Never Fail

Whoa there, my kraken-lovin’ baby-spawners! What in the giddy shit is this? See, I’ve noticed a bit of a trend amongst all sorts of parenting bloggers and it’s giving me the hump even more than a hot date with Quasimodo. It’s not the intricate detail of feeding newborns or diagrams about unclogging a constipated toddler arse. It’s even worse. It’s the term ‘parenting fail’.

Parenting what? Fail? You have to be shitting me. As much as I have torn myself in half in my time wondering whether I was raising Kraken Junior more like a feral cat than a human being I have never once used the word ‘fail’. I had no idea that you could so indubitably fail at parenting, not unless it involves the obvious fuck-ups of child abuse or neglect, of course.

Who knew that parenting was akin to sitting a maths A-level where you get to give right or wrong answers and nothing in-between. Yet according to a lot of parent bloggers it’s not just possible to fail at parenting but it’s actually possible to excel at fucking things up.

Thing is I don’t believe this at all. Not for a second do I believe that the people who are so involved in the roles as parents that they actually write about it are failing at parenting. And I don’t believe that they think they are failing either. But I do think that they are using the term defensively, a bit like calling your own arse enormous before someone else does.

And there is fuck all wrong with accepting that you’re not the perfect parent and admitting it.   In fact I do it all the time and anyone who tells me that they are the perfect parent is about as deluded as it’s possible to get without hoovering up fistfuls of crack. But does it have to involve the ‘fail’ word?

See, ‘fail’ infers that there is a right and wrong way of rising your kids, but come the fuck on, of course there’s not. Yeah, we do things differently to each other but that’s as far as it goes. Seriously, what one person would call a parenting ‘fail’ could mean parenting brilliance to another.

In my case there is no failure. I refuse to consider myself a failure even though I spent the first two years of Kraken Junior’s life with severe PND and the next two years partaking of a fully-blown breakdown with suicide constantly on my mind. We got through it and life was far from perfect but it was never, ever a parenting ‘fail’.

So it’s time to stop with the self-flagellation and reclaim parenting by just calling it, well, parenting. Accepting that there are great days and shit days, that there are  days when you adore your kid and days when you want to drop kick them from an upstairs window and that at no point does this equate to a ‘fail’. Let’s just save the word ‘fail’ for those people who leave their three year old home alone for a week instead, shall we? Only then does the word even begin to make sense.

What do you think? Do you use the term ‘parenting fail’ and have I got the wrong end of the stick? Or do I have a point? Come and tell me what you think. Oh come on.

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7 Responses to Never Fail

  1. Angeline says:

    Kinda made me cry ((damn pregnancy hormones),as I too went through PND and there’s a part of me that is worried that I will again after Feb. But it hit me cause I do often think of myself as a failure that I don’t get it right,but It isn’t like that as you say. With self awareness comes care that you are doing things the right way for you and your child. I don’t mean the whole sun shines out my childs arse kind of way but surviving parenting cause its the most difficult job ever. I’m getting mixed up in what I am trying to say… I wish we could all stop thinking that we are failures and see the good that we do, because we are.

  2. Kat says:

    Another brilliant post. I have to admit I have fallen into the ‘parent fail’ category. I judge myself by my standards and I am my harshest critic so I think I may be sacked very soon! I can always see the great job others are doing and not the great job I am doing. I will endevour to change. Thanks for the prompt! Xx

    • The Kraken says:

      I know what you mean. My standards are a bit barking too but the thought that I have ‘failed’ rather than just done things differently makes me sag.

  3. Ko says:

    I am Mum to 4, I don’t think I have used that term at all. I am not a failure, yes I do not remember the 1sts of Thing 2 as I was grieving, or the 1sts of Things 3 and 4 a I was suffering PND, but never once have I failed them. I have 4 very different, polite, talented, bolshy kids full of attitude who drive me to despair many times a week. I am honest with them (well aside from Santa and the tooth fairy for now)and I make mistakes, but I say sorry. I am only human and is it not human to err ;)

    I do think that the word fail is used too easily these days. I often tell Thing 1 that *epic fail* is not the term he really requires when talking about a mate who made a fool of himself in front of others. As for his use of epic…don’t get me started!

  4. Jenny says:

    I see your point. But I have used this term, probably ironically – I don’t really think I’m “failing” most of the time – but also as a kind of solidarity with other parents. It’s a way of sharing and saying “look, none of us are perfect parents all the time”. I don’t think it’s meant to be taken literally! Sorry if it’s annoying…

    • Kim says:

      Jenny, I think you’re right – people tend to use the term jokingly. As in “My toddler had a screaming tantrum in the supermarket today and the only thing I could do to shut him up was give him a bag of Maltesers. Parenting fail.” And then people read that and think “Oh, yes, I’ve done that too.” Whereas if it was a genuine parenting fail (e.g. “The only thing I could do to shut him up was to give him a good hard slap”) you’d probably decide, on reflection, not to mention it in public.

  5. Eden says:

    I’m no parent. But lots of my friends are, and I don’t consider anything they do “parenting fail”. Even seen from the outside, it’s bloody hard work at times, and I respect that. I have a whole heap of respect for each and every one of them, for what they do, and for how they do it. They all handle things differently, but they all do it brilliantly, even if they may not see it.

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