Top 10 things we all fail at as parents.

Parenting is not a color by the numbers situation. You will color outside the lines, your colors will smear together and at times it may seem like an artistically, unsalvageable mess. While I can’t actually verify that this is true for every other parent; I can say that these are the only parents I would wish to be friends with. Spare me your perfectly posed Instagram reality and dish out the nitty gritty good stuff. With that in mind I have compiled my list of the the top 10 things that we all fail at, at some point, as parents. Here they are, in no particular order.

10. Listening: On those rare occasions when the kids aren’t making a ton of noise, the silence is deafening and I know they are up to something they shouldn’t be. The child rearing theme song is basically a laugh track blaring behind the music to Friday the 13th. I physically lack the stamina to listen to all the things my kids are saying. To be fair, much of what they are saying is just words that they want to hear themselves saying. That said, I become programmed to ignore and consequently miss all the good stuff too. I need to listen less lazily.

9. Patience: I really don’t have time to explain this but you do it too and yada yada yada. Seriously though, I know it’s not life or death that we get to our destination at the exact time I fantasize about. Someone write me a prescription for chill pills, and do it quick.

8. Fun: What’s the point of this stupid rat race if you can’t take a break to have a little fun every now and again? It doesn’t take a dime to hide in the shower with a scary bologna mask on your face and scare mom. I think if you unload the dishwasher more often than you make a point to have fun, you’re doing it wrong.

7. Health and Hygiene: Look, some mornings it’s all I can do just to get out of bed and brush my own stupid teeth. So I didn’t realize my kid’s hair looked like a bird’s nest until he was waving goodbye and running towards the playground at school. He’s clothed isn’t he? The devil’s in the details and they’re pretty easy to forget. Also, yes I realize that McDonald’s isn’t the healthy choice but it’s better than a complete mental breakdown after a day where the very thought of shopping and cooking feels all but impossible.

6. Education: Sometimes I’m pretty great at stoking the fire of my children’s curiosity. Other day’s I just couldn’t give two shits about how long it would take a kangaroo to hop from Florida to Wyoming.

5. Teaching responsibility: I know they should clean up their own damn mess, that’s precisely why I’ve been screaming it for the past 20 minutes. Sometimes though, Netflix and couch time screams louder than the desire to “stick to your guns.”

4. Adventure: This is a big one for me, which I screw up all the time. Life just has a way of getting in the way of the life you want to live. I don’t even feel good about excusing this, I want my kids to understand that life is a grand adventure but there are always bills to pay and chores to do. I need to be more open to family adventure for sure.

3. Understanding: Much like listening, understanding our kids point of view is something that gets drowned out amongst the noise. It doesn’t matter if their problems seem insignificant to us; it’s the biggest struggle of their life in that moment. I need to flex up on my capacity to appreciate this fact.

2. Laughing: Remember to laugh and you’ll live longer. Also, laughter is contagious. Most problems can be solved by laughing instead of becoming frustrated. It’s not a big deal and it just never will be. I need to appreciate the depths of this life’s perpetual ridiculousness.

  1. Loving: This one gets me all the time. It’s just too easy to forget how insanely blessed we are to be alive and have each other. There is no greater fortune in this life, yet I take it for granted every day. Then, when I realize how lucky I am to have a healthy, wonderful family, it’s 1 a.m., they’re all asleep and I’m up writing this stupid blog. I’m off now to creepily hug each sleeping member of my wonderful family before going to bed myself. Quick recap, parenting is hard for everyone. The best of us just try our best to do a little better each day. Love hard and love well. Love you all.