Bad Mom’s

With so many “bad mom” movies out today, us real life ‘bad mom’s’ can finally admit our own ‘mom fails’, and share our own (often hilarious) stories.  The best part is that we can realize that we are not alone.

From forgetting the Tooth Fairy, getting caught with “Santa Gifts”, forgetting a kid, losing a kid (always in K-mart) or completely missing picture day for about 3 school years in a row.  My personal favorite, sending them (walking) to (grade) school in the winter on a ‘no-school’ day.  (I have done ALL of those and so many more.)

I will never forget the Christmas morning that the boys got us out of bed to open their gifts.  We stumble out to find them kneeling in front of the gifts, but I notice Dari has a perplexed look on his face.  What is it I ask him?

“Why did Santa wrap my present in the same paper that was in the back of the car?”, he says.

Bruce and I look at each other.  Shit, this kid (at the age of 5) misses NOTHING.  I whisper to Bruce, ‘I don’t know how he saw that…..I have other wrapping paper I picked up on clearance yesterday that there is NO way he saw’……

So, we say, ‘time to get in the bath BEFORE we open gifts’.  They were dumbstruck…..

“But we have never had to have a bath before opening gifts other Christmas’s”, they say.

“This year is different”, we say.

As Bruce got them in the tub, I quickly re-wrapped the Santa gifts with the paper that Dari hadn’t seen and set them back in place.  Then we had a lame story about we found the real Santa gifts….

I am not sure we fooled anyone but Darek, who was oblivious anyway, but we still laugh at that one.  Poor Dari….I am fairly certain he wished he would’ve just kept his mouth shut.  Here they are wet hair and all…..and the ONLY Christmas morning picture of them in clothes and not pj’s!

My friends and I talk about this at work all the time.  We share MANY of our EPIC mom fails, and of course now we can laugh because everyone (mainly our kids, but possibly us as well) has thus far made it out alive!

My boys are now, men.  I am not sure how that happened but regardless of whatever difficulty I have accepting that age has crept up on me, it is true, they both made it to adulthood, even with my many ‘mommy fails’.  For every time I felt like I was a kicka** mom, there are about 10 times where I felt mediocre at best.  Unfortunately, there is no rule book that came along with each kid, specifically addressing how EACH child would be SO different and HOW I should parent these very different personalities.  It’s learning on the run.  And it’s stumbling many times.  For many of us mom’s (and dad’s), we worry (albeit somewhat irrationally) that our blunders along the way will cause catastrophe, sending our children into a maladjusted and miserable adulthood.

My rational mind can most of the time prevail, and I realize that most of my mom fails will not (hopefully) cause any lasting damage into their later years.  We too often beat ourselves up about the fact that we are not ‘wonder mom’s’, and we cause ourselves undo stress with the worry.  We have to rationalize that we will never do this job perfectly, and the slip up’s will happen.

I have had SO many mom fails in my over two decades of “momming”.

A few of my top fails:

When Darien was about 5, he went through a bout of night terrors.  The poor kid would wake up freaking out and the more we would try to soothe him, the more (we later learned) that we interacted with him, the more he would pull us into the night terror.  After some time, I took him to our pediatrician because I was hoping there was something we could do about it.  She said night terrors were a normal part of a young child’s psyche and experience and that he would grow out of it.  However, she tried to help me brainstorm some possible triggers.  As we sorted through some possible scenarios of what could cause his night terrors, the doctor asked Darien what some of his favorite, games, friends, play, TV shows and movies were.  Most of the answers were fairly boring.

Dari’s response: Tag or hide and seek with my friends (that was ok).  Duck Tales (that was ok).  Looney Toons  (ok too).  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (hmm maybe a bit too violent, possible trigger).  Playing dinosaurs with my friend Hilary (hmm, maybe a trigger depending on what type of play with the dinosaurs).  Land Before Time (hmm, that was ok).

As the doctor and I were finishing up our conversation, Darien pipes up.

Oh, and my favorite movie is Jurassic Park!

The doctor and I lock eyes.  Truly she didn’t even have to say anything, as I wanted to melt into the cushion of the bench.  In my defense, he did LOVE that movie!  He literally watched it everyday, at least once.  I stammered something about “he watched PARTS of it once” (leaving out that he watched it daily).  As we held eyes, she kindly offered that it may possibly not be the best choice for a 4 year oldBut we weren’t done yet.  Darek decided to chime in….

Darek:  “Shoe time”, in a sort of sing-song, hollaring voice.

The doctor.  What is shoe time?  Thinking it is some new cartoon she hasn’t heard of….. (I am fairly sure that I obviously cringed….please Darek….no…..)

Darek:  It’s from Jurassic Park.  When we watch it, I love the part where they yell ‘shoe time’ in the beginning…..(it was actually the “shoot her” scene but Darek thought it was “shoe time” and every time we watched it, he would walk around yelling “shoe time” in his sing-song voice.  We thought it was funny….)

The doctor and I lock eyes again….

Christ.  Can I just disappear?

Apparently, even though your 5 year old LOVES a movie, it doesn’t mean he should probably watch said movie……(notice the Christmas gifts he received for Christmas above, this kid loved this movie!).  Yes, I am still trying to rationalize this mom fail….

