Parenting and Perfection: Is it Normal to Feel Like a Failure?

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Raising a child is one of the most rewarding, yet challenging experiences in life. It’s a constant journey of learning, adapting, and growing. However, at times, it can also bring about feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and the unsettling question: “Am I failing as a parent?” As the best Grief Therapist, Sameera Sachdev, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone and it’s perfectly normal.

Understanding ‘Parental Guilt’

The feeling of failure as a parent is often derived from what is commonly referred to as ‘parental guilt.’ It’s an emotional state where parents may feel inadequate or believe that they’re not doing enough for their children. This guilt can stem from various factors, including societal pressure, personal expectations, or comparison with other parents.

Why Do We Feel Like Failures?

There are numerous reasons why parents might feel like they’re failing:

High Expectations and Comparison

In an era of social media and information overload, it’s easy to compare ourselves to the “perfect” images of parenting we see online. These can create unrealistic expectations that when unmet, result in feelings of inadequacy.

Constant Judgement

Parents often face judgement and unsolicited advice from friends, family, or even strangers. This continuous scrutiny can lead to self-doubt and the feeling of being a ‘failure.’

Balancing Multiple Roles

Many parents juggle multiple roles – career professional, spouse, friend, caregiver, and more. When we struggle to maintain balance, it can lead to feelings of failing in one or more areas, including parenting.

How to Navigate Parental Guilt?


Feelings of failure are a part of the parenting journey, but they don’t have to consume you. Here are some strategies to navigate through these challenging emotions:

Practice Self-Compassion

Remember, everyone makes mistakes, and no parent is perfect. Practice self-compassion. Acknowledge your feelings without judgement and treat yourself with kindness and understanding.

Set Realistic Expectations

Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. Understand that every child is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to raising children.

Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Speaking with a professional, joining a parenting support group, or confiding in a trusted friend can provide comfort, perspective, and practical strategies.

Remember to Self-Care

Parenting is a demanding job, and it’s easy to forget about your own needs. Regular self-care is crucial in maintaining your physical and emotional health, making you a more resilient and patient parent.

In Conclusion

Feeling like a failure is a common part of the parenting journey, but it doesn’t define your abilities as a parent. Remember, it’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to ask for help. And most importantly, it’s okay to be an imperfect parent. After all, parenting isn’t about perfection; it’s about love, understanding, and growing alongside your child. If you’re struggling with feelings of failure and need support, don’t hesitate to reach out. Remember, you’re doing better than you think.

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