Sorry-Not-Sorry: 6 Things Parents Should NEVER Apologize For

The stress and pressure of parenting are no joke. Admittedly, I probably should have known that bringing a whole other person into the world would come with the potential for some mistakes. But I was not at all prepared for the level of self-doubt that seems to come hand-in-hand with parenting. Even for folks who are all about embracing their inner Ms. Frizzle, it can be jarring. BUT, after being at this for a lil while, I have come to realize that just because you are making ALL the mistakes and getting (hot)messy, it doesn’t mean you need to spend your whole life saying sorry. In fact, I would argue, there are a fair number of things that parents should never apologize for.

Here are a few.

Things Parents Should Never Apologize For

1. The Way You Feed Your Kid

breastfeeding burp cloth things parents should never apologize for
📷 Jocelyn P.

Oftentimes, as a parent, it truly does not matter what you choose to do, someone is going to judge you for it. And feeding your kids is a perfect example of this. It is truly mind-boggling to me that anyone aside from my child could take such a strong stance on how they are being fed, but here we are.

If you breastfeed, you are spoiling them. If you bottle-feed, you should be breastfeeding. If you take them out for dinner, you are lazy. Heaven forbid you have the audacity to breastfeed a baby where someone else may see you… you know someone is going to be like:

There is no winning here. So do what works for you and your littles on any given day. As long as your kids are fed, how that happens is something parents should never apologize for or justify to anyone else.

2. Your Parenting

Photographer: Kelli McClintock | Source: Unsplash

This one is another minefield. And a minefield that outsiders seem more than willing to wade into with unsolicited opinions. Which can leave even veteran parents feeling extremely miffed.

unsolicited parenting advice
Source: @kidsaretheworst

Bedtime routines, screen time, discipline, values, boxers or briefs. You make about a gazillion choices a day that center around teaching and raising your tiny human. Uncertainty is part of the game and sometimes parents are tempted to apologize for the decisions they make.

Are you going to make the right call every time? Absolutely not. Should you admit that you were wrong and apologize to your kids when you do make a mistake? Absolutely, yes. No one is a perfect parent. But you owe no apologies to anyone outside of your household about how you choose to parent your littles.

3. Your Kid’s Behavior

tantrum kids things parent should never apologize for
Photographer: Timothy Eberly | Source: Unsplash

We seem to forget that kids are people. They are tinier and more adorable than most people. But they are still people with thoughts, opinions, and feelings. They are also people who have good days and bad days. Just like us. By forgetting this important fact, we tend to hold kids to unreasonable standards when it comes to their behaviour. And because they don't have the skills to cope as well as adults with their bad days, meltdowns and misery ensue.

But absolutely none of this is a reflection of you as a parent. Even if their behaviour is rooted in something you did or didn’t do, they are still their own person and they are going to make behaviour decisions that are out of your control.

Obviously, we should always be doing our best to teach them coping skills and morals so that they can learn behaviour that better aligns with our values as a family. There may even be times when you need to explain this to someone or gently remind them that your little one is still learning how to human. But your kid having a meltdown or misbehaving is not in your direct control and is, therefore, one of the things parents should never feel the need to apologize for.

4. Missing Out

things parents should never apologize for
Photographer: George Pagan III | Source: Unsplash

They say there are seven wonders of the world, but I disagree. The undisputed 8th wonder is any parent who has the ability to leave their home with their womb goblins in a timely manner without incident. Leaving the comfort of your home- and all the gear and goodies you need to feed, diaper, and clean up after your kids- is no joke. Let’s not even talk about the degree of thought and energy it takes to plan around nap times, potty breaks, and other staples in your babe’s daily routine.

All of this adds up to missing out on time with friends, family, and other social events that would have been an automatic “yes” before. And that is 100% okay. Sometimes you can’t swing it. Sometimes your kids need their routine more than they need to go to their cousin’s birthday party. Setting limits on your precious time and saying no when you need to is another thing parents should never apologize for.

I’d also like to petition to add not apologizing for being late anymore (for all the reasons outlined above)… but that may be being greedy.

5. Needing Time for Yourself

self care parents reusable menstrual pads

You will find a lot of content out there related to self-care for parents out there on the interwebs. And for good reason. Parents need to do things just for themselves now and then.

And when I say “for yourself” I mean really, really for yourself. Not, “Oh I will leave the kids with my partner while I grocery shop.” Or, “Oh I will take a shower without the kids interrupting me.” Those things are undoubtedly awesome and 100% necessary too, but they are just necessary tasks made easier.

