One of my best friends called me the other day. She was feeling overwhelmed by motherhood. Cheers to that, I thought. Welcome to the club.
Sometimes we have those days and think: “Self: I rocked this day. I can handle anything that comes my way.” And some days (or even weeks), we want to crawl up in the fetal position in a corner somewhere and let the tidal wave of duty and obligation wash over us.
Motherhood is tough, and it can be hard to admit. Take Facebook, for example. Peruse your friends profiles that have children. What you’ll see is a display of grinning kids, perfect pancakes, and happy kids at the zoo. Where’s the temper tantrum over not getting candy in the grocery store line? The piles of laundry that have not (and may never be) folded? The admissions that sometimes life isn’t picture perfect?
As my friend was choking on tears of mom-guilt and stress, I realized that I was as guilty as the rest of world of portraying the “I’ve got it all together” image rather than the “I’m holding my life together with band aids and duct tape” that I often feel.
In order to cheer her up, I began to recount the stories of failure that I’ve suffered as a parent:
I told her how when Graham was at his six month appointment, I told the doctor, that no, my son wasn’t rolling yet. And then, just moments later, as I turned around to get a diaper from my bag, Graham proceeded to roll off the doctor’s table. Onto the ground. This of course was followed with massive screaming, the doctor rushing back into the room, and tears of my own. I had disobeyed Mom Rule #1: Always keep one hand on your child when they are on a table.
I told her how just the other day, I missed Graham’s bus drop off. It was his third day of riding his bus home from Kindergarten. The bus had been late the last two days, and so I used the restroom instead of rushing out to the bus stop at 3:03. I stepped out of the house to see the bus pull away from the stop. I ran to the pickup, only to find my son wasn’t there. I chased the bus to the next stop (a sight to see, I’m sure), screaming Graham’s name.
I made it to that stop seconds after the bus pulled away. Frantically, I asked the children if they knew if Graham was on the bus. They informed me that yes, he was on the bus and visibly upset that he couldn’t get off at his stop. I called the school, and they told me that the bus would drop him off at the end of the route. I waited patiently and nervously with a pit in my stomach. Thirty minutes later the bus returned. I apologized to the driver and was ready to greet my scared child.
Instead, he bounded off the bus and declared, “That was the best bus ride EVER! I got to see where all my friends live and got to talk to the bus driver!” It made me feel better to know that he wasn’t scarred for life, but if I’m to be honest, I think I was. I had disobeyed Mom Rule #2: Always be there for your child when they need you.
I told my friend that when I dropped Will off for his first day of Mom’s Morning Out I forgot to pack his snack, lunch, AND his diapers. Yes. I totally failed. I had disobeyed Mom Rule #3: Always have diapers and snacks. And although his bum may have been a little red, and the raisins I found in the back of the car may or may not have filled him up for the three hours of the program, when I offered to take him to frozen yogurt after pick-up, I can assure you of one thing: He was nothing but smiles.
Those are all things that I never intended to blog about. I didn’t want to share those stories with my friend. And, you can bet I didn’t post them on Facebook. But, I think it goes to show: We all goof. Every parent has successes and failures. But, our kids rebound. My child didn’t seem any the worse for wear when I picked him up off the doctor’s floor, and he seemed to come out okay after his long bus ride. Will was just fine after a scoop of fro yo and a Desitin application during his next diaper change.
Kids are resilient. It’s us parents that take a little longer to heal.
So, let’s be honest: Have you had a recent Mom Fail? Be brave and share!