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Breaking news – parents are fallible

Ok this may be because I’m overworked, underappreciated and generally grumpy but is it really news that the Cameron’s accidentally mislaid one of their children for 15 minutes?

Ok so I’ve never left one of mine behind so far (crosses fingers, touches wood) but that’s only because it’s one of those parenting things I am utterly paranoid about.  I spent most of Bigger’s first year petrified I’d drive off leaving the car seat and baby sitting on the pavement.

Irrational, absolutely but only because it is entirely possible.

And you know what, it is nice to see that the rich and famous can be rubbish parents too. 

We have all had moments of utterlydire parenting and at least now parenting might be being reported in an honest warts-and-all way rather than the newspapers pretending that everyone else doesn’t let their children watch Cbeebies, watches dewy-eyed as their offspring play eductional games happily together and doesn’t have to resort to bribery or threats to get them into bed before Newsnight starts.

Because you know what, an awful lot of parenting isn’t about creating a perfect home life whilst juggling a high flying career and having the most romantic relationship in the world.  The reality is that it is messy, fraught and an awful lot of time is spent desperately trying to do the best you can whilst minimising the future counselling bills for both you and your offspring.

The thing to remember is that, assuming that you are trying to raise your children with love, they are awfully hard to damage.  Evolution has been really rather clever and made it so that babies are perfectly evolved to maximise their chances of survival (or why else would they start smiling at 8 weeks when parents hit a wall of exhaustion and realisation that they have to look after this screaming, irrational THING for the next 18 years at a MINIMUM!), childhood amnesia means most of the errors you make in the early years won’t ever be remembered and brought up over family dinners for ever and ever and ever and what children remember (go on, think back to your own childhood and tell me I’m wrong) is not the daily attempts to create a Boden catalogue life, but the security and mundane memories that come from being brought up in a loving home safe in the knowledge that they are the absolute centre of the universe to their parents.

So sorry if this is news to you but parents are falible but you know what, the human race hasn’t died out because of the occasional child left behind or mislaid for a few minutes. 

What this story shows is not that the Cameron’s are bad parents but that they are just like us and just like us they have discovered that in those scary few seconds when you realise you have utterly screwed up being a parent there is nothing quite like the kindness of strangers who step in and help out as your stomach lurches and your heart is in your mouth.

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4 comments to Breaking news – parents are fallible

  • Brilliantly put. It is so easy to lose sight of what’s really important in terms of getting it right as a parent. You’ve just reminded me.

  • Amen! So true about the smiling thing too. I have thought so many times: “You’re lucky you’re too cute to throw out a window!”

  • Mummawoo

    Really well put! I totally agree. Once I couldn’t find my 2 year old in a busy soft play centre, I panicked and told the staff, and immediately 3 staff all ran off in different directions in the soft play area and 2 minutes later one of them brought my daughter back to me.

    Great blog post x

  • Totally agree – what a non story. Thankfully many of the journalists commenting on this in the (sensible) press seemed to have the same viewpoint.

    I remember I once left LB2 asleep in the car for a good 15 minutes while I was happily unpacking the shopping and washing up in the kitchen. Eventually I remembered I had a baby that I hadn’t brought in with me. And, not a child, but I also left my expensive double stroller on the pavement in Clapham once – in fact it was one of the first things I ever blogged about….

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