Let’s face it, parenting is tricky business. Some days it can feel like you’re making a mistake at every turn, but rest assured that all parents have been there. Here are some moms and dads sharing their less-than-stellar parenting moments, from trips to the ER to answering questions about Santa Claus. Read on for stories ranging from the horrifying to the hilarious, and be prepared to feel a little bit better about your own parenting.
Diaper Change Guilt
Stories about kids rolling off furniture (and other items!) are not uncommon but can cause a lot of parental guilt. Redditor WhoDat512 shared this one. “Put my son, who was about 8 months old at the time, onto our changing table that is about waist high and turned around to grab more diapers. Terrible decision.
Caught him rolling off the table out of the corner of my eye but it was too late…he fell 3 feet, landed directly on his face and did a full scorpion. He’s never cried so hard in his life before or after. I held him and just started crying because I felt so guilty hurting him like that.”
It Happens To The Best
It’s a fact of life that children tend to get a lot of inexplicable scrapes, bumps, and bruises along the way, and some of those are from accidents the parents themselves cause.
In a TODAY Parenting Team forum, one user shared this gem about the distress of bringing an injured child to the doctor. “You have not experienced the real walk of shame until you have padded down the hallway of your pediatrician’s office and announced to the front office and the adjacent waiting room, ‘I dropped my baby and I think someone should check him out.'”
What To Do When You Have A ‘Danger Baby’
Redditor astronomie_domine shared that her daughter “turned into Danger Baby. She is 2.5 now, but before she could walk she was climbing up the outside of the staircase and hanging off the [banister]. She dances on the kitchen counter, slides face first down the stairs, piles pillows on the floor and jumps off the couch…she is a non stop heart attack. I just make sure she can get herself out of any trouble she gets in, so far so good!”
Sounds like they keep a close eye on the adventurous child (for good reason)! One day they’ll laugh about this scary phase.
Ignorance Is Bliss?
Captain_shield relays what it’s like to forget that you have two kids, not one. “A few days ago I put the older child in bed while my fiancee put the new baby to sleep. She then went to take a shower while I was watching TV,” they wrote.
“A few minutes later I heard a baby crying, and assumed it was the TV. Then noticed a baby crying didn’t fit with what was happening on TV. As I was wondering where the sound was coming from, I noticed it was too young sounding to be our two year old, so I thought maybe the TV was on in another room, and ignored it for a couple more minutes. Then I finally remembered that we have two kids now.” At least nothing happened in those minutes!
Potty Training Problems
“My oldest is about to be 5 years old so I still have time for major mistakes but right now would be accidentally making my son dependent on me or my wife” to clean him after using the potty, shares redditor mightyslash. This is a problem many parents share!
“He will do it himself at school but apparently at home it has to be someone else…this has led to some fun standoffs of us yelling that he can sit there until he wipes [himself].” Hey, doesn’t it feel good to feel needed by someone?
Way To Destroy Her Ambition
Parents can definitely take it too far with caution sometimes. It’s a thin line to walk. “After my daughter spent all her own money on a skateboard, I relayed to her that I was afraid that one of the times she fell off her board she’d get hit by a car,” says redditor preciousephish.
This turned out to be a bad move. “In less than two days she didn’t try anymore. I don’t know if she had a scare or just didn’t want me to worry, but I feel like I took one of the most physical hobbies she could have had away from her by projecting my own fear. She doesn’t gravitate toward physical activity much now as a young adult.” Sad face.
Never Assume ANYTHING
GloInTheDarkUnicorn shares that one of their biggest parenting fails came as a result of assuming “that 5-year-olds don’t put weird [stuff] in their mouth anymore. Mine tried to eat the [lens] from a baby monitor camera. He bit it, and it shattered. I couldn’t find all the pieces and he wasn’t sure if he swallowed any. That was a fun ER trip.”
Thankfully, an update was provided: “He’s fine and didn’t swallow any.”
TechyDad writes that during a snowstorm, his seven-year-old son helped him with shoveling. “We’re doing a good job and clearing off the snow,” he says, “when IT happened. As I was bringing my shovel up, my son bent down to pick up more snow. I hit his head with the corner of my shovel. The very sharp corner. He shrieked and held his eye.”
The good news: “He was fine, but I felt like the worst dad in the world. Plus, to this day, you can see an indentation where I hit my son in the head with a shovel.”
Finger, Meet Fan
Sometimes, experience is the best way to learn, although many parents might not take that sentiment quite as far as this person did. “I warned my 3 year old not to stick his finger into the pedestal fan twice. Third time I let nature take it course,” this parent wrote.
We’re assuming that the toddler wasn’t injured. Hopefully, he now keeps his hands away from places they shouldn’t be! Lesson learned?
Your Brains Are Showing
Although some kids enjoy “gross-out talk,” there’s a time and a place for it. Reddit user ilyriaa found this out the hard way after their son fell onto hard concrete and got a head wound. “[W]e booked it to the children’s emergency. Thinking he’d LOVE this, I told him I could see his brains. He didn’t like that, at all.”
