There's a lot of things to feel bad about as a parent of small children: feeding your kid the "right" foods, sending them to the "right" school, not dropping them on their heads, etc. Here's some things you shouldn't feel bad about your child doing/having/getting:
- dirty fingernails.
- dirty faces.
- ah, hell, dirt IN GENERAL. Those small humans are untidy animals with not much in the way of hygiene-based instincts.
- dirty looks from people who have forgotten that A) they were children once and annoyed total strangers at some point also or B) see A).
- food/snot/other bodily fluids on your clothes. Most of the time, you won't notice anyway.
- loud noises in public spaces. Every kid has to have a meltdown in a grocery store. It's a right of passage. As long as YOU don't have a meltdown along with them, it's cool.
- saying inappropriate things loudly or directly to people's faces. That swear word or family secret or huge mole on your butt are fun conversation pieces as far as they're concerned. Blush and move on.
- being in the lowest/highest percentile; being behind/ahead/directly on top of the curve. Everyone's different and that's okay.
- bribing your kid. You said you'd never do it, and now you're doing it. You know why? It works.
- lack of the appropriate amount of clothing. Public nudity happens. Maybe it's the stage where their belly button is HILARIOUS, or maybe they're hiding from you by pulling their skirt over their head, or maybe they came out of the bathroom without their pants pulled up, but they're not going to get arrested for public indecency and neither are you.
- feeding them crappy food. There's not enough time to feed them homemade, organic, fresh, non-GMO, whole grain, dairy-free, gluten-free, non-processed food for every meal 365 days a year. Chicken McNuggets are weird and delicious.
- "screen time". Because you needed 10 minutes and Elmo knows his ABC's.
Granted, you shouldn't let all of these things slide every day, but do you remember that weird little thing you brought home from the hospital? I mean, that baby didn't even know how to eat yet. And now it's making noise and sometimes noises that are words and sometimes it even listens to directions or helps with stuff. You're making that weird little thing become a less weird, bigger thing and that's amazing. You get to show that baby how funny, loving, and entertaining the world can be. And that's overwhelming and hard work and tiring and fulfilling and 24/7/ALLTHEFREAKINGTIME and sometimes you need a coffee break.