Top Parenting Fails

Things have been relatively calm around here on the parenting front, and when you write a “mommy blog”, your kids being boring leaves you often bereft of good material. So, instead of using my poor children as fodder for my hilarious witticisms, I have decided that I will use my own mistakes instead. Some of these have required a great deal of thought because A. they aren’t all recent and B. I am quite sure I lost 20 IQ points for each kid and C. I have consumed an inordinate amount of alcohol along the way, thereby making my recollection somewhat hazy.

Let’s begin, shall we? Here are my top parenting fails…

1. Where I Sling My Baby Daughter Around the Yard in the Circle of Doom. It was the winter of 2002 and we were having a lovely afternoon at my in-laws house. Cecilia was a little over a year old and wanted to use the newly installed toddler swing in her grandparent’s back yard. My FIL had hung the swing from this gorgeous old oak tree and had used very long ropes to get the swing down to person height. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth we went. Suddenly, I had the bright idea to push the swing in a circular motion, kind of like a tire swing. The baby was strapped in and I didn’t push it super hard, so you can imagine my surprise when it fell over on its side and began swinging in a circle with my baby girl sort of dangling out of it and screaming in sheer terror. Of course my first (and albeit stupid reaction) was to begin screaming “Daddy, Daddy catch her, catch her!!!” and start chasing the swing/baby along its crazy circular path through the backyard. It never occurred to me to stop and catch her when she came around – that sensible response was the route my FIL and husband went, thank goodness. She was totally fine and in hindsight, the scene was hysterical – in the moment, not so much.

2. The Time I Almost Fed My Son to a Quarter Horse. About six years ago, we had gone to a friend’s house in the country. The house is not terribly child-proof, but we did what we could and then proceeded to stay up half the night socializing. Next morning I wake up to find that Will has vanished. We searched the house and the yard – nothing. Got in the truck in my pj’s and drove around – still nothing. I walked out into the front yard trying not to freak out and saw the slightest glint of sun off in the direction of the horse barn. Raced over and found Will standing between the two front legs of a rather sizable quarter horse aptly named Superman, who was nibbling on his hair. Barefooted, in pajamas and a diaper, Will was standing there with Supe, grinning ear to ear while I threw myself around the paddock in hysterics. In my zeal to keep everyone away from the pool, I apparently forgot to lock the front door.

3. The Great Birthday Mud Bath of 2011. More recently we had again gone to the country, and as all good rednecks do, invented a new kind of activity that involved an ancient plastic hydro slide, a souped up gas powered golf cart and a tow rope. Honestly, it went well at first – the kids had a blast, the grownups enjoyed watching them and everything was cool. Things went south when my husband and the driver of said golf cart thought it would be funny to drive the two girls through what they allegedly thought was a shallow puddle. In case there is one or two of you who cannot see the writing on the wall here, I’ll break it down. First, the puddle was practically a lake. Second, said plastic slide weighs a ton, so it basically submarined to the bottom when it hit the puddle. Third, apparently little girls do not appreciate it when a tidal wave of muddy water pours down over them whilst being pulled around behind a golf cart around a tree farm in rural Bamberg County. Oh, and did I mention it was one of their birthdays? EPIC fail.

There are the usual fails that we all experience, of course. You know, the ones where kids get in trouble for being bad and then spike a 104 degree fever five seconds later, not putting on enough sunscreen while at the pool, or playing a well intended joke that actually scares the crap out of them, etc., but the stories above are some of my personal high points in the fail department..

What’s awesome about these and other experiences is that they help me remember that even when something seems like a catastrophe in the moment, very often these are the memories that we can all look back on and laugh. All I have to say is “This is the WORST birthday EVER!” and my kids fall out in convulsions of hilarity. The truth is that we all screw up sometime, and I honestly believe that being able to laugh at yourself is the only salvation from the complete insanity of parenting. I look forward to more moments that will leave me sputtering in fury, indignity or humiliation and laughing out loud mere seconds later, because it makes it all okay.

About the writer

Rebeccah is an almost a lifelong resident of Charleston, and loves her city to a degree that some people would consider unnatural. Her thoughts and adventures can be found at Connelly Confusion.


shelley 1 year ago

Number 1 had me practically weeing myself laughing… and my hubby thinks i have no sense of humour. Thankyou for a much needed laugh!

Rebeccah 2 years ago

First. I love that our name is spelled the same, im happy my mother wasnt the only one who had oddly spelled it. Second, my daughter is only going to be 4, and I cant wait for all the fails ill forever cherish.

Meredith Bland 4 years ago


I think mine was when my son broke his arm but because he could still move it we assumed it could NOT be broken, and did not take him to the ER for another 8 hours. Whoops! My bad, son.

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    So I’m not the only one…whew!

Dawn 4 years ago

That is awesome! Sounds to me like your family has some real fun and great memories at get-togethers!

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Thank you! You know, I’d love to say that we’re fascinating people doing fascinating things, but I think really it’s just that I’m a black hole for the bizarre.