In fact, “[f]or months after, anytime he whacked his head he’d panic and scream asking if his brains were coming out again.” Ilyriaa did add that he’s just fine now, “many years later.”
Learning Farming Skills Early
When talking about parenting fails, redditor Discreetecrepedotcom says, “I don’t have too many that I can think of but one really stands out as the dumbest thing I could have ever done and I really beat myself up over it.”
So what was this regretful act? “When my daughter was 12 I had a little backhoe I used to do work around my home and property. We had 8 acres and we had 4 acres of manicured pasture with fencing and I let her drive my backhoe around that area. I often think about how many people die on them that don’t know what they are doing and learned a lot more about accidents on them but only after the fact. Felt really stupid.” Hey, at least everything turned out alright.
“Former coworker has a horror story,” writes a redditor. “He put his months-old son on the bed, thinking he also could not roll. Not only did his son roll, but he rolled onto the floor and out the door, which happened to be next to the bed.”
It gets worse. Then, the infant rolled “down the stairs which happened to be next to the door. His son broke both legs as a result. This was nearly 10 years ago now and the boy is fine, but it was terrifying when we all heard the story.” It’s so fortunate that everything worked out in the end.
Way To Make Things Even Worse
On a TODAY forum, a user shared this complete parenting failure that turned an awkward situation into a disturbing one.
“While searching on top of my dresser for their socks, BOTH kids found their baby teeth that the Tooth Fairy must have forgotten to take with her. In a desperate attempt to avoid a major traumatic event, I said that the teeth belonged to our dead cat and that I just couldn’t get rid of them.” Yikes! That’s a nice thought to put in the kids’ minds.
What A Mess
To call this incident a “mess” is quite an understatement, but that’s the nicest way to put it. Redditor chocolatespoonz says that one of their biggest mistakes as a parent so far was that they “left my 16 month alone with my newborn for like 5 minutes.”
Sounds pretty innocent, right? Well, it wasn’t. The older child covered the infant, from “head to toe,” in something that’s best left in the bathroom. Yucky! Don’t trust a toddler to watch a newborn.
Ah, that feeling when you think you’ve taught your child a useful life lesson and it backfires. “Teaching my toddler how to throw out her own trash has proven disastrous for the things in our house that aren’t garbage but make their way into the trash anyway,” shares Easineobe.
Deckpumps_n_deldos one-upped that comment. “At least she isn’t putting actual garbage in secret places. When mine was that age, he used a ‘secret garbage’ in the car. Turns out he was shoving all un-eaten food/wrappers/whatever really into the hole where the seatbelt comes out of the seat…”
No Laffy Matter
Here’s one of those moments where a parent’s heart briefly stops, as shared on reddit. “My kids should be up getting ready to walk out the door. My youngest is known to waste time so I always double-check to keep her on task. Well, I called her name several times and finally went into her room. She had crawled back into bed … her eyes half open, her lips were blue/purple, and [she] wasn’t answering me.”
It was Laffy Taffy candy on her mouth. “I went back into my room and had to take 5 minutes to myself. Needless to say I scared her waking her up.” Phew, so glad everything turned out okay.
Wow, this is a doozy of a parenting story from redditor Thats_my_username… especially the followup. “My then 8 year old son asked me if Santa was real, looked me in the eyes and said he wanted the truth and wanted me to swear to him that I was telling him the truth. So I decided he was old enough and that I should come clean with him. He started crying big crocodile tears, and was absolutely devastated. Told me after the fact that some other kids in his class were saying Santa isn’t real, so he wanted to make sure he was before he argued with them.”
It gets worse. “This was 3 years ago, and he told me this past Christmas that it was the saddest he’s ever been and I better lie to his little sister when she asks. Lesson learned.”
Clumsy Parenting (That Turned Out OK)
Perhaps redditor C0ntrol_Group should learn to be more careful around babies, after reading these stories about their daughter. “Well, about twelve hours after she was born, I almost let her roll off my lap onto the hospital room floor. Luckily, I caught her by her face.” Nice catch?
“Then about a year later, I was carrying her into our living room, and I straight dropped her onto the floor (in fairness, this happened because she suddenly wedged her feet against my chest and levered herself straight out, but still).”
The Store’s Name Is Full Of Irony Here
“The first time we took our son out we went to a place called Mothercare which is a store for baby clothes and toys, and this particular place had a large display area filled with various prams and pushchairs,” says redditor LetOneRip.
After finishing their purchase, they “left the shop and we were 10 minutes up the road before we remembered we had a baby and that we’d left him behind.”
High Chair Hijinx
“When my youngest was 8 months, she was going through a horrible bout of teething problems. Her brother was 2 and going through the ‘Screw bedtime’ phase,” said a redditor. “After several days of sketchy sleeping, I was kind of just going through the motions and not paying attention….I unstrapped her from her high chair, removed the tray, and turned around to leave the kitchen, FORGETTING TO PICK HER UP.”
