“This baby is a rainbow of parental neglect”

Listen, sometimes your kid is going to get herself covered in magic marker. Sometimes you’re running late, and you don’t have a lot of time to scrub it off. So yes, sometimes you’ve got to take her to daycare like that.

Does it make you a bad parent? No. Before I became a dad, would I have seen a kid covered in magic marker and worried that her parents weren’t doing their job? Maybe, sure. Am I worried that people might think the same thing about me? Not as much as this defensive post might suggest.

It’s a lot like shoes on the road. Before I had a kid, I used to get a really bad feeling whenever I saw a lone baby shoe in the street. I pictured toddlers getting snatched off the road, or quick getaways where there was no time to go back for the shoes.

Nowadays, of course, I know better. The fact is, kids in strollers like to take their shoes off and throw them away. That’s all there is to it. I’ve seen it happens dozens of times – and I’m glad I have, because the times you don’t see it happen are the times when you’ve got to go and buy new shoes.

The marker thing is a lot like that. Who cares if I felt the uncomfortable need to assure the woman at daycare that the blue, purple and yellow marks all over my daughter’s body weren’t bruises? She’ll have a bath tonight, and that’ll be the end of it.

There’s no such thing as perfection when it comes to parenting. You’re going to screw up a lot, and most of those screw-ups won’t exactly be the end of the world. If you can’t laugh at them, you’re in real trouble.

Posted in Friends and Family

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