest, my kids don’t eat their burgers. But I do drive-thru for fries and shakes.

      As for Fruit Loops, thanks for enlightening me, FM. I became very suspicious of these kiddie cereals when I started working with a nutritionist back in 2011. My family has made small but steady changes towards eating a cleaner diet. Fortunately, every dinner I make is from scratch. Lunches are a different story altogether.

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  9. Anka, don’t get me started! Failing as a parent, yes…but I prefer to call it coping, maintaining, and smiling. The only food my 7-yr-old wants is chicken nuggets from Jack-in-the-Box. Sometimes, I just give in because he’s so picky and I want food in his tummy, even if it’s not the best of choices!!

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    1. I think I’ll adopt this new terminology, Amy. Failure sounds SO heavy doesn’t it? And, for the most part, that’s what parents are doing–coping and surviving. We do the BEST we can with what we have.

      On that note, my kids have never tried Jack-in-the-Box nuggets. Wonder if I should let them try it? Maybe it’s opening Pandora’s Box . . .

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  10. I think you’re good!
    1. We used to do more McDonalds when they were littler. It just happens! Sometimes you just need them to be happy and quiet…and
    some of the toys were cool. I just try not to go now!
    2. We used pacifiers. One liked it. One didn’t. They were never confused about anything.
    3. My kids have their own iPods. No phones yet, but yeah…
    4. I’m just now hearing about this red dye. What’s the deal???
    5. Because I said so is my FAVORITE THING to say!!! There is literally no kid comeback for it!

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    1. Kerry, I only recently learned about the harmful effects of this food dye. Medical research suggests that by removing Red 40 from the diet of a child diagnosed with ADHD, it actually improves their behavior. A doctor close to the issue said, “I find it ironic that we have taken Red 40 out of hummingbird foods, but not our children’s foods.”

      Here’s a link to one of the articles: http://chrisneillmd.blogspot.com/2011/02/is-red-dye-40-bad-for-you.html. Livestrong.com also has articles on the topic.

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  11. Yes, the reality of parenting sets in and you have to do what works – not what some book may say. I sometimes question if I am teaching my kids enough or doing activities – I blame this on Pinterest and social media!

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    1. Excellent distinction! Doing what “works” versus going by the book. As for social media, it’s sucking me dry. And I haven’t even tapped into Pinterest yet. I’m still afraid to venture into that territory!

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      1. While I think social media is great, it can just focus on the super awesome stuff. .so posts about a 3 year old counting in multiple languages or crazy overachiever projects on Pinterest can make you feel somewhat inadequate. I love the posts that are real – I showered and no major injuries kind of thing!

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  12. Do your kids like In-N-Out? When I am craving “fast-food,” that is where I head since the quality of the ingredients is generally good.

    Also, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for kids to use tech devices (so long as they get their fair share of outdoor play and reading in!) Tech skills are essential today, so best sharpen their acuity with devices at an early age!

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    1. You know, Elaine, it’s funny. My kids don’t like burgers. My husband and I, on the other hand, love In-N-Out protein style burgers.

      As for technology related issues, I couldn’t agree more. It is necessary to acquire this skill set for future use. I believe everything is okay in moderation. That’s where parenting gets tricky!

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    1. Nnena! So good to hear from you!

      Sounds like co-sleeping worked in reverse for your little ones. Mine haven’t slept through the night since they left the womb. I’m sure my kids will still want to sleep with me when they’re 11 years old, too.

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      1. oh…the end of my brilliant comment–you’ll see a peekpeek–and a wonderwonder…I was trying to write something about the iPhone, but my pc was buggin’, and so it appeared as if I had deleted these “begun” phrases–but I didn’t. Do I am kinda gibbering there at the end. πŸ™‚ Whoopsie…

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      2. Don’t you just love when computers decide to do their own thing? They’re probably just tired of following commands. In any case, I corrected the comment. Hope the buggin’ stops soon!

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  13. Once a child told me in front of mum, “I had ice cream yesterday at McDonald’s with Daddy.” Mummy was FURIOUS!! I think it’s fine though… As long as it’s in moderation. πŸ™‚

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    1. Maybe the company is run by a bunch of second graders. Now, you’ve got me reconsidering my other favorite cereal, Apple Jacks. At least, they spelled apple correctly. Still confused about the “Jacks” part.

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  14. We let our son sleep with us between 2-4 months which I said would NEVER happen, but it was the only way my wife/son could sleep at that point. At 4 months we got him sleep trained. He goes to bed at 6:30 pm every night in his own crib, in his own room for the last 6 months. Our lives got a MILLION times better after that. It’s possible!!

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    1. I’m JEALOUS! When I tried to sleep train my son, he cried so hard that he threw up. It was too agonizing watching him cry. Maybe I’ll have more resolve with my next one. Thanks for keeping the hope alive!

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  15. The McDonald’s bit is one I share. The last five weeks of morning sickness, my body has gone horfal on any non-fruit food item, such that I have eaten almost exclusively food like substances . . . which my son has eaten with me. Even after I’m out of these woods, there will be occasional room for an emergency Mickey D’s trip!

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    1. Oh Deborah, I’m sorry that you’re having a bout with morning sickness. But I’m thrilled to hear you’re expecting a baby! SUPER news! Your home is going to be filled with more love than you could imagine. Watching your son interact with the newest edition will be like watching two kittens cuddle.

      On that note, glad to hear that McD’s takes the edge off for you. My go-to junk food was Taco Bell.

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