Friday, September 10, 2010

Mommy Fail

From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010

Here Miles is representing the "Daddy Fail." I couldn't let him get off of the hook! This is how I found my child on his cot after a nap. No pants, disheveled, peanut butter lipstick, and with only one water shoe on. Outside of the strategically strewn about hair, it is exactly how he was put down for his nap. When asked why he didn't take his shoe off, Daddy tried to claim Miles wanted it on. Upon further investigation, Mommy determined that was a lie. I will say that it resulted in a 2.5 hour nap...perhaps not such a fail after all.

I had one of those "wake up on the wrong side of the bed" days recently. And it wasn't even a Monday.

Actually, I woke up in the wrong bed.  

Before your mind goes to deep dark places and you think that the 1 glass of wine and lemon drop from the wedding last weekend sent me into a tail spin and I turned into Mama Gone Wild, you'll be glad to know the extent of my partying life ended at singing Hey Ya! in my husband's face while forcing him to dance with me well after the dizziness of the glass of wine wore off. I could blame it on the Swedish fish at the reception's candy bar, but the truth is I just had some well pent up dance fever.

And by wrong bed, I mean the guest bed. And I was alone...minus the 8 month old in the Bjorn travel crib. (Second child syndrome: Felix's room is a partially decorated guest bedroom, and he sleeps in a travel crib next to the AC vent with a blanket on one corner to avoid potential arctic blasts. But I do love that crib...) Those 6-7 hour stretches of sleep are a thing of the past. It's so "last season" is what Felix told me. Has he seen my wardrobe? I have clothing in there that has gone from passe to tragically hip, to vintage, to about ready to dissintegrate. I'm never one on the cutting edge anymore. So, let's get back to those delcious nights of sleep from last season, huh?

On second thought, maybe he is angry he doesn't have the perfectly coordinated modernisto room that we spent ages on for Miles.

Or maybe he's just a typical baby who falls into the category of non-sleeper-through-the-nighters.

Regardless, I've had the pleasure of getting up 3-4 times at night with Felix since his ear infection. I'm thinking the increase in night wakings is because of an undiagnosed PTED. Post traumatic ear disorder. It happened last time. We had a spell of good sleep, then WHAMO--the ear infection, and then he got addicted to waking and nursing multiple times a night. Currently I stumble into the guest room to nurse him, and then just collapse on the guest bed, getting up to nurse him a handful of times. Most mornings I wake up completely unaware of where I am--even if I have just nursed him an hour before. It's like once 6am hits, I have amnesia and have no idea where I am. It's pitch black, and the fan/white noise generator is blowing so fiercely that I could easily be convinced I am in the cargo storage area of Singapore Air being abducted and taken on a marathon trip through Asia. Sleep depriviation makes my mind ripe for distortion. It's scary to say that I can completely understand how people falsely confess to crimes when they have been interrogated for days without sleep. Just don't go asking me to admit to any crimes...I'm going on years of sleep deprivation.

So my morning started off with me in utter confusion. Par for the course, but I'm never set up for success you see. And then the Tom's of Maine toothpaste was vacationing in the other bathroom and I was too lazy to retrieve it from sitting poolside, so I had to use the old Crest baking soda tube, which strangely leaves my mouth feeling dirtier than it arrives. And the next thing I know, a glob of toothpaste is sitting on the floor--staring me straight in the face.


I looked down and said outloud, "of course that happened." No tissues to speak of and no TP to help me wipe up the mess, which I already knew because I had decided not to use the bathroom 2 minutes earlier when I spied that the toilet paper was on vacation, too. Not even the temptation of better toothpaste AND toilet paper could get me to walk 3 seconds to the  2nd bathroom. I was asking for that glob on the floor.

And then there were the pooplosions. (No, not from me!) For some reason I gave myself license to go back to putting Felix in cloth before his antibiotics were completed. I think it was the change in air pressure when I was in the cargo space of that plane--it messed up some of my neural wirings. Well, he decided to blow out of his diaper in a not so delicate way. It's one thing to mess the hotel sheets--those got changed every day. But it was on our nice cream set of comfy organic sheets I had just changed. Yeah, so I change my kids everywhere BUT a changing table. That's one of my deep secrets. It's just a lot easier to do on the bed when you are scrambling around to get ready in the morning. But folks, I even have a pad under him--that's how explosive it got.

So I have Squirmy McSquirms-A-Lot trying to help change his diaper himself as he always does by getting his paws all in his personal business, and the next thing I know, there is poop on every limb of his body. Mr Observant older brother keeps yelling "BABY POOP!" Yes, I know dear...I don't know why, but I just didn't need a running commentary. And I was mad that my teeth felt like they had socks on them. And Eric was in the other room, completely unaware of the chaos.

This incident was also on the heels of the night before when Miles pooped at the dinner table multiple times in like 5 minutes. It was the kind of poop that you feel awkward witnessing. Eric and I had to look away because it seemed sort of like a private moment for him. The struggle resulted in a sound that we both responded with "Uh-oh."  Low and behold, this kid blew through HIS diaper onto his chair. That hasn't happened in ages. I'm not sure if it was something he ate...but I think having 2 huge blow outs in less than 24 hours just made me less tolerant.

With some prayer, we wrestled through the morning and the kids got off to school. I went to work, and between the hours of 8am-4pm, things were professionally nutty. Incidents won't be shared here, but I knew that it was still one of those "woke up in the guest bedroom days" when I lost the bathroom lottery...twice.