What I’m talking about is taking the time to do something that no one else in your house is going to benefit from but you. It is undoubtedly a luxury and not something most can swing often. But it is necessary and is something parents should never apologize or feel guilty for.

6. Not Loving Everything About Being a Parent

Photographer: Juliane Liebermann | Source: Unsplash

“Soak up every moment because before you know it they will be grown!”

“The nights are long but the years are short!”

Are these phrases accurate and well-meaning? Probably. Do they also seem systematically designed to make every parent feel guilty? Heck. Yes.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: parenting. Is. No. Joke. It is beautiful but exhausting. Joyful but infuriating. Wonderful and hard. And it goes without saying that parents love their kids. We appreciate the crap out of everything our offspring bring to our lives. We don’t take for granted the fact that we have them and that there are many who aren’t so lucky. Most of us chose this path and understand that responsibility and a certain amount of self-sacrifice are part of the package.

But we also don’t stop being human when our babies are born. And being patronized, dismissed, having your feelings minimized, or your needs ignored when you are struggling should not be as normalized as it is for parents.

Anyone who tells you that they enjoy everything about being a parent is lying to you. No one enjoys wiping someone else's butt. No one.

So not soaking in every single millisecond, or even occasionally looking wistfully back at your pre-kid life does not make you a bad parent and is definitely one of the things that parents should never apologize for.


About the Author

Amanda is a teacher and mom of two from small-town Ontario. When she isn’t struggling to keep up with her boys, you can find her reading, crocheting, or writing poop-jokes for Lil Helper’s website, emails, and blog.


What do you think? Did we get something wrong? What other things do you think parents should stop apologizing for? Let me know in the comments below.

10 Tips for Growing Veggie Loving Kids

At Lil Helper, we love supporting you in all things parenting. Something a lot of us worry about is feeding. We’ve aimed to make a wide range of products to help with this from breast pads to burp cloths and biggie bibs to smockets. But we know as kids get older, we especially want to make sure they eat their vegetables. This week, Kim from On Your Table is sharing her best tips for raising veggie loving kids. Read on for her helpful and fun ideas!


We all want our kids to love vegetables!  As parents, we have to remember that their love for veggies will be learned over many years – not over single meals, days, or even months.  However, if we want veggie loving kids it takes time and, we have some tasks that can make a big difference in the process!

As you may have heard, it can take 30 or more single exposures to a particular food for a child to learn to like it. The number of exposures can vary for every person.

The key is the word EXPOSURE.

Exposure means helping children to experience a food in many preparations and many ways over a long period of time.   The goal is not for kids to take a bite!  The goal is to build comfort by seeing, smelling, feeling, licking, biting, and eventually eating that food.  When it comes to helping kids learn to eat – and even to love – their veggies, it’s all about playing the long game!

So how do we help this to happen?!  I have 10 tips to get you onto the right track.  It’s important to remember that this isn’t a complete list of strategies, but it’s a great way to get started!

Start by having vegetables around! 

Pass the cucumber please! – Sarah S.

Kids need frequent and varied exposure to build comfort and interaction.  Have your kids help you pick out vegetables to buy, and ask them to unload groceries with you.  Try leaving produce visible on the counter (when safe), ask your kids to pass the vegetables to you when preparing a meal, and be sure to add veggie options to all meals – even breakfast!

Get vegetables onto your kids’ plates, every single time they are served! 

Serve meals family style!  Pass bowls around the table so everyone gets a guaranteed look and smell, and make it a family rule that some of every food is on everyone’s individual plate.  A vegetable serving can be as small as one single pea!  We just want them getting close to their veggies as a starting point.  Think of it like making a new friend!

Don’t push your kids to take a bite!  

Sometimes just holding the kale is a win! – Jessica T.

I know, it sounds crazy.  Isn’t that the whole point? Yes, however – the more pressure we put on our kids to eat the foods we desperately want them to eat, the less likely they are to try them.  Our job as parents is to make vegetables readily available, make them fun, help our kids to engage with them in other ways (see point #1!), and then let them taste on their own time, when they are ready.

Lead by example! 

What we model for our kids’ day in and day out is one of the strongest indicators of their future behavior.  Even if you don’t like a vegetable, it’s helpful if they see you put it on your plate anyway, and that you keep trying it.  Equally important is that they see the enjoyment on your face when you eat vegetables you love!

Bring your kids into the kitchen! 