Sarah@grownupnow 4 years ago

Hahahaha I love this post! Especially the first story! That definitely sounds like something that would happen to me!

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Thanks so much! My poor husband has had more than his fair share of “Daddy, Daddy help us help us!” over the past ten years…I think there may be a pattern here. :-)

Jennifer 4 years ago

I accused my daughter of faking her eye exam and not really needing glasses. Guess what?

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Ouch. I suspect she now has the most adorable glasses available… 😉

Megan 4 years ago

This was hilarious!!! You’re a great descriptive writer – I could really see the events as they unfolded. So funny!

And thanks for reminding us that we ALL make mistakes like this. If there’s one certainty in motherhood it’s that you will make mistakes!

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Thanks so much! You’re right – we all make mistakes and sometimes laughing at them is the only way to deal!

Nancy Davis Kho 4 years ago

Oh, honey – that way lies madness. When I was two I ran into a wall (eluding capture by an older cousin) and ended up having a root canal…I have no memory of the event itself, but a VERY clear memory of how it traumatized my mother, who despite herself couldn’t help bringing it up every few years as an example of her wretched parenting. Better to let it go, as I imagine your kids already have.

Signed, the Mom who didn’t notice that her two year old’s finger was caught in the automatic lock of the car until I’d been standing outside of the car for 5 minutes, chatting with a friend

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Oh, it’s long gone from the guilt zone and onto the humorous family anecdotes arena. Love the doorlock mental – totally relate to that. :-)

Windy 4 years ago

Truly awesome. These were hilarious (but probably scary as heck at the time). I think the mud swimming birthday is my favorite. Thanks so much for sharing them.

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    I wished I had been more quick thinking and grabbed my camera. Those girls were ENRAGED. And one of them is teensy tiny so it was like being screamed at by a toy poodle.

Amanda 4 years ago

Absolutely hilarious!! I can just imagine you chasing after that circling swing!!

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    It was definitely a neighborhood show stopper!

Evin Cooper 4 years ago

I’ve got 3 kids and I always say that if parenting isn’t the hardest, most hysterical thing you’ve ever done, you’re doing it wrong. Just this past year I fixed “meatloaf cupcakes” for April Fools. I presented this “chocolate cupcake” with “mint-green frosting” to my 6 year old and he took a bite. His face was PRICELESS so I cracked up. He burst into tears and was inconsolable for HOURS. I had fixed real cupcakes for dessert and wound up feeling so shitty that I tossed the meat-cakes and we all had cupcakes for dinner.

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    I just truly, honestly LOL’d at this. That is EPIC FAIL.

Heidi 4 years ago

It’s so good to hear that the surprise fever comes to other people too. Happened to me so many times I have become a softy, just in case my son has a legitimate excuse for being a nuisance. The best punishment is when I get it after him and realize how bad he must have felt.

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Oh yeah. I learned that one the hard way – kids were being bad, I was fussing and doling out timeouts like it was my job. And then they got swine flu. And then we did. FAIL.

Kim 4 years ago

This made me laugh!! Laughing is the key to survival. And, wine.

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Ain’t that the truth?

Arnebya 4 years ago

The laughter is usually all we have. I can’t even explain how hard I’m laughing at the visual of your daughter’s arc of peril in the swing. And yeah, I’d have to say unexpected, unwanted mud filled hair might just constitute worst birthday ever.

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Um, yeah, it took a couple of hours for both girls to start speaking to us again. The dads because, well, they did it, and us because we HOWLED laughing at them. Whoops.

Mrs Catch 4 years ago

Hilarious. I agree a sense of humour is the only answer.

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    I would probably be dead without it. Thank you!

Alexandra 4 years ago


    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Awww…thanks. :-)

Jessica 4 years ago

My favorite was the horse story. Been there! We have horses and I cant even count how many times my kids have ended up underneath or behind them. I want to scream every time it happens.

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    I almost threw up. All I could think was, Dear God PLEASE do not let that fat assed QH step on my poor baby’s bare foot. It would be a shame to have to kill him right here in front of everyone. We’re cool now though. :-)

Jessica@MakingHomeSweeter 4 years ago

Bahaha I would totally chase the swing too instead of just wait for it to come back around. Awesome.

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Such a simple solution, yet not an intuitive one, it would appear. Thank goodness for those seat belts on swings!

Alison@Mama Wants This 4 years ago

I know it sounds terrible that I totally laughed at all 3 stories above – because they ARE funny. Though yes, I would fail to find the humor in the moment :) Thanks for sharing!

So far, 2 years into the motherhood game, the worst fail I’ve experienced is touting a shit-smeared 6 month old around with no diapers and no change of clothes. Yeehaw.

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Haha – consider that your initiation into the club! I think you have to experience a full blown diaper fail at least once.

Moomser 4 years ago

I honestly don’t know which one I like best… All I can say is I hope to fail as hilariously as you in the future!

    Rebeccah 4 years ago

    Don’t worry – I’m sure you will. There were more, but I wasn’t sure if they were FAIL funny, or FAIL call the cops, so I left those out. 😉


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