It's pedestrian knowledge that the first and last stall in a bathroom tend to the the cleanest least dirty. I hate public restrooms. So I have been known to glom onto facts like that and use them to direct my bathroom decisions. I walked into the bathroom and the first stall I went into had the water rippling.  Like it had recent visitors. There was someone in another stall, and the one free one that I was about to play musical stalls with was stolen from me from a co-worker. I just knew my seat was going to be warm, so I employed the hover. (Too much information? You've all been there...)

Don't you convince yourself you are the first one to use the stall each day? I do. That's the only way I can get myself to use them. I was pumping myself full of tea and Gatorade all day, so I knew I had another chance at the lottery. AND I knew that the bathrooms got cleaned mid-day. But trial #2? Rippling water. This time all other stalls were occupied C'mon. All I wanted was a fresh toilet. Rather, a toilet I convinced myself was fresh. Is that a lot to ask?

The 24 hours of being "off" was defined by this stellar Mommy Fail that I am so shaken about, that perhaps I'll do a little reverse interrogation of my own at 6am and convince myself it DIDN'T happen:

I picked Miles and Felix up from school. Miles now gets into the car and into his car seat on his own. It is one of the best recent "big boy developments" because I have free hands to deal with Felix. I open Miles's door, give him a slight tush push, and he is off. Then I go to Felix's side, put him in, and walk back around to strap Miles up and shut his door. Well, after this day's tush push, I shut Miles's door in an uncharacteristic move. So after I strapped Felix in, I got in the driver's side and pulled away. Felix was tired and started crying. Miles HATES it when he cries in the car (don't we all) and started whining "baby ky-ing!" And as I was driving through the school's campus, Miles started wailing like he doesn't usually do. I finally looked in the back seat to see what he was doing (really, I was going to turn around and give him a firm SHUSH) and noticed he was completely unstrapped, halfway out of his seat, and scared out of his mind why he didn't have his seatbelt on.


So I pulled over by the practice fields, strapped him in and drove home feeling awful. Granted, I drove about a few hundred feet on the school's campus, but who does that? Me.

Looking back, that day was a comedy of errors and frustrations. We all have those days. (Right? Please tell me I am not the only one.) After an incredibly overwhelming first half of our year, I have been so appreciative of just about everything. Maybe not feeling centered, but certainly feeling blessed, grateful and encouraged. But as life slowly transforms into a less worrisome period, I find myself feeling guilty for having Mommy Fail days. And this most recent day wasn't even that bad. It was just as if every element of my day was "off" if I was wearing one water shoe all day. And that the water shoe had an aggravating rock in it. And the day I just recounted was not the first, and will not be the last of the days I am frustrated. But I find myself thinking, how dare I even *think* of being frustrated when we should be grateful for so much after such an awful time? 

But I cannot help it. There are days I don't want to be tested...I don't constantly thank God for all of our blessings...days I find myself short with my family, and just itching for bed time. No matter what, the second a tush hits the water for bath time, any day gets infinitely better. It's so symbolic for me to have a sort of cleansing or baptism each night. And my children tend to be in the sweetest most delightful moods, which helps tremendously. And story/cuddle time warms my heart so easily. I just love that time...

The way I deal with Fail days is to write about it. My blog may not be fancy. I don't have a groupie following, or offer giveaways, or even sage advice. But I do provide honesty (and an over abundance of pictures of my children).  Just wait until the next installment on Potty Panic.

There are days that I just feel like such a rotten mother, wife, employee...I wonder if any other mother has those days; if it is overwhelming for anyone else? Or is it lollipops, sleep filled nights and perfectly behaved children for everyone but me?

The challenge now is for me to be okay with having those days. To shed the veil of guilt I have that constantly whispers "but you have way too much to feel blessed about. How can you let toothpaste set the tone of your day?" Is a tantrum really that big of a deal? So your hair looks bad--who cares? In the throes of Mommy Fail days, I truly think it's okay to recognize that you are having some moments. The real key is how you treat them after the fact. 

Laughing at life's mishaps, learning from your mistakes, apologizing when appropriate, and allowing yourself the space to have moments without dwelling on them for weeks. 

Life, especially parenthood, is not always easy. At least not for me. 

But, at the end of the day, I can always count on the tush hitting the water. 


  1. Just so you know, you are not alone. :)

  2. Every mommy has those days and those mommy-fails. They may just not all have a blog in which to share or be able to share.
    One of my worst mommy-fails (I have more than I can count and can remember them all these years later) was the day that the school bus had broken down, and another school bus with two strange (to us) men pulled up and offered to take your brother to kindergarten. I let him go and was sick to my stomach until I was later able to call school and confirm that he was there and safe. Of course it was all on the up and up, and I didn't have a car with which to drive him myself, but I had let him go against every instinct, and I still feel awful about it. Like you - no harm no foul, but it shakes you. It's so easy to forget those routine procedures like locking the door, where did I put my keys, and sometimes to our horror, it's I forgot to buckle my child in. Isn't it a relief to know that Miles was so accustomed to being belted that he freaked out?! You're okay!
    I am excited to see he has water shoes!!!!!

  3. You don't even have to be a mommy to have those days - as a teacher, I come home feeling guilty about how I said this the wrong way, I should have listened better, or how I should have done this, or if I only did a little more... we ALL go through it in our own ways. YOU ARE AMAZING. And doing your best. And your family is safe and happy and healthy.

  4. Oh, every mom has been there. I am wondering when the office of child and family services will be coming after me for telling my child to go play in traffic.

  5. We have all been there! If you are going to count the mommy fails, it is only fair to count the mommy successes as well!

    G unsnapped herself from her booster seat on the interstate in FL... yeah we are back in the Britax now.

  6. Oh, and by the way, be grateful that Miles tells you when his seatbelt is off--Ella is in a stage of NOT wanting to get in her car seat or be buckled in. That's a fun fight with two kids on my own each morning!