The poor little girl fell onto her face, getting a bloody nose and black eye in the process. “It wasn’t my first baby and I should have known better, even being tired.” Awwww, sleep deprivation is real.
Bugs On The Brain
Sometimes we tell our kids things we think will reassure them but inadvertently do the opposite. Redditor fitcht3ll knows this all too well. Their three-year-old “woke up in the middle of the night and came to tell me she had a bad dream. I walked her back to her room and talked to her about her dream. She said she was dreaming there were bugs crawling on the walls and in her bed.”
To comfort the child, fitch3ll “told her that it was just a dream and the bugs only existed in her head. She didn’t get back to sleep for a LONG time after being told she had bugs in her head.” Oops! But fortunately, the girl doesn’t show any signs of permanent mental scarring by the scary middle-of-the-night news.
Go Tell It On The Mountain
“I have a [parenting fail] story my dad told me about when I was very young,” shares one redditor. This one turns out to be quite a doozy.
“In Ireland its a tradition to climb a mountain called Slemish on Saint Patrick’s day. About half way up the mountain, my dad lifted my older brother onto a rock and turned round to pick me up. When I wasn’t there, he looked around only to spot me rolling down the mountain and gaining speed.” Everyone was alright; sounds like the luck o’ the Irish was on their side this day.
Apparently, A Lot Of Dads Accidentally Clock Their Kids While Shoveling Snow
Redditor nekozuki’s story should reassure any parent who has accidentally bumped into their kids while shoveling snow. “My husband once clocked our son with the shovel over the weekend and fessed up when his boss asked him how things we’re going Monday morning.”
And what did the boss have to say? “He shrugged it off and said it’s a rite of passage for snow shoveling dads. Said he accidentally got both his kids with the shovel more than once, and this guy [was] that quintessential family man. Made my husband feel more normal, if not better.” We don’t advocate going after anyone with a shovel, but mistakes do happen.
Way To Scar Him For Life
Well, here’s a surefire way to make sure your kid never feels like a loved member of the family again. This story was shared on a TODAY forum about bad moments in parenting.
“While shopping at Target, my daughter and I acted like my son did not belong to us. At one point during his wild behavior, I told him quite loudly, ‘I can’t wait to take you back to your mom and dad’s house.'” It sounds like the boy was old enough to understand that they were joking, at least.
Beware The Bedtime Cow
Kids sometimes are paying more attention than we give them credit for, as this story from BenignEgoist goes to show.
“I learned that you have to be careful with what you say to kids since they take everything so literally. Told my 3 year old cousin he had a cow lick from how he slept at night. Kid cried for a long time thinking cows came in his room at night to lick him.”
“When my oldest was just over a year old, I left her playing in her room for a minute. I came back to her [getting sick] on the floor and holding a bottle of baby aspirin… I screamed for my husband to call 911… Bless him he already had them on the phone before he even knew what was happening,” says Jelese111.
Fortunately, the baby was just fine, but Jelese111 adds that they have no idea where the aspirin came from. “It was like six years expired, so maybe it was left hiding in the closet from previous tenants in the condo? I don’t know but definitely scary.”
Where’s Our Son?
“Oh man, one time my wife and I took our son on a trip to the harbor since he was now old enough to go with us on these trips,” said Rapidnash. “After a fun-filled day we were driving back home and my wife glanced in the backseat and goes ‘where’s our son?’ I guess we were not used to having a 3rd person with us when we went out so that’s the story of how we almost forgot our child.”
A fellow redditor had a smart comeback to this parenting story: “I think you and I have different definitions of ‘almost.'” Touché.
Words Of Encouragement
So many parents have stories about kids picking up their bad language. They seem to always be listening! Here’s a gem from redditor Alrubin. “My wife took a six hour road trip with our three kids when the youngest was a newborn, and the oldest was only 6. She called halfway through the drive. The baby was screaming, she was stuck in deadlock traffic, and was losing her mind. She said, ‘I can’t [expletive] do this.'”
You can probably guess what came next. “Then I heard my 6-year-old say, ‘Mom, you can [expletive] do this!'”
An Early Appreciation
Redditor C0ntrol_Group apparently has a lot of parenting stories. After contributing several others, they included this gem about their two-year-old daughter. “[M]y wife decided to let her have a sip of her beer. We were looking forward to seeing that toddler ‘ZOMG WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME I TRUSTED YOU’ face…”
Instead, the little girl ended up loving the fizzy beverage and insists on having a sip whenever she sees any.
Twisting His Arm…
“My 2.5 year old at the time son was a hard child and one night I was trying to bring him upstairs by holding onto his one arm, he decided to play dead and dropped down onto the floor just before the first step and then he let out a huge scream,” shared redditor jezsikamq. “I couldn’t calm him down so I had my neighbour [sic] come over and babysit my other 4 kids, including my 6-month-old twins, while I brought him to the ER.
The child’s elbow was popped out of place but the doctors said it wasn’t anything to worry about. Try telling that to the son, who is now nearly five years old and loves telling people about the time his “mommy broke my arm”!