Parenting Failures & How to Avoid Them

Parenting failures are impossible to avoid, period! If you are still waiting for your first bun-in-the-oven to finish cooking, you may think parenting is going to be a breeze. Even if it’s your second, third or fourth time around, you’re in for an adventure. It will be a great one (we promise) but it won’t come without its challenges.

We polled our BabyQuip QPs (most of which are experienced mamas) to get some insight on the hilarious ways you can ‘fail’ as a parent. We’ve had our ups and downs and want to help you make better choices than we did! So, sit back, grab a cup of tea, laugh out loud at our mistakes and learn from our parenting failures!

Keep emergency phone numbers and other important numbers handy.

pediatrician checking on small boy

Emergencies and accidents can easily catch you off guard. We all know 911, but think about posting the numbers for poison control and your pediatrician on the refrigerator or programming them in your phone. Keeping them visible and accessible in the home is also great for babysitters.

Here is one ‘emergency’ situation where poison control was needed:

When Jennifer Wold’s son was two years old she had to call poison control. She says, “I squirted a HUGE glob of hand sanitizer in his hand and assumed he would rub it in his hands. (You know, like the hundred other times I had him use it.) Instead, he licked it right off his hand. He was immediately horrified at the taste but had already swallowed it. When I called poison control they told me he might seem drunk for an hour or so but he would be totally fine. Thank goodness he was!”

Communicate everything to avoid parenting failures!

family portrait
image courtesy of Vanessa Bailey

Vanessa Bailey had a similar event with poison control—also with a good outcome. She tells us, “We overdosed one of our kids on Tylenol. I gave him a dose and ten minutes later my husband came and told me he gave him a dose! Poison control said it wasn’t a problem and assured us it happens ALL the time, but we felt so bad and stupid regardless. We always check with each other now, lol.”

Use fingernail clippers with caution!

children at the playground
image courtesy of Michelle Soto

Mama of four children, Michelle Soto, says she has SO many parenting failures. Here’s her baby #4 mistake, “when I brought my fourth baby home from the hospital (old pro right?) she kept scratching me and the little mittens were not working, so I thought, heck, I’ve trimmed so many nails by now, easy peasy, right? Nope, very first clip on her very first finger drew blood…sigh. We all make mistakes!”

Bottom line—clippers are sharp and baby’s fingernails are thin and delicate. It’s actually pretty easy to accidentally clip some skin when clipping fingernails. There are products on the market that can help prevent cuts like this. We like the NailFrida SnipperClipper Set and the ZoLi BUZZ B Electric Nail Trimmer.

If you do accidentally clip skin that results in blood, just remember that bandaids are a no, no! Babies put their hands in their mouths ALL the time. Bandaids in mouths are a definite choking hazard, so don’t use them. These nips are typically minor and can be cleaned and handled at home, but if the cut is severe, contact a medical professional.

Pro parenting tip: Clip nails while baby is asleep so there is no squirming!

How clean should baby be? First child parenting failure!

happy children sitting on chairs
image courtesy of Amber Arehart

It’s fun to look back at your brand new parenting failures and laugh! BabyQuip Quality Provider, Amber Arehart’s first baby was going to be Clean with a capital C—no matter what!

She says, “With my first kid, I would bathe him every other night. NO BATH NIGHTS MISSED EVER!!! He was a couple of weeks/months old and it was bath night. But he had fallen asleep in the car. Hubs and I discussed if we should wake him, or leave him to sleep. We both decided it was for the better IF WE WOKE HIM! He was not impressed. Babe number 3 got one bath a month until he started playing in the dirt and needed it more often!”

Don’t feel like you need to give your baby a bath everyday or even every other day. Did you know it’s actually good for baby’s skin to not be cleaned too often? Bathing or washing too often can dry out the skin and may worsen eczema. This is actually a bonus as a new parent because you don’t have to fit frequent bath times into your busy schedule!

Be prepared for blowouts—always!

baby covering eyes when hearing about parenting failures

Poo strikes most often when you’re not ready for it. You should obviously keep extra diapers, wipes and baby clothes in your diaper bag, but think about stashing them in all sorts of places like your vehicle’s glove box, your purse, in your spouse’s car, in the stroller, etc. You’ll get a laugh out of these situations where moms forgot diapers!

Jenny Farr says “I forgot to check the diaper bag to ensure there were still diapers in it. We had to ride home with a towel under our baby’s butt in the car seat once because I was out of diapers. And thank God the other time there was a swim diaper in the beach bag I still had in the car. Live and learn. Took me twice to remember to check if there were enough diapers, LOL!”

Cynthia Gardner says, “When my daughter was 7 months old, we took an afternoon river boat tour and I only brought one spare diaper. Well, it was used pretty much right away. Soon after, she pooped. My only option was to shake it out in the toilet and put it back on her for the remaining couple of hours. Mom fail! Always bring plenty of extra everything!”

