Finally. The bedtime stalling has ceased, and both kids are tightly tucked into their cozy beds. I can’t get myself downstairs fast enough to work that sticky Blue Bell lid right off the carton, fill my bowl to the brim, and then smother it with Hershey’s chocolate. It’s just another night of motherhood with my nighttime companion of sugar. I finally get settled on the couch, my juicy Liane Moriarty novel in hand, and go for the first bite, but the spoon never makes it to my mouth.
Someone is calling for me. I was wrong about the stalled cease-fire. Now, she’s at the top of the stairs, and it appears she will not see another day until she brushes her teeth. Ugh. I forgot . . . again. I stand at the bottom of the stairs and try to stifle my impatience and agitation at her adamance of good dental hygiene. “It’s okay to skip tonight! We will just brush them first thing in the morning. Go on back to bed,” I call up as I dart back to the couch and trust that she will do as I asked. I know in my head that bedtime obedience doesn’t come that easily, but I just can’t convince my tastebuds of that same awareness. “But, Mom. We forgot last night . . . and I think the night before that, too.”
Then it hits me. She’s right. We always, always forget to brush our kids’ teeth. And we forget to stay up to date on their dentist visits too. My mind instantly flashes back to a few weeks before when I was chatting with my mom friends as they began discussing their children’s dental hygiene visits to the dentist every six months, how even when their children fall asleep on the couch, they wake them up to brush their teeth, and how they change out their brushes every month. All the while, I am trying not to draw attention to my guilt while thinking, “Errrr, my five year old hasn’t been to the dentist since 2013 and maybe brushes her teeth every third night.” I snap out of the memory as she saunters back to her room, teeth unbrushed. Mom fail, #367 . . . today.
Motherhood is full of mom fails.
No, no . . . parenthood is full of parent fails. Kind of like the time I was flying down the busy highway, and, suddenly, my toddler’s head was right. there. next. to. mine. “Whooooooooaaaa! How did you get there?” Did I buckle her in? I buckled her in; I just know it. Did she teach herself how to get out? There is NO way I forgot to buckle her in. About that time, my five year old chimes in, “Mom, you definitely didn’t buckle her in.” Or, wait, am I confusing that with the time I put the carseat back into the car, and when I turned the first corner, the carseat, child attached, toppled over to the side?
It happens. Mom failures delight our subconscious, bringing back memories of all the places we go wrong during the day, usually, just as we close our eyes ready to turn in for the night. We work so tirelessly on feeding our children healthy meals, making sure they get enough activity, reinforcing independent play, teaching them how to share, staying out of the bad crowd at school, focusing on their homework, showing obedience and respect to adults, and at the bare minimum, keeping them alive. It’s no wonder that at the end of the day, all we can think about is the thousands of ways we’ve failed. Surely, surely, I am not the only one?
Oh, but grace.
Thankfully for mamas like me, there is so much grace and humility in parenthood. Our mistakes provide the most magnificent lessons of grace from our children when they continue to think we hung the moon despite our failures and those same failures produce a humility within us that builds a depth of compassion for other mamas walking in the same shoes as ours just perhaps a different brand. Having a community of mamas to share these downfalls with can turn moments of terror and guilt into tearful fits of laughter around the coffee table, where we can all relate to how we actually never read bedtime stories, how our children leave the house every day with mismatched socks, and, sometimes, dinner is nothing more than sugar-packed Yoplait yogurt and a stack of Kroger brand microwavable pancakes.
So, mama’s, let’s lift each other up, one failure (and chuckle) at a time.
What are some of your biggest mom goofs or failures? Do you need a community of mamas? Check out our list of FWMB Neighbor Groups, which are free online regional and topical groups that meet online and offline.