We can all try and pretend we've got everything under control, but the reality is being a parent is demanding and time consuming.
We're often left apologising to our work mates, friends, family and children for not keeping every part of life under control. The struggle is real, but you shouldn't feel guilty. You're doing the best you can and should be proud of getting through each day. It's time to stop saying sorry all of the time.
Here are seven things parents need to stop apologising for right now:
1. Messy houses
If your house is a mess and someone in your life judges you for that, then they're not on your side. I bet you have a lot on your plate, and even if you don't, it's nobody's business if your home is untidy.
Keep on focusing on what's important to you and don't worry if having a clean house isn't top of your list.
2. Saying no
This is a really hard trait to learn. Many people think they're letting others down if they say no, particularly to their kids. But you're not. You are being honest with yourself about how much you can manage. By saying no it lets you focus on other priorities. Be clear and stand by your convictions.
3. How you look
If you have to drop your kids at school with your PJs under your clothes, then so be it. If you need to pop on a cap and sunglasses to hide your smudged make-up and feral hair, then that's ok too. If you haven't had time to shave your legs or cover your greys, who cares? Maybe that's not for you anyway. And if you've still got baby weight to lose and your kids are at high school, that's fine too.
Never feel ashamed at how you look, you are awesome.
4. Not buying treats
Don't let your kids' pressure you into buying things you can't afford and definitely don't let them make you feel bad if you say no. Simply explain to them that they can put it on their birthday list or pay for it with their own pocket money.
If it's a toddler, then sometimes saying yes will make life easier for you if you've already had a tough day. And then, do not apologise for giving in to them. You do what you need to survive – toddlers are monsters (not all of the time).
5. Being late
Getting places with children can be very time consuming. You can think you're getting ready with plenty of time to spare and then suddenly their shoes will go missing or your newborn will do a poo-plosion through their nappy onto the car seat. This doesn't mean you should always be late to things because that's just rude, but it does mean you should get a few free passes simply for having unpredictable co-dependents.
6. Missing out
You can't be everywhere and do everything. Sometimes your kids are going to miss out and they need to toughen up and understand their parents have a lot to manage. Same goes for out-of-hours work shows, friends' parties or family events – babysitting is expensive, kids get sick, other commitments come up and sometimes you are exhausted. Once your kids get older and can look after themselves then you'll be free to do more again. Until then, you need people around you who understand you're doing your best, but sometimes you have to turn down their invitations.
7. Working long hours
Without a job you can't put food on the table. It's pretty simple. So, if you have to work long hours or you work from home and you can't give your kids 100 per cent attention all of the time, that's okay.
Work might also be your saviour and passion. You shouldn't feel shame for dedicating time to it. Kids need to understand that their parents need to work for the family and for their sanity. And don't let anyone judge you for your choices – if you work at home looking after kids, then that is also a valid choice that should be respected.
Everyone should be celebrated for doing the best they can for their family. No need to apologise for living your life, your way.