This is the true story of my latest parenting failure.
I was grocery shopping with my son and using the hand-held scanner so that I could bag my own groceries as I shop and move through the self-checkout line in seconds. If your grocery store doesn’t have these, I’m sorry. Trust me when I say they may be the greatest invention ever. Okay, the greatest invention second to only the wheel.
I was on the cereal aisle and I guess I wasn’t paying much attention when I scanned a box and put it in my bag. I’m picky about breakfast cereals. I won’t buy anything with more than 9 grams of sugar per serving so it’s important for me to read labels and pay attention, but apparently I wasn’t.
We got home and my son began helping me unpack the groceries. He pulled a big red box out of the bag and began jumping, smiling, and hollering, “Thank you! Thank you! You are the best mama EVER!” He hugged my legs while he continued to bounce. He was one happy, happy boy.
I had inadvertently purchased Lucky Charms. Oh, thank God they stopped making Kaboom or I would have found a box of that in my bag, too—no doubt.
Why am I telling you this? Because this is the sort of thing that happens to me frequently, and I have no shame in admitting it. And in truth, this isn’t a very big parenting failure, is it? It’s not like I accidentally left my son at the grocery store and upon realizing he wasn’t in the backseat, continued on my way home because I didn’t want my ice cream to melt.
Still, it’s a reminder as to why I’m not a mommy-blogger. I’m not qualified to give anyone tips on shopping with a pre-schooler or how to avoid feeding your family tooth-rotting breakfast cereal. Sorry.
In fact, I cringe when I think of how sanctimonious anyone sounds when giving parenting advice. “Do as I do and you won’t have that problem” is usually at the core of such advice.
The other day, I was eavesdropping—not intentionally. These two women were loud-talkers. One complained that her son is such a picky eater that she has run out of ideas for packing his school lunch, and I suppose that it would have been different if her friend had suggested a food like—“Try baby corn,” but instead, she launched into this spiel about how to “cure” the picky eater. She began by noting that her own children were all excellent eaters, but that is because she is an excellent cook who fed them excellent foods very early on. I’m sure she is an excellent mother and she may even be a fabulous friend, but in my opinion, her companion showed some real restraint by not walking out on their conversation. I would have.
The reality is that most parenting advice isn’t going to work. Why? Because the advice-receiver has a different personality, different kids, and a different set of challenges than the advice-giver. I feel that way about self-help books, too. You have to have a lot in common with the author to really benefit from reading one just because it’s not a One Size Fits All world—and aren’t we all thankful for that?
(Oh, and Lucky Charms only has 10 grams of sugar per serving, so it’s not as terrible as you would think. Of course, I’m just talking sugar here. I’m not going to address all the other crap that is in it.)