Parenting Fail: The Litterbug

One of the hard things about being a parent is that you constantly have an audience. And they are paying attention. All the time. I’ve written before about the stupid things I’ve done or said in front of my kids that have come back to bite me. That’s part of parenting.

wpid-img_20150628_181030.jpgThe other day we were riding bike home from Union Station, where we had stopped to play in the fountains and eat ice cream. A favorite Sunday night activity for Sheppards. On the way to the street, I rode by a trash can to throw away the ice cream cups I had in my hand. I hit a bump and one of the itty bitty plastic spoons fell out of my hand onto the sidewalk.

I kept riding.

I left the plastic spoon on the sidewalk three feet from the trash can.

I know, I know. I’m the worst. I should have just stopped, bent down and picked it up.

But here’s the bigger problem.


Big Brother was right behind me. Watching me.

After I dropped it, he started yelling ahead to his dad to stop, because we had to pick up the garbage. Only we didn’t stop. And I told him it was okay, we weren’t stopping, Tim wouldn’t leave us.

“You’re not gonna pick it up?”

“No, buddy, it’s okay. We need to catch up to Dad,” I replied.


We rode in silence for a few moments. Then he spoke again.

“Is littering sometimes okay?”

“Yes,” I answered, then immediately thought of all the times they’ve just wanted to leave their picnic messes at the park. “I mean no. Well, maybe sometimes.” Well no, actually, I can’t think of a time when they should litter. “Um, no, never. Ugh. Nope, I was wrong, I should’ve stopped and got it. That was my bad. Never litter, okay?”


Have your kids caught you littering? Or something else? Want to share your latest Parenting Fail?


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