Having kids help in the kitchen gets them seeing, touching, smelling, and maybe tasting before the main event.  This helps them feel ready to taste at the table, and every taste contributes to building a lifelong love.  Think of having your child in the kitchen like a warm up before the big game – the meal!  Worried that getting them into the kitchen is such a headache and a MESS?!  This blog post can help you get started!

Get them into the garden too (even if it’s just a single pot)! 

Carrots straight from the garden are a favorite at our house! -Caitlin M.

When a child is asked to pick a vegetable from a plant, there’s no pressure to eat it.  Low-pressure encounters allow fun exploration without stress, and these instances set the stage for future success.  Plus, there’s an added benefit of the pride kids feel when they watch their tiny seed grow into a plant that produces food!

Think twice before you hide vegetables in other foods! 

I know, it puts your mind at ease to know that they are getting the nutrients they need now.  It’s not worth it!  Known exposure is key to kids learning to love vegetables.  When we hide vegetables in our kids’ foods, it might go well at first, but with time, they will figure it out.  When they do, we have taught them that vegetables taste so bad that they have to be hidden, and that you are not to be trusted!  They might even stop eating some of the foods they once loved.  Add vegetables to whatever you want, but make kids aware.  Better yet, have them help!

Have your kids talk to a farmer! 

If you want your kids to meet someone who gets jazzed up about vegetables, head to a farmer’s market – or better yet, straight to the farm.  I’ve never met a farmer who isn’t willing to chat with you about their produce, how it is grown, what types of varieties they have, and how to prepare it all.  Their passion rubs off on kids, especially if a farm visit involves tractors or animals too!

Don’t give up on your method! 

If your kids don’t get excited about cooking, gardening, talking to farmers, or any of the traditional ways to engage with food, find what they love and capitalize on it.  Use vegetables for experiments, dissect them, paint with them, read books with vegetables, draw them, or use them as a microphone or telephone.  Whatever you do, just involve vegetables in the kind of fun that your child loves!

Never stop serving a wide variety of vegetables! 

There’s even room for veggies at picnic time on our Lifesaver Mat – even though they don’t always get eaten. – Caitlin M.

Even when they turn up their nose, gag, roll their eyes, and make a fuss, KEEP ON SERVING!  The moment vegetable exposures stop, you’ve taken away the opportunity for your child to grow to love them.

About the Author

Kim Slack is a Registered Dietitian and founder of On Your Table LLC.  She coaches parents on feeding strategies and parenting styles that support children to expand the foods they eat.  She also offers a membership with ongoing lessons and support for parents of picky eaters.  Kim has helped many families have happier, calmer mealtimes and grow competent eaters at the table.  Kim also has 2 boys of her own at home.  Learn more about her here.


Is My Baby On Track? Advice From A Pediatric OT

So you are wondering about your little one. From the moment your baby is born you will wonder and worry at times if they are developing ‘on schedule’. Should he be pulling to stand? She can’t it up without support yet, is that supposed to be accomplished already? My baby doesn’t seem to roll over yet! On and on it goes. The accomplishment of developmental milestones brings joy and a sigh of relief and then the wondering starts again about the next ‘thing’ on the developmental list.

Maybe as a new parent you don’t know what your child should be doing and that is what your concern is! Your past experience has not put you in close contact with babies or children of any age and you are feeling lost. As families become more complex, or have to move away for work from family and elder role models, and experience the isolation due to public health restrictions, it has become increasingly hard to even have contact with friends who have children to guide us as parents.

Developmental Milestones: What is a parent to do?

First of all take a deep breath and enjoy what your child IS doing! No matter where they are on their developmental milestones path, your child is a wonderful human being and they delight and respond when caring adults are loving and encouraging with them! Take another deep breath if you are feeling lost as to knowing what your child should be doing –there are plenty of great resources at hand to guide you along this parenting path. So in a nutshell BREATHE and LOVE your child. Those baby snuggles don’t last forever!

Enjoy every snuggle while it lasts! Photo credit: Brooke B.

To guide you on your way to learning more about typical child development and how to encourage your little one along, take advantage of community resources for families and parents. A good place to start is your public library! Not only can you take out on loan reliable books and magazines on the latest parenting advice, but the staff can also point you to many other community resources including using the Library internet to find information about locations, programs and services offered in your area. Often, the Library itself will have drop in free programs for Parents and Tots that offer stories and activities that you can model at home.

Public library story time is a great experience for baby and parents! Photo Credit: Caitlin M.

