Look, one of my biggest mantra’s here on WM is mommy guilt is a colossal waste of time. Oh, and it’s also really stupid and boring, but for the rare people out there who are guilty of criminal parenting offenses. Then you should rot.
But just cause I say it, doesn’t mean I always mean it.
So as we enter Holy Week (where upon I will visit Church on Sunday for the second time since Christmas #NotAGoodCatholic), it seemed now is the right time to confess my motherly sins to none other than….a bunch of other moms.
Forgive me moms, for I have sinned, and frankly I’m hoping I’m not alone. Despite my many regular failings at parenting (not reading school emails
carefully enough and showing up to preschool with the only kid not wearing a costume, reading work emails while attempting to oversee homework and preschool art projects, therefore failing at all of the above, forgetting to ask if there is any Sunday School homework until 10 seconds before walking out the door, my list of stupid and unmentionable offenses should bore all of you, as yours should bore us), but for the below list.
The below list has one unique shared trait: each of these items mark the offenses that have stayed with me over time. These are the ones where I genuinely actually felt really horrible about and sometimes they come back to me, like a bad flash back memory, sorta like thinking about 80s bangs:
These are the ones that force me to repeat my own mantra that mommy guilt is stupid, to shed the skin of these wrong-doings.
After I make my confession, the PR person in me has decided that what needs to be done is a little re-branding. Instead of viewing each one as a failing, let’s instead focus on the good that came out of each little lesson. Shall we? Let’s play along, it should be a fun little exercise. One that I’m calling “You’ve been #Mom’d”
Mom Sin #1: The Late Child Pick Up
Ahh…..that time you totally underestimate just how much you can get done in a short period of time and suddenly you find yourself leaving one destination at the time you are supposed to be at the other destination. En route, you drive in a less than ideal fashion and probably break a few road rules because all you can picture is your lonely child standing there all alone, wondering if she’s been forgotten. Look, “‘late” is my middle name, but when you’re like 15 minutes late picking up a child from an activity – that’s just bad. The incident in question here happened in the fall. I had a friend in town and we decided that after dropping off my eldest at sunday school, we’d hop on over to Michaels to get some important crafts for said child’s 3-D shoe box project. It would be the most perfect use of our time.
Cue the fabulous Halloween decor and fun crafting supplies dazzling our creative hearts and well, suddenly I realized we were in line to purchase these items at the exact time we were supposed to be picking her up. Naturally we got stuck behind a few Sunday drivers on the road. As we screeched around the corner, we could see my kid was the only lone sad kid standing out front with just the Priest for about 15 minutes.
She waited until she got in the car to start sobbing. I was so proud of her for keeping on her brave face and remaining composed.
But I was late for her own benefit? We were shopping for her project???
Look, I actually do think it’s character building for a child to know that sometimes, guess what, they have to wait. And sometimes, guess what, mommy totally screws up. Oh, and sometimes, the world doesn’t revolve around them and well, a parent is late. Seriously, as a seasoned late picker upper, I really do believe this.
But it’s still hard to get that image of the solo sad kid standing there all alone feeling abandoned – out of your head – no matter how steely your resolve is against mommy guilt.
Then there’s the matter of a kid’s ability to take a walk down memory lane, that lane filled with all your past failings.
Enter “You’ve Been Mom’d”.
“Mom, remember that time you were so late picking me up and all the other moms and dads got their kid and I was left alone, wondering if you’d forgotten me.”
Reply: “Honey, remember that time we had all those amazing crafting supplies for your extra credit project, wasn’t that fun?”
Kid: “Oh, remember how awesome octopus was?”
Mom Sin #2: The Child Sleeping in the car
Most preschoolers I know fall asleep in the car. Usually about 5 minutes from home. This is like the unexpected gift for any parent – we all know they still need to nap but most of them fight you tooth and nail over it – much like their chronic need to never have to go potty.
After our move last summer, our drive from preschool to home became longer and well, created an opportunity for a post-school nap. The issue of transitioning her from the car seat to the house became the tricky part because sometimes she would stay asleep and sometimes wake up, and well, everyone wins if they stay asleep.
So, well, on days with okay weather – read in the 50s – sometimes I’d leave her snoozing in her car seat, in the car, for a few minutes while I’d run inside to do a few things. Look, I worked for the auto industry for a long time. I know all about leaving kids unattended in a car – trust me – I know all about it. But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t left my kid for a few minutes in the back seat of our car in the driveway when it wasn’t hot or cold outside. For a few minutes. She wasn’t forgotten. It was always a deliberate run in to pee and clear off the sofa so she could nap, etc.
Inevitably the day came when she woke up. Probably as soon as I slipped into the house. And when I returned to the car a few minutes later, she was beyond the crying part. She was at the crying with no noise part. Enter a parent’s ability to only think about all the scary thoughts that must have been running through her head. It’s like being knifed in the chest.
Now to our little Mom’d session here.
Naturally, any self-respecting four-year old excels at remembering really bad things instead of the 1,342,043 amazing things you’ve already done for them in their lifetime. Usually in front of lots of other people.
“Mommy, remember that time you left me alone in the car and I was so scared and crying.”
“Honey, remember the yummy lollipop we had that day with so many cuddle hugs”
“Mommy, can I have a lollipop right now?”
Mom Sin #3: Getting Defensive With a 6-year-old
Note: this one I actually don’t feel guilty about. I just know I should have been better than this. One day in February, I took my two girls and one of their friends on a really special outing. As we were heading down the stairs, I over-heard the friend say “I’m so glad your mom didn’t make cookies this time. The last time she did, I got a horrible stomach virus and threw up for two days.”
Background – the last time she was over was right before Christmas and we’d made cookies and cut them into fun shapes together. Shortly after, she started complaining of a stomach ache and ended up having some version of the norovirus for a few days. Let’s be clear – it wasn’t my cookies.
But CLEARLY not only did this kid think my cookies made her sick but so did her mother – because this was a very bold, confident and obviously much discussed sentence.
I couldn’t bite my tongue and said “Oh, umm, you didn’t get sick from my cookies. You had some kind of virus. If you’d gotten sick from my cookies, we all would have gotten sick from them.”
What was I doing? Why was I being defensive with a 6-year-old?
I knew it was completely ridiculous as I heard the words coming out of my mouth yet I couldn’t help myself.
Now I need to work on not getting mouthy with them as they become pre-teens and teens, obviously.
Next time you’re feeling guilty, I’d recommend You’ve Been #Mom’d…we’re always one step ahead, ladies.
Be sure to “Like” the Wired Momma FB page, where I will be accepting your Mom Confessions or better yet, your own brilliant examples of #Mom’d. WE all need a few more to have at the ready.