Crappy parenting

Crappy parenting moments: recovering when everything goes pear shaped

We have all had crappy parenting moments haven’t we? When everything you know about parenting children goes out the window. When emotion takes over from rationale. Those moments when your child walks out the door, or slams the door or you slam a door or you find yourself acting more like the child than the adult. Whatever the experience I think we all know that feeling of wishing you could replay that moment and try it again.

The mornings when everything goes pear shaped and everyone walks out the door in a huff.  You feel guilty that your child is at school and the last words you said were angry ones.

But like I say to my kids, nothing is a failure as long as we learn something from it. Because we can’t expect to get it right every single time. We cant expect to be prepared for every parenting dilemma that comes our way. For every child’s outburst or for every bolt out of the blue sends our nicely planned routines off course.

But we can take a little from them all and learn something.

I had a few parents last week lamenting that their mornings had gotten out of control and everyone went their separate ways grumpy and angry and mum was left feeling like a failure for everything going wrong and it set the tone for the rest of her day. Then I myself had one of those days last week. Usually I have pretty good routines in the morning and everything goes relatively smoothly. But sometimes it takes one tweak in the routine, one unexpected turn of events and everything unravels. Ours was a child that slept in (the one that usually wakes up the rest of the house), another child who had to be at school early, an excursion notice that needed to be printed and signed and returned that day, and a stray football down the hallway that sent a photo frame smashing glass to the floor. Then there was some words about balls in the house and if you had your shoes on I wouldn’t be worried about you cutting your feet and why wasn’t I told about the excursion notice before today….and well, you get the picture.

So here’s what we do when we have those crappy parenting moments. Be it a morning that ends all stress and sassing, a visit to the supermarket that is all tantrums or an outing that leaves us wondering why we left the house.  When all we know unravels and goes all pear-shaped, here are some things we can do to get ourselves back on track:

  • We take a few deep breaths, go for a quick walk if we can, we grab a cuppa and flick through a magazine and we gather ourselves back together.
  • We decide if this is something that is happening all the time and if so what changes can we make to prevent it happening again
  • If it is not a regular thing, then we put it down to an aberration and a series of unavoidable events that resulted in some unfortunate circumstances.
  • We tell ourselves that for the most part we do get it right and the very fact that we are upset about not doing so great tells us that we are in fact doing a great job.
  • We forgive ourselves and move on.
  • We tell ourselves tomorrow will be better.

Had any crappy parenting moments lately? How do you move on?


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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Great post Martine.

    Oh I’ve had many of these! I find a kiss goodbye, even a begrudging one, and a reassurance (I’m sorry I’m grumpy/you’re grumpy but I still love you) helps or a convo later that day/night about what went wrong, why and what else has been going on.

    I’ve also had times when I’ve apologised to the kids for losing it and asked the kids to forgive me for something I did. This has been humbling for me but also modelled how we’d like them to respond in the very likely event that they crack it! x

    1. Martine Oglethorpe

      So true Vanessa, having the conversation and being able to apologise may be humbling but you are right… important.

  2. When days like this hit it is just one foot in front of the other to survive the day. We all say sorry before bedtime and promise to try better the next day.

    1. Martine Oglethorpe


  3. Amy

    Oh we have plenty of these and sometimes the cloud is so black it’s like we can’t see a way out. I usually find an early night and a fresh start is the best way forward.

    1. Martine Oglethorpe

      Yes, everything is always much worse when we are tired so an early night is a great start!

  4. Laney@thelaneyfiles

    Yep the morning chaos you describe sounds similar to the many mornings I have. I love all your tips, thanks for this article.

    1. Martine Oglethorpe

      Thanks Laney, and I am sure we are not alone 🙂

  5. EssentiallyJess

    I just had one of these moments. A child said something and I saw red. It’s hard not to sometimes.
    But it’s all forgiven now, and we’ve moved on. Hopefully next time I’ll do better.

    1. Martine Oglethorpe

      Moving on and forgiving each other is all we can do sometimes.

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