Lets all recognize one thing here: There is no mother of the year trophy. There is no actual contest, although there are some people would like to not only believe that there is but also that they are by FAR winning the competition! Those ladies scream it from the top of their lungs on a daily basis, and some of us schmucks believe them. It’s not true. Everyone makes mistakes being a parent. All of us are attempting to do what we has never been done before: raise OUR kids! All kids are different, and need different things from their parents. There is no “best”. Even if there were, all of us experience days that we definitely DON’T deserve the “trophy” as it were. These are the days when we go to bed exhausted thinking, “Wow. I hope when he talks about that in therapy in a few years, he leaves out the part where I….” Yep. Those are the moments that if we don’t have a sense of humor will make us cry. I call them the MOTY moments (Mother Of The Year – for those who didn’t put it together right away… It’s alright. You’re exhausted.) Here are a few that occurred this weekend:
We went into a store to buy sneakers for Boy. I decided to have Girl sized too, since she was there. The lady asked her to put her foot on the plate, so that they could see how big it was. Girl gave her a confused look and asked, “How do you want it to look?” It was the lady’s turn to be confused. “What do you mean?” “Well, when I have my shoes ON, my feet look like THIS.” Girl curled in her toes under her foot and stood with her weight all on her heels. “When I don’t have my feet in my shoes, they look like THIS.” She relaxed into flatfooted position. The lady looked at me and said, “I think she needs new shoes.” I stood, red faced, and laughed. I had no idea her shoes were a size and a half too small. How did I miss it?! Why didn’t she say anything?! Who knows… MOTY.
We woke up late one morning for the gym. I had an appointment with my trainer, and we had 20 minutes to get everyone in clothes and out the door if I was going to make it. We were on a mission. I ran Girl into her room, grabbed pants and a t-shirt out of her drawer and told her to get dressed. I ran in and got Boy ready, and we headed downstairs. When I put Girl’s shoes on, I recognized that her pants were seriously short. They looked like capris. She was so proud that she’d buttoned them all by herself, and we were running so late, that I just told myself that maybe she got a pair of her summer pants by accident, and put her in the car. Two hours later, we were back home and I realized that I had given away her summer clothes because she had grown. What was up with the poindexter pants she had on?! Yep. You guessed it. When I checked her tag, she was wearing her little brother’s pants. They’d mistakenly been placed in her drawer. She is in a 4T. He is in 18mo clothes. She HAD to have been uncomfortable with a waist that small. Oh well. MOTY.
Those were just this weekend. These types of moments happen every day for most of us. If you let it get to you, you’ll end up in the nut house murmuring “I did my best. I tried. How did it happen?!” So what do you do in these moments? First, you laugh. Do it. It IS funny. Seriously. How funny is it that my little girl was so honest to the lady at the store, or that she tried so hard to make me happy that she wore pants that were way too small? It is funny.
Once you stop laughing, take stock. How can you do it better next time? What cue did you miss? How could you have been better prepared? If you behaved badly, just recognize it, acknowledge your recognition to your children, and then figure out what went wrong. Learn from your mistakes. Then what? Move. On. Don’t get mired down in the guilt that the world likes to layer onto Moms. It seems like it is entirely our responsibility how our children behave, the choices they make, the friends they keep, their outlook on life, their education, their health, their food choices, their sexuality, all of it. It’s all on you. Really? No. It just feels that way sometimes. Calm down. One or two bad days do not a bad childhood make. Even if there are mistakes ::big shock:: EVERYDAY, your kids will be fine. Show them that it is alright to make mistakes. Apologize to them for the ones they observe, let the others go, and keep on keepin’ on. They need to see you mess up and learn from it. Talk to them about what you’ve learned when you apologize. They will learn that it is alright to make mistakes as long as you apologize and learn from them. You really didn’t intend on doing wrong. It was just a bad day or a bad moment. You are a good mom. In fact, you might just be a Mother of the Year!
If you have a MOTY moment, share! We all need to laugh at our mistakes. Share the smile! I just did.
Read this blog post I found called “You’re a good mother, I’m a good mother.” She said it better than I ever could. We are all great parents figuring it out as we go along. Don’t be so hard on yourself!
Image Source (just the trophy… I added the MOTY): here.