We have to make choices all the time during our lives, and even though another human’s life hangs in the balance, parenting is no exception. We read the books, we listen to experts (and sometimes our mothers), but once we’re turned loose with that kid, it can still require quite a bit of winging it.

Here are 15 parents who are willing to confess to not being happy with one decision or another, so if you’re just starting out, here are some parenting decisions you might want to shy away from in the future.

15. Let them babble.

My biggest regret is telling my (now teenaged) toddler to sing real songs instead of letting her just sing nonsense.

14. That will definitely scar a kid.

When I was 7 my parents told me I killed my grandpa.

Here’s how the story goes: My mom and dad are super superstitious and they have this thing against white. In my culture white is used in funerals, so living people are not allowed to wear white on their heads (hats, bows, hair bands etc). Anyway so one day I was playing with white thread and it got stuck in my hair. As soon as my mom saw she ripped it out and yelled at me.

Within a week of this incident my grandpa (who was on the OTHER SIDE OF THE EARTH) died by slipping on something and hitting his head. My parents said that because I was playing with white thread on my head, that’s what caused my grandpa to die.


13. It’s easier to go down this road than you think.

My oldest is about to be 5 years old so I still have time for major mistakes but right now would be accidentally making my son dependent on me or my wife wiping his butt after a poo. He will do it himself at school but apparently at home it has to be someone else…this has led to some fun standoffs of us yelling that he can sit there until he wipes his butt.

12. They’ll always sing the dirty songs.

I love listening to music in the car and some of the music obviously features some naughty or dubious words. When I had my young son in the car I would always skip certain songs but occasionally one slipped through the net.

Cue Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon. He got home one day and parroted parts of the song and I was desperately trying to distract him so he would forget it but he didn’t.

I had the bright idea of trying to get him to change the word to something else. He was still in the early speaking stage so everything sounded slightly garbled. Anyway I had success with the word ‘Shed’

For about a day or so he then just wandered around singing about how his shed was on fire. Then he forgot and moved on to something else and my mortal fear of him saying it at childcare subsided. I have not played that song in my car since and it has been many years.

11. No one wins this battle.

Expecting my first to be potty trained way earlier and way easier than she actually was.

It turned me into an unrecognizable monster, to be completely honest. Not the kind of parent I strive to be. It was a complete, months-long, disaster.

Now potty training my second, and it helps so much that I’ve waited until she was almost 3.

10. As far as you know.

I let her hand go in Paris rush hour. >_<

She’s alive. She’s alive.

9. That last one couldn’t be helped.

My dad has a few answers

When they had my older brother, he was a tiny baby and was lying on my parents’ bed. My dad got on the bed, and the baby went flying off the bed and landed on the floor. They claim that’s the only time they dropped any of us on our head, or in general.

The other answer was having twins… (I am one of those twins)

8. Life knowledge.

The other day some lady cut me off and then stopped in the middle of the lane to turn left despite there being a turn lane. I yelled YOU F*CKING A$SHOLE!

Then I hear this tiny voice come from the back of my car “What’s a f**king a**hole?” And that was the day I taught my 2.5 y/o the word f*cking and the word a**hole.

7. That’s one awkward moment.

The first time we took our son out we went to a place called Mothercare which is a store for baby clothes and toys, and this particular place had a large display area filled with various prams and pushchairs.

We parked our newborn in his shitty hand-me-down pram nearby because he couldn’t fit among the sea of display models and gleefully found the Pushmaster 5000 or whatever it was that we had our eye on and then went through the process of buying it and organising when would be a good time to pick up our purchase at a later date.

We then left the shop and we were 10 minutes up the road before we remembered we had a baby and that we’d left him behind.

6. What a gem.

My wife took a six hour road trip with our three kids when the youngest was a newborn, and the oldest was only 6. She called halfway through the drive. The baby was screaming, she was stuck in deadlock traffic, and was losing her mind. She said, “I can’t f*cking do this.”

Then I heard my 6 year old say, “Mom, you can f*cking do this!”

5. No way to change it now.

Choosing my first wife to be the mother of my oldest child. She was beautiful and interesting but she had severe mental health problems that she flat out refused to treat in any way except for large amounts of alcohol and copious piles of Xanax.

I tried for a few years to make things work but after coming home to find that she’d sent the nanny home, gotten trashed and passed out on the kitchen floor while my two year old was totally unsupervised, we packed up and left. She hasn’t even bothered staying in touch and is still exactly the same 16 years later.

I wish I’d chosen a more stable, mentally sound person to marry and have a child with. It’s caused my daughter a lot of anxiety and worry.

4. You mean they don’t outgrow that?

Thinking that 5 year olds don’t put weird shit in their mouth anymore. Mine tried to eat the lense from a baby monitor camera. He bit it, and it shattered. I couldn’t find all the pieces and he wasn’t sure if he swallowed any. That was a fun ER trip.

He’s fine and didn’t swallow any.

3. They never shut up no matter what.

When my first son was a few months old, I took him out to the woods to get some air and see how he reacts to the birds and trees and dirt and stuff. Soon I had a curious idea, because I know babies have really great grip strength. I put him up to a low, thin branch (so if he fell he wouldn’t fall too far) and put his hands against the branch. Sure enough he latched on. Then I slowly let go and admired my creation. A baby on a branch. Magnificent. Then I wondered if he’d be able to do a pullup. I said, “do a pullup.” He didn’t. Probably because he was only four months old and couldn’t understand English very well. Then I picked him up again and pulled his hands off the branch. I let him play in the dirt for a while and then we went home.

About a year later when he started talking, I started giving him cookies whenever he would say “daddy.” I think that triggered some sort of Pavlovian response, because now he won’t shut up.

2. You’ve gotta catch that stuff.

Not getting my son evaluated for his speech earlier. Now he’s in disabled preschool getting speech twice a week and OT because he is kinda clumsy.

1. Sleep deprivation is rough.

I have two kids. One is almost 2, and the other was born at the start of February. A few days ago I put the older child in bed while my fiancee put the new baby to sleep. She then went to take a shower while I was watching tv (mostly screwing around online with the TV making noise in 5he background).

A few minutes later I heard a baby crying, and assumed it was the tv. Then noticed a baby crying didn’t fit with what was happening on TV. As I was wondering where the sound was coming from, I noticed it was too young sounding to be our two year old, so I thought maybe the TV was on in another room, and ignored it for a couple more minutes.

Then I finally remembered that we have two kids now. For a few minutes I completely forgot one of my children existed

We all make mistakes. Apologize, and save up for therapy.

It’s really all we can do.