I had one of the latter recently. My kids have had very different childhoods from mine. When I was growing up, there were so many social situations of all kinds. But for a number of reasons, my kids haven't had the same exposure. Recently, we received an invitation to a grand 80th birthday party that I didn't want to turn down. I RSVP'd for three of us, because one of the boys had a soccer match scheduled for the exact time of the party, but he was injured in a match the day before and couldn't play the next day. So I contacted the host, explained the situation, and asked if we could bring our other child.
The answer was yes, but with the caveat that he couldn't sit with us because there wasn't room at the table. I wasn't expecting assigned seats, so that caught me off guard. I knew my son would be miserable at a table full of strangers. But most of all, I felt like I had failed him by not exposing him to more situations like this one. It wasn't that I was worried he'd behave poorly; it was that I knew he'd be incredibly uncomfortable, not just because he wouldn't know the other kids, but because he'd never been to a party like this one in a banquet hall full of tables.
I hated feeling like I'd failed as a parent. At times in the past, I might have spiraled down from that feeling, but now I have nearly fifteen years of parenting under my belt, and I know how hard I've worked to be the best parent I can be. I'm not the best parent, let alone the perfect parent, but I know that I'm a "good enough" parent.
Let's be clear - there's no such thing as the perfect parent. But almost certainly, you're also a good enough parent (assuming you're not abusing your child).
If you're trying your best, you're a good enough parent.
If you try to put yourself in your child's shoes and understand how they're feeling, you're a good enough parent.
If you read parenting books and blogs, listen to parenting podcasts, and seek out other parents' advice, you're a good enough parent.
If you want your children to be happy, you're a good enough parent.
Stop being so hard on yourself - because you’re a good enough parent. And always remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect parent!