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  • Ritamaria Laird

    Ritamaria Laird was raised in Cincinnati. She moved to Chicago in 2009 and graduated with her degree in Clinical Counseling from Roosevelt University. She fell in love with the city and found her dream job at Individual and Family Connection (Roscoe Village and River Forest) working as Clinical Director and Pediatric Therapist, where she is passionate about helping parents connect deeply with their children in playful ways. Ritamaria is the mother to two girls, aged 5 years and 1 year.



    Ritamaria Laird

    Ritamaria Laird was raised in Cincinnati. She moved to Chicago in 2009 and graduated with her degree in Clinical Counseling from Roosevelt University. She fell in love with the city and found her dream job at Individual and Family Connection (Roscoe Village and River Forest) working as Clinical Director and Pediatric Therapist, where she is passionate about helping parents connect deeply with their children in playful ways. Ritamaria is the mother to two girls, aged 5 years and 1 year.

    A child therapist admits to committing these 10 COVID-19 parenting fails

    Show yourself compassion because there is no perfect parent…especially during a pandemic.


    I can hardly believe it myself when I tell people that I have been a pediatric mental health therapist for 12 years now. I mean, that is over a decade of my life! I would say that I don’t know where the time went, but I do. A lot has happened since beginning my professional career. I moved to Chicago, got engaged, and landed my dream job. But what really makes time fly is having kids. Nothing in my life has made me realize just how fleeting life is more than raising children. One day they fit into the palm of your hand, and the next, they barely fit in your lap.

    There are a lot of expectations about what kind of parent I am and how I raise my kids. After all, I keep up to date on the latest research in child development and behavior. My passion is in supporting parents and teaching parents how to be connected and attuned to their children. So I talk A LOT with parents. I am often told by parents I work with, “I bet your kids are so well behaved,” or, “I bet you never yell.” (Yikes, the pressure!)

    Of course, I do have to practice what I preach, and while I try my best to be a playful, accepting, curious, and empathic mother…I am also a “good enough” mom. I am not perfect. Despite my training, my knowledge, my passion, and my love, I am here to tell you: if you only knew how I epically fail on a daily basis! Well, actually, maybe it would help. Maybe it would help you have some compassion for yourself, because I promise you there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and good enough is actually all you need (and this is backed by research!).

    [Related: This is how to travel with young kids during COVID]

    So in all my vulnerability, I will share with you my top 10 epic parenting fails during the COVID-19 pandemic:

    1. Becoming so frustrated and out of control with my own emotions when my 5-year-old refused to go to bed that I threatened to throw out her JoJo Siwa Bow.
    2. Feeling guilty about my (above) tantrum, giving in, and allowing my 5-year-old to stay up till 10pm watching Naked and Afraid. (This went on for a month.)
    3. Experiencing the full range of working-mom shame when my daughter named each family member’s hobby and declared, “Mommy’s hobby is work.”
    4. Begging my 5-year-old to “Just leave me alone for two minutes while I finish my Zoom call!” realizing that I actually did not mute my mic.
    5. Spacing out from exhaustion while the baby crawls on the lawn…and eats actual bunny poop.
    6. Logging in my kindergartner late to virtual school. Every. Single. Day.
    7. Witnessing her announce to her teacher, “Sorry I am always late. We like to sleep in.”
    8. Knowing pandemic guilt has turned me into a “Yes” mom, and I have a trillion stuffed animals to prove it.
    9. Thinking that brushing my kid’s teeth before dessert was OK. Hello, child’s first cavity.
    10. Being mindless while getting my children out of the car and putting my laptop on top of the car. Forgetting about my laptop. Finding my laptop smashed to bits on North Avenue.

    If a child therapist can’t get it right all the time, take some pressure off yourself to be perfect. After all, we are in the midst of a pandemic. We are all truly doing the best we can. And that is good enough.

    Edited by NPN Lauren


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