Other common and reliable resources are listed below. For example the Family Resource Networks in Alberta offer the Ages and Stages Questionnaire for parents. This is a great initial tool for learning where your child is at in their developmental milestones, but also the next steps and stages to be looking for in your child.

Ask for help from pros for you and baby

The next step is to make sure to attend or arrange regularly scheduled appointments with your family doctor or pediatrician. Some provinces have Well Baby appointments at Public Health or Community Health Centers at regular intervals. These appointments are your opportunity to ask any questions that you may have. Ask LOTS of questions! Write questions or concerns on a list you keep on the fridge; or make notes on your phone in between appointments so that you can just hand them to the nurse or doctor. Do not be afraid to ask, ask and ask again! It is the job of these professionals to know all the ins and outs of childhood development and to pass that knowledge on to parents-no one expects you to be the expert!

Public health and well baby visits are great opportunities to check on your baby’s health and development! Photo credit: Toni S.

You ARE however, the expert of your own child! Be honest in answering the questions the Dr. or nurse asks of you so that you can have an open honest conversation about what is best for your child. During these visits either ask to record the conversation on your phone (you have to ask for their permission to do this) or have the professional write the answers down for you! Most often they will have handouts or pamphlets with information that you can take home. Gather these and read them and keep them handy to refer back to often. Make sure to follow through with any referrals or follow up sessions that are made.

Once you are more aware of your child’s development it can really shine a light on what your little one is accomplishing every day in little ways, and tame the worry to help you enjoy the fleeting moments of those baby snuggles and gooey toddler hugs!

Other Resources on Developmental Milestones:

Canadian Pediatric Society – https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/behavior-and-development/your_childs_development

Family Resource Network/Parent Link – https://www.frfp.ca/parent-link-centres/

Parent Central – https://parentcentral.sk.211.ca/

Assessing and supporting your Child’s Development – https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/child-behaviour-development/assessing-child-development


Have a question you’d like to ask a pediatric OT? Leave it in the comments below!


About the Author

Kelly Harrison-Miles BSc. O.T.

As a Mom to three boys, I know the wondering and worrying and the joys of growing kids first hand. Now all in their teen years (my fridge door is never closed) and each is navigating his own way in this COVID world (reluctantly listening to their parents as teenagers typically do), this Momma is still wondering and worrying if they are learning the skills they will need to be competent adults!! As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, I know ‘typical development’. I have spent years assessing children’s developmental milestones in clinic, home and school settings. I know and have seen many times over how caring and engaged adults can guide and enhance a child’s developmental path every day in daily routines and daily activities. The key is first knowing and then doing!


Fitness for People with Kids

Hey there! Yes, you. I know what you are thinking “I should workout. I need to figure out how to get in shape.” Focusing on fitness after kids is hard. I am with you.

Photographer: Boxed Water Is Better | Source: Unsplash

I have two tiny humans who need me 24/7 and a mom pooch that won’t budge. Now, I love my body. I am so proud of the body that has created two kids from scratch, carried them, and fed them for years.

My biggest issue is not the mom pooch, it’s my energy levels. I feel heavy and sluggish and just slow. I get so tired so quickly when I play with my kids. I hate it. I hate the feeling of just wanting to sit all day long.

Photographer: elizabeth lies | Source: Unsplash

I feel the desperate need to work on my fitness for strength and stamina.

Let me share my tricks on how I get 30-40 minutes to fit in a workout while my kids are awake and running.

My first tip before anything is make sure you are ready at all times. I live my life in workout clothes. I wake up and throw it on so if I have the opportunity to exercise, I don’t have to waste time getting dressed.

Photographer: Alex Shaw | Source: Unsplash

1. Throw some snacks and TV at them

Put them in a stroller, wagon, bike trailer, anything that will contain them and give them some snacks. Put your headphones in and go on that run, walk, bike. I promise you can do it. Don’t fuss about toys and entertainment. Go with easy and fast. I make my workout a priority now and give my kids each a tablet to play with so I can get 30 minutes of uninterrupted exercise.

Photographer: Emily Wade | Source: Unsplash

I feel so good after and my kids are so happy that they got TV. Do not feel guilty about this. I know how easy it is to get caught up in what you think you should do but throw all that out the window for those 30 minutes and focus on you. Make your needs #1. Moms deserve happiness too.

Smiling Family
Photographer: Edward Cisneros | Source: Unsplash

2. Include your Kids

I try to do this with my kids a few times a week so it’s fun and new. If my kids aren’t showing any interest, I go back to throwing snacks and TV at them.

