I'm not collecting parenting merit badges, but I am my own harshest critic.
It's easy to compare myself as a parent and my child to others. Am I a "bad" parent for letting my kid watch tv, not cloth diapering, not babywearing, not teaching sign language? I didn't make my own baby food. Eek.
Goose watches too much tv, isn't even on her way to potty training at a little over 2, and still has issues going to sleep without significant assistance. We sit in the hall and sing Twinkle, Twinkle until we can't sing anymore and hope we don't hear a little "'kle" request in the darkness. Oh, and she loves cookies. She has been known to eat a Twizzler with her dad every now and then. Am I a "bad" parent for letting her eat a few cookies a day, and candy occasionally? It's not even organic. GASP.
Take away my nutrition badge.
Last week I even let her go out in public in her Ariel pajama shirt, knit shorts, and her swim shoes. She may or may not have been wearing that shirt for 24 hours straight.
But she does know some of her ABCs, numbers, and colors. She knows lots of words-- whether she chooses to use them or we can understand them is another set of issues. At the end of the day, what really matters? I feel like I've done a good job as a parent if she is happy and functional in society. She is. Goose is full of life and light, and can play well with others and sit at a table in a restaurant and eat with adults. Yes, it may be a little loud and messy, but it counts darnit.
#1 parenting lesson: Do what works for your family and your kid. Period. As long as it's safe and keeping the best interest of your child in mind, it's the right thing. You can't question every decision you make as a parent. You don't have time, and you don't want a child that isn't confident and secure.
You have to make your child feel like you at least know what you're doing, even if you don't.