The other day I wasn’t feeling well. I had some sort of a bad summer cold, and was just pretty under the weather all day. My wife had to be somewhere, and I had my little one all day. Usually these are my favorite days, and we do all sorts of fun stuff. This was not that day… I was a useless pile of dad. My daughter, being 3, wasn’t amused by Daddy’s inability to be any fun at all. She kept asking to play, but I really didn’t have it in me. So I resorted to the bane of perfect parents everywhere… the television.
On a perfectly decent summer day we sat inside and watched TV. We took a few breaks to draw here and there, but honestly it was pretty much a movie marathon. She never even made it out of pajamas for the day. For food, I let her have waffles on the couch, and we ordered pizza at some point. All of this adds up to a pretty bad day of parenting. She had a fun day, but at no point would I describe anything we did as particularly good for kid development in the realm of body, mind, or spirit. That’s what happened, and on that day I was not a great parent.
I think most of us try to be pretty good parents overall. However, some days you just can’t bring your “A” game (or in my case your “D+” game, as illustrated above). Parenting doesn’t come with sick time, and that means you have to just do the best you can. Still, by the end of our nothing day, I felt like I had let my kid down (even though she enjoyed pizza and couch with dad all day). Even though, I know that usually we have great days full of various fun things, and one “bad” day here or there really isn’t a big deal, I still felt like I owed her a more fulfilling time. Would I let this kind of thing happen often? Of course not. However, once in a while, we all have to be “bad” parents for whatever reason.
If you spend a lot of time looking at parenting articles, reading blogs on parenting, or even just browsing social media and seeing your friends and their kids in their best, most well staged photos; it be becomes pretty easy to think you aren’t doing a good enough job. The bottom line is this, we all have good days and bad days. You can’t let yourself be swallowed up by the “perfect parenting” rhetoric. Some days you do everything right, and you go to bed feeling like your kid really blossomed and learned new things. Some days you feel like garbage and sit on the couch with your kid eating something called “cheesy bread”.