10 Ways I’m Totally Screwing Up My Kids

Did you watch the show Parenthood? Sadly, its series finale was in January. But find it if you can, and binge-watch the hell out of it. In one episode, Julia was struggling with the ever-present mom guilt. She felt like she was screwing up her kids, which of course totally hit home. Not even gonna lie, I spend the vast majority of my time worrying about what I’m doing to my poor kids. It’s always there. I mean, think about it. We are charged with the extraordinary responsibility of helping these tiny creatures turn into well-adjusted adults. And we only have a few years to do it. Sometimes I get anxiety because it feels like their success or failure as people lies entirely on my shoulders. And the older they get the more I worry. Think I’m just being crazy? See for yourself. Here is just a small sample of the ways I’m totally screwing my kids up:


  1. I Swear In Front of Them…Like, a Lot: Now just to rationalize clarify, it generally only happens when I’m angry or stressed. I do NOT think it’s cute to drop f-bombs at the dinner table. But when my emotions are high it’s my go-to coping mechanism. Oddly though, whenever there’s a song on the radio with swear words I make sure to freak out and crank the volume down so they don’t hear it. Which is usually followed by laughter and, “Mom, it’s not like we haven’t heard it from you.” So busted.
  2. I Let My Daughter Love Disney Princesses: I know, I know.  She’s destined to grow up to be a damsel in distress. Twenty years from now you’ll be sure to find her cleaning up after some asshole and baking him a pie while woodland creatures watch on. At least she’ll have great hair though.
  3. I Throw Away Their School Projects: Yep. That’s right. And what’s worse they bust me! “Mom, why is my map project in the garbage?!? I worked hard on that!” My response is generally a silent cringe, followed by an exaggerated, “What? How did that get in there?” Now the obvious exception to this scenario is if they create anything cute, funny, or about me. Those projects get filed away for display at the high school graduation party.
  4. We Don’t Do Big Birthday Parties: Don’t worry, I am fully aware this guarantees they’ll be socially awkward for the rest of their lives. But having grandma and grandpa over for cake and ice cream or doing something fun as a family is doing the trick for now. Also? If I’m being honest, it’s just easier than dealing with strangers and their kids, asking everyone to bring gifts, and plopping down hundreds of dollars for a party they probably won’t remember anyway.
  5. Pinterest is Not My Friend: In fact, Pinterest annoys the hell out of me most days. I don’t do Bento Box lunches, I put money in their lunch account. I don’t do veggie trays in fancy shapes for holidays or snacks shaped like animal friends, I put food on their plate and tell them to eat it. I cringe at the thought of DIY teacher gifts 25 times a year. I call bullshit on all of it. When did it get like this?!? Competitive crafting is just not my thing.
  6. My Parents Would Never Have Done This: Why do I find myself doing things for my kids that my parents wouldn’t have dreamed of? For example, waiting in the carpool lane 40 minutes before school gets out so I can get my son to his piano lesson on time. Or correcting all of my kid’s homework before he brings it back to school, because if he has one math problem wrong I look like a deadbeat parent. And entertaining them whenever they say they’re bored. At this rate, my kids will be 40 and still expecting me to come up with activities for them on command.
  7. I Wont Let Them Get a Dog. Worst Mom Ever! Let me just lay it all out.  I don’t want another living thing to take care of. And that’s the truth. It’s the same reason why I don’t have houseplants. I’m completely overwhelmed as it is. And I just can’t worry about keeping another thing alive.
  8. I’m a Dance Mom…Everyone Knows Dance Moms Are Crazy. We’re a different breed. (Not as crazy as the moms on that TV show, but definitely crazy sometimes.) Competitive dance is like its own little world. Once you’re in, you’re IN. And only other dance moms can truly understand it. We are generally Type A, often times over the top, and usually willing to do whatever it takes for our kids to succeed at dance. But the thing is, if I told my daughter she couldn’t do it any more she would be devastated. She loves it. And therefore, so do I.
  9. Could We BE Any More Over-Scheduled?  Seriously, I promised myself I’d never do it. But here I am. That mini-van mom carting her kids around all week long, spending every weekend at practices, dress rehearsals, tournaments, competitions, what have you. The worst part is that I can’t be three places at once. I’m doing my best, but by default that means that I’m always missing somebody’s something somewhere. My kids will never be able to thank me for “never missing a game” when they’re older. That stings.
  10. I Have Absolutely…No…Clue…What I’m Doing. I’m totally making this parenting shit up as I go. And all I keep thinking is, Oh my god. What’s going to happen if they ever find out? One of these days they’ll be on to me.

On the episode of Parenthood that I mentioned earlier, when Julia was guilt-ridden about screwing her kids up, her amazing father Zeek (my favorite character) had this glorious piece of wisdom for her:

Parents screw their kids up. That’s just the way it is. 

The only way not to screw em’ up is not to have em’…

and what a shame that would be. 

Seriously, just sit with that for a minute. Those three beautiful sentences make me feel SO much better. Maybe I’m not alone in this after all. So for now, the best I can do is just take a deep breath and put a few more dollars away for my kids to help them pay for their therapy someday. They’re gonna need it.



  1. For the longest time, I was absolutely guilt-ridden and anxious about screwing my son up. He’d be scarred for life, I reckoned – or worse, turn into that guy whose shocked neighbors say, “We never would have thought… He was always such a nice, quiet man.”

    Then, years ago, I read something that I found very soothing on some parenting website. It said something like, research had found out that very little of a child’s personality was actually influenced by its upbringing; in other words that their character was formed by genetics, their peers, all kinds of causes, and that parenting made up only, say, 15%. Basically, the article went on, if you don’t actively abuse or neglect your kids, there is a very small chance that you could actually “screw them up.” More or less, they will turn out the way they will turn out.

    That was one of the best pieces of parenting advice I ever got.

  2. You’re so awesome! I do not suppose I’ve truly read through a single thing like this before.
    So great to find another person with some genuine thoughts on this subject.
    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that
    is required on the web, someone with a little originality!
    Read recently posted…Read My Profile


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