Another time, we were at the park (every good mom does this) and the kids were having a great time running around and playing.  At times I would join them and play a little hide and seek or tag (again, feeling like super mom).  After a while I sat on the bench to read a book while they played (even good mom’s need a break).  I glanced up as Darek was crossing the monkey bars and I watched him drop to the ground on his legs, but he also used his arms as he fell forward lightly (sort of how a monkey would land).

He came out of the ‘monkey stance’ and immediately grabbed his wrist and started running to me.  In my mind I was like <this kid is always so dramatic> as I waited for him to approach me.  He was crying and said that he broke his arm.  I was like <you didn’t break your arm Darek> but he insisted.  I grabbed his wrist and told him to move it, he did but he said it hurt.  I insisted that it wasn’t broke and that he probably just jammed it a bit.  I continually tried to “show” him it wasn’t broke by having him move his arm.  “See honey, if you can move it, it isn’t broke.”  I told him to sit with me until it felt better but he kept crying (off and on), and insisted it was broken.  This went on for some time (like an hour), until I decided the park fun was over and I better take ‘Drama King’ home.

As we drove home, he would complain that his arm hurt every time we hit a bump, and he continued to cry….and that’s when I started to think that maybe something was (really) wrong with it.  By the time we got home, he had a baseball size swollen area on the bottom of his wrist.

Indeed it was broken (I kept his little casts).

20+ years later, I still have guilt over that one. 

One of my two children is a (self proclaimed) ‘ginger’.   I have always LOVED his red hair.  When he was little, he had two little cowlicks that made him look like he had two little ‘devil horns’.  So adorable.

What is not adorable are the (too many) times I sunburned this poor kid!

Along with his beautiful red hair comes some pretty translucent white skin.  It never failed, almost every year, especially in May (i never thought it was hot enough yet), I would send him out to play in a tank and every time, he would get a sunburn.  Every year, I got caught with this poor kid.  Darek had always been able to tan easily and he rarely burns, and so it was something that I just ‘forgot’ every year for poor Dari, always in May.

Once he got sunburned so badly that he had blisters.  It was horrible.  Huge weeping blisters all across his shoulders and upper back.  This all happened right before he was supposed to go camping with Bruce in the Boundary Waters.  I almost didn’t let him go (this would be the same year as the beef chokey incident, foreshadowing anyone?) but he wanted to go so badly.  By the time they were to go, his blisters had healed some and I relented and let him go.  I told Bruce to cover him at all times and apply sunscreen hourly during the day.

After the ‘blister burn’ year, I got much better about applying sunscreen to this sunburn magnet kid of mine.

Now that Darien is an adult, he has embraced his ‘ginger hair and white skin’ and he is the first one to get the sunscreen out (I’m sure the memories of his mom’s past sunscreen ‘fails’ are clear in his mind).  This past week we were in the Dells and we were poolside.  It was late in the day, the sun was way west, and it was cloudy.  Darien pulled the sunscreen out and I laughed and told him that I thought he was ‘safe’ this late in the day, and with the cloud cover for the short bit we were going to be at poolside.

He crooked his head, cocked an eye and said, “mom, the clouds themselves will sunburn me!”

Good point!

I applied the sunscreen (see, still having mom fails at the age of 48).

One of my favorite mom fails and something my friends at work laughed about for days.

Not that long ago, Darek was working and I was supposed to pick him up on my way home from the gym.  I literally talked to him as I was leaving the gym and told him that I would be there within 5 minutes (literally the gym was MAYBE five minutes from his work).  In fact, my route home from the gym always went right past his workplace.  My mind was heavy and I had a ton of things going on, and so when I pulled into the garage and got out of the car, I couldn’t help but feel like I was forgetting something.  As I started to climb the stairs in the house, I suddenly realized just what I had forgotten….DAREK!  I jumped back in the car and drove immediately back to get him (it wasn’t too far from where we lived).

When he got in the car I apologized profusely, and told him that I had somehow forgot him.

He said, “I know mom, I watched you drive past here”.

Yep, I literally drove RIGHT PAST the place he worked at the time.  He watched me speed by him in my car as I drove home….

Years ago, when my sister Dawn’s kids were much younger, she was coming to Rochester for a long weekend with her kids.  I knew about the time she left and so much time had elapsed with her not being there that I finally called her to see if everything was okay.

She said they were fine but that they were “stuck” at a gas station in Faribault (about halfway) because she was waiting for a locksmith to come and make her a key for her car.

What happened I ask?

She had given her keys to Ethan to hold, to distract him while she was going to the bathroom and right as she flushed the toilet, Ethan threw the keys into the toilet…..and they were GONE.

So for the next several hours, there she sat trying to entertain her kids at the gas station while the locksmith worked.

I love these stories and without them to laugh about, our jobs as parents would be so much less fun!

Let’s face it, this parenting is a ‘learning on the job” occupation if there ever was one!

These stories keep it real for all of the “real mom’s (and dad’s)” out there who are just simply, doing our best (with some great stories to share along the way)!

We would love to hear some of your ‘mom (or dad) fail’ stories!



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