Related Articles:

More funny blowout stories…

baby sitting at a table
image courtesy of Crystal Steinberg

Crystal Steinberg says, “The time I forgot a back up outfit was my grandmother’s funeral and I dressed my 8 month old in a crisp white shirt and navy trousers. When I got to the cemetery and opened the door to the van, I was hit with an overwhelming poop smell. It was a poo-splosion, way up his back, all over the car seat and everywhere. Of course, I forgot an extra outfit. I had a wrap so I tried to wear him, but of course he was super wiggly and hanging his arms out and leaning way back. My son paid his respects naked. It was a beautiful service, my Grandmother wouldn’t have minded and she probably got a good laugh at this rookie mama. She was mama to nine children, 35 grandchildren and I don’t even know how many great grandchildren!”

Holly Long says, “A few mornings in a row, my three year old woke up completely soaked! I couldn’t figure out why he was so wet. On day three, I realized we had been putting him to bed in swim diapers!”

Don’t panic! Sometimes things aren’t as bad as they seem.

baby happily sitting on steps
image courtesy of Morgan Konkel

Morgan Konkel recalls an ‘exciting’ event when her son was 17 months old. She told us, “he got his chubby little thigh stuck in the rails of his crib. I called 911 and about 10 firefighters and police officers appeared at my doorstep to help get his leg out. Pretty sure a little lotion would have done the trick!”

Go ahead, get your chuckles out, but this is a pretty common occurrence with older babies and young toddlers who are still in cribs. They all have adorably fat little legs that often get stuck in the slats. Try lathering up those thunder thighs with lotion, butter or coconut oil then prying the slats apart before calling 911!

When we asked Morgan what happened when the authorities arrived, she said, “they were really nice! Two men kinda pried apart each bar and pulled his leg free. It was just embarrassing how many of them came. But, we live in a smallish town so that was probably the most excitement they had all day!”

Avoid this parenting failure by learning how to buckle a baby in a car seat before you drive home from the hospital!

baby in car seat - total parenting failure for buckling
image courtesy of Jennifer Wold

Take a class, practice with a doll (or your friend’s baby), watch a YouTube video or read a step-by-step article on how to get it right the first time. It’s SO important to securely fasten your baby in a safety seat each and every time.

One mom (me in this case, ugh) was so sure that she could get her baby buckled properly, even after the nurse at the hospital offered to help, that she buckled her son by herself. WOW! What’s worse is that I didn’t even realize it was wrong until I saw the picture days later. Lucky for me we only lived two blocks from the hospital. He’s 12 now and alive, BTW!!!! Avoid this rookie mistake at all costs.

**If you’re a newbie and don’t see what’s wrong in the picture, note that the baby’s knees are under the lap strap. That strap should be tightened securely around the baby’s waist, not over his knees.

Keep an open mind when making parenting decisions. Sometimes things change, and that’s okay!

baby on bed - mom recalls parenting failure
image courtesy of Kinsley Earl

At some point you may come to the conclusion that a decision you make isn’t the best. Be flexible and change your mind if it’s going to make things better or easier. Guess what?! You don’t even need to explain yourself.

May expectant parents make decisions and choices on how they will parent before baby ever arrives. Kinsley Earl was victim to this!

She says, “Before my first child was born, I knew exactly how we’d handle the sleeping arrangements. I had done LOTS of research and I was convinced that for our family, separate rooms were the way to go. Our baby, Taylor, would have her own crib, in her own room, and we would all sleep better for it. I was bound and determined to get her sleeping in her own room, from Day 1. 

So, on Day 1, we brought our little peanut home from the hospital and laid her down in her new crib, in her new room…and on Day 3, in a sleep-deprived haze of desperation, we ordered a bassinet. Taylor wasn’t having the crib, or her own room—at all. And we weren’t sleeping—at all.

When the bassinet arrived and we laid her down in it next to our bed for the first time, it was like someone flipped a switch. Tay slept well, in stretches of four to six hours every night, only waking up for feedings. Within a few months, she was sleeping through the night, and so were her grateful parents!”

Parenting failures summary.

young girl laughing at parenting failures

It’s easy to think you’re going to be supermom before your new baby arrives (or even after your first or second kid), but it’s typically pretty far from reality. Remember—even though it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ll make mistakes during parenting, you are far from a failure!

We want to hear about your parenting failures! Please share in the comments below.


  1. Lauren Apps

    September 10, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Leaving the house without the diaper bag is like my own personal game of Russian roulette! 2 kids in and I still can’t help but try it every once and a while, although I usually lose. Haha!

    1. Jennifer Wold

      September 10, 2019 at 11:29 am

      Ha ha!! It’s so easy to think you won’t need it. 🙂

Leave a Reply