How do you define succes as a parent? How do you define failure? In general I think parents these days are way too hard on themselves when judging their own parenting skills. Hey, there is no manual and even if there is, it is a one size fits all which we know does not apply to our circumstances.
My defining moment as a failure of a parent came to me like this. I was single parenting at the time, working a full time demanding job and trying doubly hard in the corporate world to make up for that time when I had the luxury of being a stay at home mom. My ex had moved to a far away state and I had absolutely no family in the area to offer assistance. So I was in the thick of it. Me, myself and I. My life basically revolved around the kids and I would not have had it any other way. I rarely dated (I would have but only if there had been interesting prospects and none presented themselvs very often) and my social life with other friends was really very minimal simply because there wasn't time.
But the kids were a little older now; about 8 and 10. I have always enjoyed the academic world. My degree was in Russian Studies and Spanish. I was working in the business world and had never taken a single business class. My employer offered a tuition reimbursement program and the kids were becoming fairly independent. Why not? I thought I could afford one night a week away from them to take a masters level class and it could double as some socialization with other adults as well.
On Sundays I usually tried to have the house in order so we could start another week off on a good organized foot. My classes usually ended up being on a Tuesday or Wednesday night and usually by the time I got home from my class the house had already begun to look like a war zone. I tried hard to anticipate needs and throw dinner into the crock pot on the night I would be gone to school or at least make sure that there was lunch meat available for sandwiches and milk that wasn't sour but I wasn't always successful .
About my 3rd semester into the program, I diligently called home during the class break, as was my routine, to check on the kids. "Moooommmm" my son whined. "Can you stop at McDonalds on your way from school and bring us some real food?"
That's when I knew without a doubt that I had failed as a parent. My son thought McDonalds was real food!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!