One of the most inspiring blog posts I have ever read was My Rock-Bottom Mom Moment Caught on Camera by Erin Zammett Ruddy. She shared a photo of her six-year old on the iPad while bottle-feeding her 2 month old. Close by is her four-year old daughter sitting in the infant carrier with a sharp pencil in one hand and another iPad on her lap. Ruddy set the stage by explaining what so many of us moms had been facing this winter — kids constantly home from school and daycare due to extreme weather conditions and our real-time work commitments continuing to pile up.
If I was in a room with Ruddy, and I didn’t think I would get arrested, I would kiss her.
She had a couple of choices after taking this photo: a) she could have not shared the picture at all for fear of being judged; b) she could have done a “woe is me” pitch for sympathy for the working mom; or c) she could have been snarky about the whole thing daring anyone to question her parenting. Instead, she did something beautiful that we don’t see enough of in today’s world of perfection parenting — she owned it.
Bottom line: I think it’s important for moms to share the “doing-whatever-it-takes” moments as well as the Pinterest-inspired, picture-perfect ones. Would I have posted this on Facebook? Um, no. Am I proud of it? Not really. But I’m taking one for the mom team and throwing myself under the bus here so that other moms can feel better about some of their own subpar parenting. You’re welcome.
Well, let me say a big fat thank you.
Like all of us, I work hard to be a good mom. I’m an active member of the PTA for God’s sake. But my mom career is marked with some blemishes. These are things I don’t normally share on Facebook, and I certainly didn’t plan on sharing them on my blog full of strangers.
But I’ve received some great e-mails from my readers. A few of you have shared some pretty hilarious stories about your own experiences with competitive moms. I received a few messages detailing some tough situations you’ve had with your own children. And I’ve had a couple of messages that just break my heart — the ones that say as a Mom, you just don’t ever feel good enough. These are the worst of all.
Because of this, I thought I would share some of my dark secrets. These are just a few of the “imperfect” moments I’ve had as a mom. The ones I would normally only share with my most trusted friends over a (few) glasses of wine. I hope it makes some of you feel better about any mistakes you’ve made, and for those of you feeling alone out there, know that you’re not.
So, here it goes….my top five worst Mom moments:
5. I was feeding my daughter a bottle while on a conference call with my client. My part was only 15 minutes, so I had my older two watching a video in the other room while I thought I could keep the baby quiet with the bottle (I’m an optimist.) I was answering a question in elaborate detail when I started to feel something wet. The top must not have been on tight and there was milk all over her and me. She seemed to think it was funny, but only for about 30 seconds before she started howling. I fibbed and said my nanny brought the baby into my office with a quick question and I had to hop off for a moment. I never rejoined the call.
4. My nanny called in sick one morning when I had a day of marathon conference calls and a new product launch I could not postpone. I set out a trough of goldfish and juice boxes, and taught one of the girls how to operate the DVD player. I think they watched six Disney movies in a row basically without a break. When they would come up to my office door (which was glass so they could see in), I bribed them to keep quiet with Hershey kisses.
3. When one of my twins was an infant, I was pushing her in a grocery cart through a parking lot after shopping. She was in her carrier in the front, which I thought was locked in. It was freezing, so I was trying to hurry. I hit a small pot hole and her car seat flew out of the cart, did a few flips in the air, and landed on the pavement. Thankfully the handle was up so she never physically hit the road. She was fine and didn’t even cry until I took her out of the car seat to check her; I am still traumatized 9 years later.
2. We were trying a modified cry-it-out method for our four-month old one evening who refused to go to sleep anywhere but laying on top of someone. The doctor had recommended she lay in her crib for 5-10 minutes each night with some soothing music in order to get her used to sleeping in it. We used one of those lighted LeapFrog music players shaped like Tag the frog in the corner of her crib, safely away from the baby. After about 10 minutes, her whimpers turned to full-scale freak out mode. When I went in to check on her, there was Tag, laying right on top of her. She had somehow pushed herself to the bottom of the crib and knocked it so they were nose-to-nose. She still doesn’t like frogs, and I think she slept on top of me for another two months.
1. When my third daughter was born, my twins were only 16 months old. My youngest was what the doctor called a “happy spitter” so burp cloths were a must. One day after feeding her, I realized I didn’t have anything to wipe the spit up. I put her all swaddled up in her bouncy seat — without buckling her in — for just a second to go to the other room to get a burp cloth. By the time I got back, one of her sisters was standing behind the bouncy, pushing it lower and lower, looking like she was going to launch the baby out of the seat like a stone in a catapult. Needless to say, for the next 9 months she stayed in the Baby Bjorn at all times. I’m not even sure how she learned how to walk.
So there it is. While I cringe just a bit while reading these, I also realize that these moments aren’t so bad after all. My kids are pretty happy, and obviously they survived my Momtastrophies. I make new mistakes all the time, and I’ll try to share those along with my successes. Because we’re all in this together.
If you want to share one of your worst Mom moments, please feel free to comment below (anonymous is fine). Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog via e-mail (just enter your address to the right) and like playdatesonfridays on Facebook.
It’s Friday peeps, so cheers!