Hello friends! It has been quite awhile since I have posted but I am back with a few stories to share.
I want to talk about “mom (or parent) fails.” Unlike “mom guilt”, “mom fails” are experiences that your children will, without a doubt, point to when they are adults and say, ” Yep, that was the moment she screwed me up.” They are the moments they will absolutely tell their therapists about in their later years. Honestly, I have so many “mom fail” examples that it was difficult to narrow them down for this post. I have picked the worst (in my mind) of the bunch to share with all of you.
When my daughter was a baby, she would scream bloody murder when she was in her car seat. I mean SCREAM. It was so upsetting, it had me in tears many times. When she was about 18 months old, we were headed back from the airport in Washington state, it was about an hour drive. Just like all the other times, she started screaming and crying at some point along the way. I was so annoyed by this behavior at this point that I turned around and told her to knock it off, that mommy had had it. She looked at me and proceeded to puke all over the backseat. I was convinced it was the food she had eaten on the plane.
Fast forward a few months, and we were on our way to a new state. Our car was all packed and Caroline was all set up in the backseat with her coloring books, books and puzzles. We were not a half hour into our trip when she started whimpering and I said, ” Oh, no. Don’t start. We have a 6 hour drive. Look at your books and behave.” Two minutes later, I heard a huge splash and she had yet again, puked all over the backseat. ” Hmmm, another tummy bug?” I thought. Y’all, this happened about a dozen or so times over the next year. I would scold her for crying and tell her to deal with it and to just read her books or color. It wasn’t until my mother said, ” You know, she probably gets carsick?” Ummmm, no, that hadn’t crossed my mind once. No, I just yelled at my poor carsick child every time she cried and felt sick. Strike one.
When my oldest son was about 2, we lived in Atlanta, Georgia. One morning, my husband and I decided to take Caroline and Cooper to a children’s museum downtown. We packed up our bags and headed out. We arrived downtown, found a parking space, took out the stroller, put Cooper in and set out through busy downtown Atlanta. We were looking around and pointing buildings out to the children when we came to a busy street. We stopped at the traffic light and waited to cross. When the “walk” light came on, we stepped down off the curb and PLOP went Cooper right out of the stroller, onto his face on a busy street in downtown Atlanta. Nope, neither my husband nor I had bothered to buckle him into the stroller. Now, I know what you’re thinking, mistakes happen. Yes, that is true but what made this mistake worse was that my husband and I could not stop laughing. Of course, we picked up our sweet boy and made sure he was alright but we couldn’t stop laughing in the process. Strike 2.
About two years ago, around Halloween, my daughter asked to watch Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. Now, my children are not easily frightened. Honestly, they just aren’t bothered by things like ghost stories and such. I agreed to let my daughter and oldest son watch the video. I found it on the computer for them then pressed play. Well, unbeknownst to me, my four year old son, Brady, had come into the room. About 2 minutes into the video, he starts screaming at the top of his lungs and crying. His hands were over his ears and he went running through the house yelling, ” Stop!!! Why would you show me that????? WHY??????” Now, it must be stated that Brady is a bit, okay, a huge bit, overdramatic. He started hyperventilating and rolling around, wailing and saying, ” Why, why, why, why????” Now, he didn’t even actually see anything scary but it was enough to give him nightmares for a good month afterward. Strike 3.
Last summer, on our way down to Florida for our family vacation, we decided to stop in Savannah, GA. We walked around and explored that beautiful city and our kids asked to go on one of those trolley ghost tours. It went around the city and basically gave a history lesson with a few ghost tales thrown in. Our kids love history and we thought they would love it. We were told that it wasn’t scary and besides, it was at about 6 pm so it was still light on that summer evening. We boarded the trolley and set out on our adventure. It was interesting and fun and the kids ( well, the 10 and 8 year olds) were really engrossed in the tales of the city. At the end of the tour, the trolley stopped at an old ship chandlery ( a place that used to sell nautical items long ago) along the river. As we were getting off the trolley, the tour guide stopped my husband and said, ” This is a staged part of the tour and it might get dark.” Well, our kids aren’t scared of the dark so we decided to go on in. We moved in to the old store and it was indeed dark and cold, with it’s stone walls and floors, but it was neat as well. We took our seats in the back of the store. Everything was lit by candlelight and it was a bit spooky, but the kids seemed fine……before all hell broke loose.
The “candle maker” came into the room and started telling a ghost story about a sea hag or “witch.” He played his part well and told the spooky story to perfection, but the kids were enjoying it. Then, a huge wind blew through the shop, the lights went out, doors started slamming and a witch flew by the window. All 4 kids started screaming. My daughter was holding onto my husband saying, ” Daddy! Help!” My oldest son kept taking deep breaths and saying, ” It’s okay, it’s okay.” and whimpering. My 5 year old was sobbing and burying his face in my shirt crying, ” Mama, mama, mama!!!!!!” My 3 year old just scooted closer to my husband, shoved his thumb in his mouth and sucked ferociously. My husband and I looked at each other and just laughed. Strike 4.
The final “mom fail” I will share with you, is referred to as the “circus day incident” in our house. I believe, thus far, in my son Brady’s 6 years, that this has traumatized him the most.
Last year, when Brady was 5 and in preschool, the 4 year old classes all had a circus unit. It was cute and they did circus themed crafts and read circus stories. At the end of the unit, they had “circus day” for which they were able to dress up as a circus character. As I mentioned, all the four year old classes were doing the circus theme and they all had circus day……..but on different days.
We carpooled with our neighbors to preschool last year. My friend and I took turns dropping off and picking up our boys from school. The boys were in different classes and they each always came home with many papers and crafts and since they didn’t have a backpack, sometimes their papers and art got mixed up. Well, I picked up the boys one day and brought home what I thought were Brady’s papers. I saw a paper saying that Brady’s circus day was going to be the next week and he was to come dressed as his favorite circus character.
Circus day came and we dressed Brady as the strong man. He wore his Hulk costume and was excited. My friend picked Brady up and took him to school that day. I saw that his friend was also dressed for circus day and I thought nothing of it. Well, Brady came home from school without his costume on because it just so happened that that day was NOT his circus day, it was his friend’s circus day. Brady came in and asked, ” Why did you send me in that costume? I was the only kid in my class in a costume.” I apologized and explained that I read the wrong paper. Brady was not understanding. He said, ” Mom, that was embarrassing.” He brings this mom fail up every few months and tells me just how humiliating it was. Every time he has had to dress up for school since then, he grills me about the date and time asking, ” You’re sure? Remember what happened in preschool?” I will never be able to live that one down. Ever.
There you have it, a few of my “greatest hits” if you will. There are many more and if you ever want to feel better about your own parenting, just ask me about my “mom fails.” I assure you that you will not be let down.