I'm more or less resigned to the fact that constantly worrying about being a good enough mum goes with the territory - along with enough guilt to fill a year's worth of maxi nappies and an overpowering fear that I may be raising the next Adolf Hitler. Sometimes, however, I do something so monumentally stupid that even I wonder if I shouldn't just call Childline myself and have Isabel taken far away from me for her own protection.
It happened like this: Isabel was tucking into her dinner (mainly smearing it across the highchair, her face, the floor, aiming it at the tv and occasionally getting some in her mouth). For some reason, I had grabbed a disposable plastic fork to feed her with. Goodness knows why. Halfway through the meal, I suddenly realised that one of the prongs from the fork was missing. Cold sweat. Don't panic, I thought, it's probably in her bowl. I picked through the mushy veg. Nothing. Scrambling down, I quickly sifted through the sticky mess on the floor while Isabel dropped baked beans in my hair. Pulse racing, I grabbed my highly amused toddler out of the highchair and gave her a good shake to see if it had fallen down. Nothing. She giggled at me. Then she abruptly stopped giggling and bit me as hard as she could as I clumsily dug around in her mouth looking for the pointy plastic prong.
I never found it- I just sweated out the next few days looking for signs of unusually eye-watering straining (ouch). What I did learn from this umpteenth display of maternal ineptitude is Parenting Lesson No. Seven hundred million and two: do not feed your toddler with a disposable plastic fork. If you must, then count the prongs before you start, thus avoiding days of fretting and poo-sifting afterwards.
The thought that I'm responsible for teaching her about life is quite frankly terrifying.