Ah here we are, that time when we reflect on the year just ending. As a parent, I find myself focusing on the ways I did and didn't live up to my parenting potential. Here are my top parenting fails (ouch) and wins (yay, I did some things right!) for 2013:
Fail: Admitting my own childhood naughtiness
Sometimes we tell our kids about our childhood misdeeds to explain that all kids make mistakes. Careful; it becomes hard-to-refute ammo they'll use on you! If I catch my six-year old sneaking sweets, she taunts, "But mommy, you used to sneak sugar from the sugar bowl!" If I scold her for painting the table, she retorts, "But you drew on the door with red pen when you were a kid!" Doh!
Win: Her 6th birthday party
This kid who loves the PBS show Wild Kratts and yearned for a slumber party got both for her 6th birthday. It took me weeks to create 8 creature power suits, theme games, décor, goodie bags and the cake. But the true challenge was eight sugar-loaded girls on a so-called sleepover. (Sleep? Hah!) "My best day ever!" my kid concluded. "Enjoy it," I thought. Never again.
Fail: Being "that parent" on the phone
I used to look with disgust at parents who buried their noses in their smart phones while kids tugged on their sleeves. Then I got a smart phone. Dang if I don't bury my nose in it, my kid tugging on my sleeve. I resolve to stop. No kid should compete with electronics for our attention.
Win: Helping Santa nail it
This year she asked Santa for a "life sized animal." I helped Santa deliver this wonderful cheetah that she named "Blur" (a cheetah name on Wild Kratts, of course). Her ear-piercing screams Christmas morning made Blur worth every pricey penny. Bonus: he's a blissfully quiet sleepover guest.
Fail: Giving in when she begged to watch Titanic
A schoolbook piqued her interest in this historical tale. But when she saw Titanic on television and begged to watch, I should have refused. She was not ready for Rose and Jack steaming up the carriage ("what are they doing mommy?") and definitely not ready for the iceberg crash. I turned it off before the passengers began to panic, but too late. She was scared. My heart sank faster than that ship. What was I thinking?
Win: Helping her believe in herself
My bright, curious, wonderful girl faces learning challenges that leave her feeling defeated and "different." No matter what else is going on, I make it a point to let her know every day: she is an amazing, talented, smart and beautiful girl inside and out and she is loved. Her emerging confidence has been the best win of all.
Diana Dull Akers is a mom to a feisty six year old, a sociologist, and a children's reading advocate/blogger for Bookboard.com.