What to do Instead of Obsessing Over Your Mom Fails
I didn’t post a back to school picture of my three darlings on social media this year. Wanna know why?
Because I forgot to take one! Well, I did get a blurry picture of our almost four-year-old going to her first day of preschool. But it kinda stinks. Yeah, she’s holding a frozen waffle in each hand.
Anyway, I didn’t get a super cute group shot of all the siblings wearing fresh backpacks and sneakers while holding monogrammed lunchboxes.
Yes, we’re homeschoolers and our first day after summer break looks a little different than most. But our boys do take enrichment classes. And they do sit with their friends at lunch. And they do use back packs. And I normally do take pictures of these precious memories in the making. When I remember.
But I forgot. Well, I forgot until we pulled into the parking lot. And there she was. Kelly.
Kelly with her ridiculously thick, shiny hair and not one extra ounce of left-over baby weight from #three, and her sweet boys with their spanky new haircuts, and her really cute outfit. It’s a skirt, too! We all know what that means…she actually took the time to shave her legs. She gracefully glides out of the van and in one solid sweeping motion scoops up the preschooler, the baby, and the diaper bag.
I stand there in yoga pants older than my second born son (with some sort of unidentifiable stain right on the front) and notice my 2nd grader has about four different holes in his shorts. Why isn’t he wearing something nicer his first day back? Oh, that’s right! I didn’t intervene and help him find an appropriate outfit. He’s just wearing what he likes: a black tee shirt (with two holes) and black shorts. It’s like Edward Scissorhands helped the child get dressed.
Anyway, Kelly says, “Oh! Boys, let’s get a quick picture together for your first day back to school!”. Out of nowhere, her cell phone appears in one hand and she effortlessly takes a non-blurry picture while holding her baby girl with the other hand.
A little later that night, she tags me on FB and shares the picture. (See? She’s nice too. Bleh.)
I have fretted over this all day. And now. Here I am. Still obsessing in the middle of the night over the picture that was never taken. It gnaws at me.
I hear, “You should be a better mom. You should take more pictures.” “Your kids are adorable. They deserve to have their picture taken.” “Kelly is a loving mother. Why aren’t you a loving mother?” “You really should replace those gross pants.”
Finally. I just told the evil voices to shut up. And you know what I did? I woke the boys up from their slumber, stood them in front of the front door with pajamas and backpacks, and I took their picture!
Nah, I’m just kidding. I didn’t wake anybody up.
I asked myself a question. I had to stop the nagging and the negativity by evaluating the why. Why was this situation bothering me?
Well, the truth was that I felt left out. All of my peeps (and all the other peeps that aren’t my peeps that I still stalk on FB) posted sweet sweet pictures of their children on their first day back to school. And I didn’t.
For a day and a half, the-stupid-mom-in-me trumped the-sensible-mom-in-me and I was convinced I was a mom failure.
When I am honest with myself, I realized I was perfectly okay having someone else take the picture that I forgot to take. And this particular picture even has friends in it! So much better.
I also reevaluated another why. Why did I forget to document this memorable occasion? What caused the brain lapse?
Oh! That’s right! I was busy. BUSYBUSYBUSYBUSY!
By the time the obligatory picture should have been taken, I had already been awake for five hours. I made 3 little breakfasts, I made 3 little lunches, I made a weird chicken something and tossed it in the crockpot, I washed 3 loads of laundry, I answered 300 questions from my brood, I answered 4 texts and 1 phone call, I dropped off a clingy preschooler fifteen minutes late, and then came home and conducted our regularly scheduled homeschool day until 9:45am.
I forgot to take the dang picture at 10:00am.
I realize I am an awesome mom. I am an awesome mom that makes tons of mistakes. I know I am unqualified. I know! I am simultaneously awesome and unqualified. And I bet you are too.
So, here’s the deal. From now on when we start getting all stupid about the stuff we fail at – let’s ask ourselves these questions:
1. Why is this bothering me?
Then evaluate whether or not this warrants us feeling crappy about our mothering skills for an entire day and a half.
2. What should I do differently next time?
If we’re messing up on behalf of our kids and it’s a legitimate problem, then we need to figure out a solution. If Timmy is supposed to get his antibiotic twice a day and you’ve forgotten it for the last three days, then this needs to be addressed and fixed.
But, if it’s something that doesn’t really matter – then just chill.
You know what? Not one family member asked to see a picture of the kids this year. Not one of my friends called and fussed at me, “Angelene! We can’t believe you haven’t posted a pic of your children online yet”. My husband doesn’t care either. He couldn’t understand what the big deal was when I explained that Kelly had to take the picture for me. He’s all, “Oh – Kaaay? Aaand?”.
Believe it or not, our children didn’t even say anything. I’ve been taking their pictures for over a decade now. (If you count all the ones in utero) Shouldn’t they be concerned I’m making their little lives as special as possible? They are not. This is not a legitimate concern of theirs.
And that right there is the point! I do make their lives special. I have so many stinking pictures of these kids it’s insane. I seriously doubt I will even notice the missing picture from August 2017 when they graduate from the Naval Academy with honors.
Keep these thoughts in mind:
- Our unqualifications stand out when we are overwhelmingly busy. It’s hard to see what we’re getting right when there is still so much to do.
- The failures are easily seen when we’re comparing ourselves to others on social media and/or posting stuff just because everyone else is.
- Step back and consider the big picture. (Yes, I intended that pun thankyouverymuch. Nonetheless, it's still a good point.)
- The Enemy is waiting for us to mess up – even when we don’t really mess up – he wants us to think we do.
So. From here on out, I promise to be a little easier on myself regarding motherhood. I promise to remember that I am seriously trying to be a great mom. That in and of itself counts for a lot! And lastly, I promise to remember that we are all unqualified. (Even Kelly. She had to drive all the way home and back again because she forgot her kiddos lunches.)