Updated: Jul 25, 2020
So, there I sat, last Thursday morning, feeling like one awesome momma. Up at 6:00. Out the door by 8:00, all three girls fully-dressed, hair done, coats on, in-toe. Flu shots. Got them to my w.o.n.d.e.r.f.u.l. parents for the rest of the day, since they didn’t have preschool. And off to our oldest daughter’s parent-teacher conference. Which, thankfully, her amazing teacher managed to help me schedule on my way to work for the afternoon.
And as I sat down at the tiny table, ready to discuss our precious sweetheart, that’s when it hit me. I looked down on the table, and laying in front of me was our middle daughter’s work that she missed during preschool that day. Because she. was. supposed. to. be. at. school. Only Miss Observant was off for the day. Monkey had class. And she was going to be star student. I can only imagine how red my face was. Insert hashtag mom-fail. Yup.
So, I kindly explained that I was under the impression that all classes were out for the day due to conferences. Which I thought to be (and which actually was) an honest mistake. And I managed to make it through Miss O’s conference, focusing on the beauty of her growth. Of course, after the conference ended, I immediately went to Monkey’s teacher and apologized. And she was fine. She tried to make me laugh. And let me know that everything was okay. But I still was not.
I. still. couldn’t. shake. it. I had messed up. Yes, sweet friends, I know it is preschool. That’s not what bothered me. What upset me was that I messed up. As her mom. In front of an audience. Of her teachers. I. am. a. teacher. Of 11 years. I should know better, right?!
The girls are in different classes. With different weekly colors. And letters. And field trips. And snack schedules. And I try my best to keep up, but I am only human. I knew Monkey was to bring snack next week, but I didn’t realize she had school. Sigh.
And this got me thinking. To a story that an i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. mother of four boys, friend and fellow teacher shared with me a few years ago….
While in the midst of pursuing her Masters degree, in addition to mothering four little guys and teaching full-time, her oldest son had finished reading the entire book of Genesis in a special Bible she had recently gotten for him. She was beyond proud of him! So, although not any easy task to pull off in the midst of life’s chaos, she decided to take a day from work, as did her mother, to take him to a special museum that he had been wanting to visit, in another state, to celebrate his determination and accomplishment, in-a-once-in-a-lifetime kind of way. Before they could head off on their adventure, they had to drop several little brothers off at preschool. As she opened the door to walk them through the hallway and to their classes, she noticed a large amount of parents lining the hallways and classrooms. That’s when it hit her. She forgot that today was a field trip day. Two little guys in hand, winter coats, and crocs, but no socks, who were about to board the bus to visit the local pumpkin patch. As she stood in one of her son’s classrooms, the teacher worked to keep her calm, and my sweet friend promised to hurry home, pack lunches, grab some socks, and rush back. The teacher held the bus for this amazing momma, and as if things could not get any worse, she found herself on a “walk of shame” down the aisle of the bus, as the parents around her watched, while she put socks on her sons’ feet. She could only hold it together for so long, which was until she got back into the car with her oldest son, and she let it out.
Her sharing her vulnerability with me. That she too made a mistake. And felt horrible. Made me feel so. much. better. So much so, that I called her recently to hear the story again, so that I could share it with you.
Mom guilt is serious stuff. It begins before those precious babes ever find their way to our cradling arms. And it doesn’t stop when they graduate from infancy, or toddlerhood or any other transitional period. It can happen at any age. (My mom would most definitely agree!) The problem with mom guilt is that it doesn’t just go away overnight. No, no sweet friends. Mom guilt lingers. Deep inside the depths of our hearts. Buried in the archives of our memories. That we weren’t the perfect mom. That we made a mistake. Maybe a huge mistake. In front of others. Who are constantly judging.
But that’s the amazing thing about it all. Mommas’ hearts are meant to grow. Expand. Carrying more and more love with every new day. And working through a mistake only makes any mother stronger. Ready to deal with the next blow of guilt tossed her way. It will never be “easy”, but with time, it becomes more manageable.
So, sweet mamas, don’t e.v.e.r. forget to cut yourselves a break. We all make mistakes. But keep in mind, someone out there has made one bigger. Never forget to put down those stones. For it is not our place to judge, especially when we know what it feels like to be on the receiving end. Life happens. As hard as it may be, sometimes we need to just sHaKe iT oFf (literally, if need-be…been there!) and continue to exist and make a difference as the rock-star momma that you really are.
And the most amazing blessing of all in regards to “mom guilt”?! The only One we should e.v.e.r. be concerned about judging us is the only One who matters. Because those who judge others will be judged themselves by God. And I have no doubt that each-and-every hard-working, love-driven, overworked, trying-her-best momma has an unconceivably special place in His heart.
Keep your head up, pretty lady…you are doing a magnificent job!