Epic Fail?

In two more months, I'll become a mother for the third time. And I've got to admit, I'm a little disheartened. I mistakenly assumed that I'd be some sort of parenting expert by now - that I'd be one of those knowledgeable moms who has been through it all and has an answer for every phase and stage of development. (I know, right? I'm completely delusional sometimes.) But the truth is, I feel like a serious newbie most of the time. And my poor kids ... well, there are times when I feel like they're just glorified guinea pigs, and I hope to God I don't irreversably screw them up through my various experimentations.

Take breastfeeding, for example. I tried nursing both my boys. Colin lasted about seven months; Cameron, a mere two or three weeks at best. I just couldn't do everything I needed to do with a baby perpetually hanging from my boob - and it was making me feel increasingly frustrated, irritable, and at times downright incompetent (like, "Why can other women do this and I'm just not with it?"). So I made the switch to formula and started feeling like myself again. But then there were these articles about how formula-fed babies get sick more often ... and are more likely to be obese adults ... and blah blah blah. I guiltily pictured a grown-up Cameron, fat and unhappy, racking up huge doctor bills and falling into horrible debt due to a faulty immune system - all because I didn't follow through with the breastfeeding thing. Ugh.

And this potty training method that I just tried: we're five days in, and this morning - no matter how much I insisted I wouldn't - I caved and put Cameron back into a diaper. I hate to admit it, but I just don't think he's ready. Sure, he pees about 70% of the time when we actually put him on the potty, but he's no closer to initiating its use by himself - like, he doesn't just run to the potty chair when he needs to go, or indicate it to us in any way. I don't think he could pull pants up and down if he had them on. And frankly, the past five days of constant trips to the potty, confinement to the house, and cleaning up countless messes has been exhausting. I can't do anything that needs more than a minute or two of my attention, for fear that I'll miss the next opportunity to plop him on the pot. But true to form, before I made the decision to put the diaper back on him, I Googled "putting toddler back in diapers." And what result did that bring me? A website for - I'm not kidding - adults who have a diaper fetish.

... Yeah. I know. And they were all, "My fetish started when I peed my pants and my parents put me back in diapers," or similar stories ... so what do I picture now? Grown-up Cameron, of course, parading across the stage at the Jerry Springer Show in a diaper ... or maybe just creepily sitting at his computer in some crazy adult-baby chat room, wearing a pair of urine-saturated Depends. I mean, who knows, maybe diaper-wearing adults are perfectly functioning members of society ... but I'd like to keep my kids as close to "normal" as possible, thanks.

Logically, I know that most of my parenting choices - even those that go awry - aren't going to lead to such dramatic consequences. But on a serious note, it scares me to think that people can come from perfectly average households and two-parent families and still battle with drug addictions ... deviant or self-destructive behaviors ... emotional problems ... you get the picture. Is it the "luck of the draw," so to speak? Some inborn trait that just naturally predisposes people to that stuff no matter what their parents do? Or is it the parents' fault? Could one tiny little parental slipup, even a seemingly insignificant one - like my putting Cameron back in diapers, for example - have some sort of ripple effect into adulthood?

I guess my biggest question is this: will I ever stop questioning my parenting choices and feel like a mom who actually knows what she's doing?


  1. OK, let's try this again...I tried to comment earlier, but I am a spaz and I lost the comment. Here goes :

    So.....pregnant much? Poor thing, I do believe that your hormones might be getting you today. I don't think that you are doing your children any future mental or emotional long term damage. Your baybay may just not be ready for going peepee in the potty yet. He seems to be definitely going in the right direction...just not QUITE there yet. Maybe you could take him to the potty every morning when he wakes up, before and after naptime, and then before bed. So that way he at least gets used to using the potty. But, I am sure that he will come around soon enough.

  2. Are you me? Seriously, I feel like I could have written this post myself. From breast feeding, to potty training, to my fears on the therapy that my kids will need in the future, there wasn't a single thing here that I couldn't relate to you on.

    Not a single thing!


  3. Rita - you really do crack me up - you're so funny! The constant questioning is what being a parent is all about isn't it?? If we weren't questioning then we wouldn't be doing it right. It sounds like you're doing just fine to me. And if Colin or Cameron end up in diapers on the Jerry Springer show - then so be it. And as for potty training - leave it a while - and don't beat yourself up - he still is very little. I've only just been successful with Edie and she'll be 3 in November... x

  4. Nope. You will never stop questioning whether or not you are making the right choices or doing the right thing for your kids. I think it's actually part of what makes you a good mom. At least that's what I keep telling myself:)

  5. Thanks you guys! You know, before you're a parent, people sometimes tell you vaguely that "it's a hard job." But no one ever told me how much time I would spend second-guessing everything! Glad to know I'm not alone. :)

  6. You know you are a grat mom - don't stress out too much about the things you read - I know many people who were formula feed & they are neither sick or obese.

  7. I think you and Curtis are great parents, and Cam just isn't ready to be potty-trained yet. Whether it's pottying, breast-feeding, or something else, you're better off not doing it if it creates extra stress for you. A stress-free mom is the best gift you can give your kids! (And that advice is straight from your laid-back Momma!)

  8. A) my kids were all formula fed (I never had any milk) and they are neither overweight nor sick. Seriously, I think we've had about 4 days of illness between all three of them ever.
    B) Don't push potty training. That can be worse than just being in diapers longer because it stresses you out as well as your kid. When he is ready you'll know and it will be easy to get through it. Also, I have had two kids in diapers for the past two years (with a few months off between my oldest being trained and my third being born), and it is no big deal. Cleaning up messes on the floor is way harder than just wiping a few butts once in a while. C) give yourself a break. The only way to raise kids is with love. Be confident they will meet or exceed your best expectations, and they will. And I am an expert - haha!

  9. My son wasn't potty trained till he was 4. He knew what it was for and he knew how to use it. He just refused. I tried everything, sitting him on it, letting him stand up and aim at cheerios, but nothing worked.

    I felt like a failure, because my mom kept getting on my case about it. She kept telling me that I wasn't trying hard enough and blah blah blah.

    Then one day he just looked at me and said that he had to use the bathroom. He went and never looked back. I can count on one hand how many accidents he's had since that day. Granted it took another week to convince him that he needed to poop in the potty as well as pee, but he did it when he was ready.

    Don't beat yourself up over it. I used to. Especially when I talked to mothers whos kids were potty trained by the age of 2. Then one day I talked to someone whos child was the same age as mine before they got out of diapers. Just knowing that I wasn't the only one made a huge difference.


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