Experts in the Media

Kim Fenton – The Canberra Times

Chief Commercial Officer, The Extend Group

Parents are not perfect – and that is OK

I don’t want to sugar coat this, last week I failed as a parent.

I know I’m not alone as parents struggle through the Easter school holidays this week trying to work, be available to their kids, manage sleepovers and still have enough energy to be “fun” when required.

I’m a single working parent and last week I forgot my daughter’s year 11 parent teacher interviews.

I know I performed badly … and my daughter was right there to give me the feedback required.

I had five teachers to see and this is what happened:

  1. I booked the interviews late, so I missed out on a spot with the biology teacher.
  2. I forgot the interviews were on.
  3. I was late home from work so missed the first video call with the legal studies teacher.
  4. I only remembered the interviews were on when my daughter rang to say, ‘Mum where are you? You missed my first parent teacher video call. It was very awkward’.

In total I saw two out of five teachers.

In summary, according to the teachers I did get to talk to, my first born is an absolute delight, will one day be prime minister, has natural leadership ability and is a joy to teach.

Her summary of my performance as a mother can be assessed from one simple sentence.

“Well, mum, it’s only 30 years to go until I mess up my children’s parent teacher interviews,” she said.


Her teachers forgot to mention she has a brilliant sense of humour.

What this ‘failure’ taught me about my daughter was priceless. She has far more realistic expectations of me than I do of myself. She’s also very forgiving. Something we could all do with a refresher course on, especially when it comes to forgiving ourselves.

Parents aren’t perfect and sometimes things slip through the net. This parent teacher night was one of those times for me.

We’re almost always harder on ourselves than our children are on us. In my daughter’s opinion, I have lots of credits for the things I get right.

The occasional failure, particularly when she knows how much I care and how hard I try, can easily be turned into a funny story for us both.

I’m sharing this story because I know women, particularly working mothers, want to be able to do it all perfectly, and feel incredibly bad about it when they don’t live up to their own expectations.