Our Kids Deserve Moms Who Ask for Their Forgiveness
I forgot my daughter’s first kindergarten assignment today. Not like, it was the first time I forgot, no… it was her first assignment ever (really, my first assignment) and I forgot to do it. It was simple – take a picture of her getting ready for school and bring it by September 3rd. Noooo problem, I told myself when I read it in her folder last Friday. I’ll get it done this weekend.
My little kinder girl reminded me on Monday – “Mom, I need to bring my picture in!”
“No, no. Not until Friday. We have time. But let’s go ahead and take it.” I said, still confident I’d successfully be putting a printed picture in her folder for her to take in on Friday.
We took the pictures. Her pulling on her socks, backpack, and mask with exaggerated slowness so I could snap a couple pictures. Phew. Halfway there.
Wednesday came around, as it always does, and I was met with, “Maammmaaa, I need my picture!”
“Oh yes. I know. I’ll get it printed. You don’t need it until Friday, it’s ok.” My Wednesday-self reassured her as I bounced a crying baby and ushered her 3-yr old sister to the living room to get ready.
But. Then I slept for 3 hours Wednesday night because my sick 3month old was wheezing and coughing all night.
Sooooo when Thursday came around, I was running on caffeine and mom-power; y’all know that combo, right? So OF COURSE that’s when I found out my work had messed up my return from maternity leave and I’d somehow been removed from the payroll so I’d essentially been working for free for the past month. And, OF COURSE, as I was sending emails to HR, the nurse from the kindergarten called and said my daughter had been directly exposed last week to a classmate who had tested positive with COVID. I started googling where to find a rapid test available in the city, wondering if all the urgent care wait times of “548 minutes” were accurate, and asking my husband if I should just have her skip gymnastics (her fav part of the week) and take her with me to the pediatrician appointment I had for our son in a few hours to beg them to test her while we were there. He picked her up from school and we played car swap in the driveway as I made it to the doctor only five minutes late.
I got work sorted, got 2 of my 3 kids tested for COVID (both negative, thankfully), gave my wheezing baby a few puffs from his newly prescribed inhaler and Tylenol for his double ear infections, fed my kids fabulously healthy Happy Meals – then put them all to bed. I promptly sat on the couch with some cookie dough and watched an episode of Scrubs with my husband before going to bed.
Enter this morning. “Mama, I need my picture.”
Mom-guilt smacked me full in the face.
“Sorry, I don’t have it. I forgot and I don’t have it.”
“But, I need it! I’m supposed to have it!”
“I know, but I don’t have it. Tell your teacher I forgot and I’ll bring it later.” My voice starting to rise.
“I’ve had a hard week! I can’t do everything for all of you all of the time!!!!”
It just came out. Mom of the year over here…
Her quiet little voice spoke up, “It’s not for me, it’s for my teacher…”
“I know, I’m sorry. I’ll go get it printed and drop it off, ok? It’ll be ok.” I felt my face get hot and my eyes start to burn as my husband left to drop her and her little sister off at their respective schools for the day.
I felt terrible guys- this was not my best parenting moment. This was not the social media worthy moment of love and affection between mother and daughter.
Was the picture a big deal? No, absolutely not. I messaged her teacher, had the picture printed at CVS, and dropped it off to her school all before her teacher even responded with, “No worries, I’ll be accepting pictures all month.”
But it was the fact I had forgotten. I’d disappointed my little girl who loves school and wants so badly to please her teacher, and then lashed out in anger when what I was really feeling was guilt for forgetting, overwhelm with the whole week, frustration with myself for not being able to do it all, and mostly – exhaustion.
Parenting? Is hard. Being a parent to small children in the middle of an on-going, no-end in sight, pandemic? Is very hard.
And I felt it this past week. And I’ll likely feel it again. And again. And again.
When juggling kids, work, a marriage, household chores, church small group meetings, extracurricular activities, etc. … Sometimes, assignments are going to be forgotten. Kids are going to get sick. Dinner is going to come from a drive-thru window. Work reports are going to be rushed. Pajamas are going to be worn to daycare. Showers are going to be fast. Laundry piles will be mountainous. Sleep will be seldom. And yes, tempers will be short. Words will be said in tones or intentions not rooted in love. These things will happen.
And apologies will need to be made.
As parents – we are NOT going to be perfect. We just aren’t. We can try our best, and be pretty darn great most of the time. But there are still going to be balls that get dropped from the juggling act we are doing on the daily. And sometimes, unfortunately, that dropping is going to be cause for apology to our kiddos. Not an angry, sassy, “Well, sorry – I don’t have it!” but a big hug after school and a, “I’m really sorry for forgetting your picture and for talking to you the way I did this morning. I was upset with myself, not you. Do you forgive me? And do you want some ice cream?”
I think it’s important that we acknowledge our humanness to our kids, and model humility by asking for their forgiveness when that humanness hurts their feelings.
It’s hard and uncomfortable and takes work. But our kids? They are so so worth it.
So, excuse me. I have to go get some ice cream ready for my girl. ❤