Today I woke up feeling like I’m not doing all the things I want to be doing as a mom. A couple of weeks ago I got an email from the school and it said, “I am pleased to announce that your superstar will be receiving an award at our awards assembly on November 3rd. It could’ve been an award for Elsa or Violet, since they are in the same class. I assumed the award was for Elsa since she is always the student who reads the most books, and generally makes it her business to excel in whatever she does.
Well, I forgot to put the awards ceremony in my calendar, and if it doesn’t go in my calendar, it most likely won’t happen. My brain is the black hole of calendar events. But I was excited about the awards ceremony because the triplets are new to their school and I thought this award would boost confidence. The date of the ceremony was etched into my brain and I even thought I put it in my calendar, but when the day arrived, the awards ceremony was nowhere to be found in the swirling nebulous of my brain that is trying to keep up with my chaotic life for the past four months.
I picked the kids up from school and Violet burst through the minivan door and said, “Mom! I got the citizenship award at school!” She said, “They called me up there and told me I was getting an award and I was like are you sure you meant me, Violet?” She never expected to get an award. Her sister is more the award type, and Violet has accepted that. Then she said, “Everyone else’s mom was taking pictures of me and it was so awkward.”
My heart sank. I had failed. This was certainly one of Violet’s most proud life moments and I wasn’t even there to witness it.
“I’m so sorry, Violet. I’m so sorry I wasn’t there. I’m so mad at myself for not putting in my calendar.” Violet said, “It’s OK mom, don’t feel bad. It’s OK.” Then Preston chimed in because he didn’t want me to feel badly either. But I did.
The thing about being a mom is that we are all so hard on ourselves and each other and expect a perfect motherhood performance, but this is unrealistic because we are imperfect human beings and unnecessary because our children always think we are the best. In all my years as a mom, in all my mistakes, my kids still think I’m doing a good job. I will try to take them at their word and let my mom mistakes go.
A fellow blogger in my network of writers, Beth Caldwell, recently died of Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. In her blog The Cult of Perfect Motherhood, she shared stories of motherhood and then after she was diagnosed, she shared heart-wrenching stories about dying. Something she once wrote stuck with me. She talked about “teaching ourselves to be good parents without hating ourselves for not being perfect. It’s about an end to guilt and shame over things that are not shameful and that we should not feel guilty about. And it’s about supporting each other instead of judging eachother, because we all live in glass houses.”
Violet showed me her award with a big beaming smile and told me she was so happy. “This is my best day ever!” she said. She received the Citizenship Award for her kindness to others, especially kids with special needs that her class mentors.
While I spent the afternoon silently torturing myself for missing her awards ceremony eight hours earlier, my kids were busy living life to the fullest in the present, thinking I am still a good mom.
I woke up this morning lamenting all the things I should be doing better: reading with my kids, playing with them more, taking Preston to the skate park he has wanted to go to for the past month, monitoring my teenager’s technology more, giving them my full attention when they speak to me. Not missing their events at school. The list could go on. But instead of punishing myself anymore, I am writing it all down here and I will send it out to the world and let it go. And you better god damn believe I won’t miss the next awards ceremony.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.