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No Such Thing as a Perfect Parent

3 Things by Michael Mitchell, Life to her Years

3 Things by Michael Mitchell, Life to her Years

*This post is part of our special week-long Father’s Day series, featuring notable Dad writers. 


There’s no such thing as a perfect parent.

I’m a dad blogger who shares tips and life lessons to help other guys be the best dads possible to their little girls. I get emails almost daily from other dads and grown up daughters telling me their stories, and they usually end with something like, “Your daughter is so lucky.”

Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Sometimes I’m a pretty good dad. Sometimes I get it right. Sometimes magic is created, memories are etched in time, and I am the dad I write about on my blog. Sometimes I nail it.

And yet… sometimes I drink from a fountain of parenting suck. That’s right, I said it. Sometimes I suck as a dad.

Sometimes I say no, but my own permissiveness gets the best of me, and I don’t enforce it. Sometimes, I spend too much time looking at my phone and not enough time cherishing the fleeting moments of the childhood passing before my eyes faster than Usain Bolt on rollerblades. Sometimes I let my daughter watch Daniel Tiger and Sid the Science Kid on my iPad for two hours on a Saturday so I can sleep in. Sometimes I have no clue what I’m doing. Sometimes I can almost visualize my daughter sitting on a stranger’s couch paying $150 an hour to work through all of the ways I screwed up her life.

But here’s the deal. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. We all simply do the best we can. And that’s the point. If we do the best we can, genuinely love our kids, work to be present & attentive more than we’re not, and apologize when we screw up, our kids will be just fine.

Sometimes I suck as a parent. Sometimes I don’t. But most of the time, I do the best I can and trust that in the end, the good will outweigh the bad and everything will work out.

Usually, it does.



Which brings me to my next point. Don’t read parenting blogs.

But if you do, realize that the person behind that blog you love who seems to have it all together, doesn’t. Most parenting blogs, at least the popular ones, are as much fantasy as they are non-fiction. Even the best ones… the really good authentic blogs that manage to share both the triumphs and the spilled sippy cups of parenthood… likely omit more of the imperfection than they include. I know mine does.

Parenthood is a messy, challenging, painful, awesome, beautiful, amazing endeavor. It’s simultaneously one of the most rewarding and challenging things any of us will ever attempt. And as long as we all realize that most parenting blogs fail to convey the full spectrum of joy and pain associated with being responsible for the growth and development of another human being, no harm is done.

Okay okay… I take it back. You can read parenting blogs. Just make sure you read them with a couple heaping spoonfuls of perspective.


Guided Access (sorry Android users)

I was going to tell you all about my new favorite album and most likely candidate for the Mitchell family summer 2013 soundtrack, but then I realized that Modern Vampires of the City has already topped a lot of charts and you probably already own it.

So here’s what I’ve got for you: Guided Access.

What’s that you ask? An iOS 6 feature that lets you lock your kids into whatever app you happen to be letting them use? Yeah that’s right.

Junior can watch PBS Kids to her heart’s content and you don’t have to worry about her leaving the app to delete all of the important messages in your inbox. Did you hear about the kid who charged thousands in App Store purchases on mom’s phone while she thought he was playing Monkey Preschool Lunchbox?

Yeah. Don’t be that parent.

Contributor: Michael from Life to Her Years
Enjoy his blog.
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Buy his book when it comes out next spring just in time for Father’s Day 2014