My kid’s favorite exercise is any of the Cosmic Yoga videos on Amazon Prime but there are so many different workout with children on YouTube. A quick search yields thousand of results, including Cosmic Yoga, so you can play around and find some you like, save them, and have them ready.

A morning yoga session peering into the jungle in Ubud, Bali.
Photographer: Jared Rice | Source: Unsplash

I would recommend doing this prior to showing your kids if you want some control. If you want the kids to choose, by all means go ahead and enjoy! And stay tuned here for another upcoming blog from one of our ambassadors who loves to work out with her kids!

3. Workout at the Park While the Kids Play

My kids love to swing so I usually put them on the swings and do lunges in between pushing. This method doesn’t allow for a full uninterrupted workout but it is still super fun and it is good to get creative. I have also done push ups, sit ups, squats and even the dreaded burpees while my kids play.

GOLDEN MEMORIES
Photographer: Johnny Cohen | Source: Unsplash

I also try to get in the playground and climb up with them to get my body moving. Bonus is my kids love watching me jump around or playing with me. I can absolutely tell the difference on days where I sit back and watch my kids play (Nothing wrong with this by the way. We all need chill days.) and days when I climb and do random workouts because my kids have more fun and honestly, so do I.

4. Switch off with your partner

I won’t lie. This is my least favorite only because my husband’s work is not consistent so somedays he comes home at 3 and others at 7. This makes it really hard for us to switch off.

Super cool family that goes to my gym, she was taking pics of her husband as the baby chilled in his pack.
Photographer: LJ Lara | Source: Unsplash

We have done it before though and it is so fun but would work best for those with more consistent schedules. It is a pretty straightforward concept– basically one day you get to workout and your partner gets the next. If you want to switch days, that's cool too! Find whatever works best for your family.

5. Wake up early or go to bed late

I am 100% a night owl. In a perfect world, my kids would wake up at 10am to allow me to sleep in after a long night of trying to get stuff done in between wake ups when I am at my most productive. Alas, this is not the case. My kids wake up like clockwork at 6:30 every single day. Waking up earlier just isn't possible for me. I barely function on the 3 minutes of sleep I do get so I cannot physically or mentally afford to take any time away from that precious sleep.

Once she stopped rushing through life she was amazed how much more life she had time for.
Photographer: Kinga Cichewicz | Source: Unsplash

Night time is my jam though. My kids are not super consistent with their sleep times regardless of routine or non-stop play to exhaust. There are days I am certain they will fall asleep early and 9pm rolls around with two kids jumping and dancing and refusing to stop. On days when they are asleep before 8pm, I get myself ready and get to work!

Photographer: Jonathan Borba | Source: Unsplash

I usually just wear whatever I wore all day (usually I am for workout clothes but that is not always the case), throw a sports bra on along with my socks and shoes and call that a win. I have definitely worked out in pajamas before and that is okay because I still did it and I felt incredible after.

6. Dancing it Out

I want to be very clear on one thing– you are perfect.

Your body is incredible.

Fitness doesn’t have to mean a “workout.”

It means moving your body in any way you enjoy. My absolute favorite way to move my body is through dance. I try to play music all day because I enjoy it and I find that when I sing and dance, my body and mind feel so good.

I am not doing a beautiful choreographed dance. More often than not, I am jumping around like I am trying to catch a mosquito and singing for my kids. They think this is the most hilarious sight ever and cannot stop laughing. They usually join in.

Photographer: Junior REIS | Source: Unsplash

Dancing is such commonplace in our home that if I start saying “dancing dancing dancing” in a playful tone, my kids bust out their moves. Those moments make my heart explode with happiness and I try to absorb every second of it before it’s gone.

A quick note: Working out does not make you more worthy or beautiful. Your body is perfect. You are perfect. You are worthy and beautiful in any size you are wearing. Your body is a vessel that carries you day to day. Don’t forget to thank it. Let’s also remember that our clothing sizes do not define us. We are all worthy of love even if we sat on the couch all day watching TV with our kids.

What are some of your tips and tricks for sneaking in some physical activity? Do you include your kids?

In the comments, tell me your favorite thing your body did for you today.

I’ll go first; Today, my body allowed me to babywear a heavy toddler who is teething and all around miserable. It carried his body while he rested and I am so thankful for this body.


About the Author

Jessica is a Latinx mom to a boy and a girl. She currently lives in California with her husband, babies, and a super cuddly pup. She has many hobbies but her favorites include dancing, hiking, and true crime podcasts.