It’s Tuesday morning, and I’ve blown it. I was on a good roll, but then came the inevitable slip.
On Monday, schoolbags were properly stocked. Snack and drinks were packed. Any and all permissions slips, tests, etc were signed and deposited into the correct folders. I even managed to get #3 over to the dentist to get his cavity filled, buy him jeans he’s needed since growing like a weed -again- and back to school. I was winning.
Along came today. I awoke, and checked my planner first thing. Written among all of the “pay this bill” notations and upcoming “To-Do” tasks was written, “Pack lunch for #3’s field trip”.
CRAP. I forgot that he needed a bagged lunch for his class field trip, and the cupboards were dismally bare… so in a burst of energy, I hustled the five kids through their morning ritual, raced them into the car, and dashed into the grocery store to procure the needed lunch.
Score. I’ve still got it.
After dropping the kids off, I began the usual morning tasks- emptying the dishwasher, sweeping crumbs, laundry. As I passed my stack of “To-Do” papers atop my microwave, there they were.
The fliers for the school book fair. Each child’s class was scheduled to attend the fair on a different date. With a sinking feeling, I shifted through the papers, frantically checking dates.
No, her’s wasn’t today, thank God.
Nope, not hers, either. Whew!
Not his…. oh, good!
Not hers…. no, wait. Is today the 8th???
Of course. #4’s book fair slot was today. So I called the school, hoping I could fly up there with a check to make it right. I asked the secretary when her class was scheduled to go….
Secretary: “They just got back from the book fair.”*
*Translation: You blew it, Mom.
These are those bad mommy moments that happen, no matter how I strive to minimize them. No matter how well organized I aim to be, no matter how meticulous my planner details are, no matter how many different bases I try to cover, there are the moments where I know I’ve let a child down.
And it’s hard. Yes, life happens. And kids can certainly handle a bit of disappointment now and again. Moms are human. But in those moments, where I’ve dropped the ball, I am filled with a sense of frustration and guilt.
It’s not just the guilt of knowing my daughter must have been very sad to watch her classmate’s select books as she knew she couldn’t purchase anything (though there IS a family shop night on Thursday, so I shall avenge my error!).
But even more than that, it’s the guilt of knowing that with six children, occasionally something, or even someone, falls through the cracks. No matter how hard I work, I can’t be everything to everyone at all times. And even though that’s reality, it still stings when I feel like I haven’t been enough for someone.
Because in the back of my mind, in those weak moments, is a small voice that says,
“You FORGOT. So-and-so mom would NEVER forget. Why can’t you get your act together like so-and-so mom??”
But it’s that Mom Guilt- we’ve all experienced it to some degree. From the bottle vs. breast issues, to the SAHM vs. working mom conundrums, there’s a constant sense that we’re just not doing enough. There’s always a sense that we’re not quite as good as the next mom, that we’re stumbling our way through parenthood while the facetious mom nearby has the job nailed down.
And then there’s the mental scorecard that we keep, tucked away in the recesses of our mind where only we can see it:
I didn’t yell today: √
I forgot to sign the test: ×
I prepared a nutritious meal from scratch: √
I yelled when the kids said the nutritious, from-scratch meal was gross: ×
And all too often, this is how we measure the success of our days.
I’ve certainly felt that before, and today was a good example of that. It’s hard for me to think of short-changing my kids in any way through an oversight of my own, but after having a brief moment of angst over it, I was honestly able to let it go….
…because like everyone else, all I can do is the best I can do. And I know I’m doing that. My kids know how much they are loved. They know I try my very hardest to help them, love them, and nurture them. My kids also learn from me that although I do my best for them, like other humans, Mom’s not perfect and makes mistakes; so can they. We are an imperfect family that loves each other in our imperfect, messy awesomeness. Lesson learned.
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