My top ten parenting fails

A man in a facepalm pose with the words "My top ten parenting fails" superimposed.

I returned to the scene I associate with my first big parenting faux pas recently. Fortunately, there was no repeat of what happened but the place still makes me wince.

Since then, I’ve notched up plenty of parenting fails. Starting with that first one – and in no particular order as they’re all bad – here are my top ten.

Interestingly, none of them involve Amelie. I would say that this is because I’ve finally learned my lessons, but that’s not likely. Oh well, that leaves this open to a sequel…

Sock it to ’em

When Dylan was a couple of months old, I took him to an event billed as a parent and baby kind of thing. It turned out to be a sports day for toddlers so I took him home. Somewhere along the way, I lost his socks. Then, to add injury to insult, I accidentally banged his head on a door frame while performing a sniff test on his nappy.

The best laid plans

The catalogue of parenting fails that occurred when I planned a nice day with a two-year-old Xander can mostly be blamed on him. Then again, I neglected to take into consideration the fact that he thinks he’s Loki, the Norse god of mischief. Never underestimate your opponents, people.

Two little boys looking unhappy next to a photo machine

Picture perfect?

Ahead of our first family holiday we obviously needed to get passports for the boys. Kids like having their photos taken, so getting suitable pictures would be a doddle, right? Erm, not quite. I still shudder every time we walk past the photo booths in our local shopping centre…

Money down the drain

It’s just as well I don’t keep a tally of the money we’ve wasted on pointless things. Like, for example, a bucket with a rubber headband designed for getting water into hair and not eyes at bath time. It failed to serve its purpose so we may as well have just rolled up a fiver and shoved it through the plug hole.

For fox snake

We all remember our child’s first swear word and Xander’s was one of the worst. I was changing his nappy when he decided to get up and run off. I sighed and he filled in the rest of my sentence for me. Yes, it was the long form of FFS, just as Dylan walked into the room. Brilliantly, I thought, I said “Yes, fox, snake… which is the other baddie in The Gruffalo?” Still worthy of a place in my list of parenting fails, mind…

A mocked-up road sign showing two children running away from their dad.

School daze

How difficult can a short walk with two children be? Well if they’re my kids, nigh-on impossible. This sorry episode includes behaviour worthy of Lord of the Flies, puddle jumping and hiding in toilets.

Flip flop

This one includes a similar offence to a previous one. It started with an innocent attempt to make pancakes and ended with a small fire, a huge spillage and my first born repeatedly shouting an obscenity. All my own work too.
An edited image of a Furby speaking Latin

Furby folly

When a kind PR offered me a Furby to show off how long a certain brand of batteries lasted, I said yes please immediately. Fools rush in. Of course, the boys loved the thing. Me, not so much. As it happens, I found it ‘hiding’ in the loft the other day.

Soft play school of hard knocks

Most parents hate soft play and I’m no exception. My first trip to our local one involved scenes reminiscent of The Wicker Man, a close call with four overfilled coffees and an injury sustained on a rope swing that probably wasn’t designed for me.

A post shared by Tom Briggs (@diaryofthedad) on

Having a ball

I have so far failed to learn my lesson about the perils of indoor play. Since that fateful first trip I have blotted my copy book more than once at home. First of all, I smashed my little toe on the futon playing football in the living room. Then I taught the boys to play dodgeball at bedtime. Idiot.

So there you go. Injuries, swearing toddlers, lost property, wasted money and a small fire. I’m strangely proud.

What have been your biggest parenting fails?


  1. Kath

    These are great!

    I remember one time I was at shopping shopping and and my son (then 2) was given a balloon on a stick. The balloon kept falling off the stick and by the end of the day I was so fed up I took it off him and threw it in the nearest bin… clearly there were tears and the looks I got from other parents were priceless!

    I shudder each time I think of it.

    Thank you for reminding me of this again! 😉

  2. Gareth Torrance

    Oh my god, that first swear word story was great! Possibly the funniest I’ve ever heard…

    With my daughter, we’re speaking both English and Turkish (my OH’s native language). One day, when the mother in law was over from Turkey, my daughter smacked me in the face with one of her toys, so without thinking, I said “pislik”, which is a Turkish light swear word.

    My daughter smiled, looked me in the eye, and said it right back to me… It was hilarious!

  3. Pingback: The Best Daddy Bloggers To Follow in 2017 | Play Like Mum

  4. Pingback: Competitive parenting? No thanks | Parenting | Diary of the Dad

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.