All right, let’s just be clear before we dig any deeper on this topic…”Mom of the Year Award” is a facetious term. I like to use it for those days where I’ve pulled a complete bone-headed maneuver and wish I could take back what I’ve said or done. I am sure there isn’t a mom alive that hasn’t earned the “Mom of the Year” award multiple times in one month. Or for those of us who are especially talented, we have perhaps earned this award multiple times in one day. I know you could count me in the latter category.
Last week was my birthday and my mom came to visit me. During one particular day we all decided to meet my husband for lunch at McDonalds. (As there are so many fine dining choices available, why McDonald’s, you ask? Because they happen to have Pokemon toys for the Happy Meal prize…need I elaborate?) Anyhow, as I was trying to talk to my husband on my cell phone and hear him over the hustle and bustle of the restaurant, my son in a very excited tone was trying to tell me which Pokemon toy he was hoping to get in his meal. In my frustration over deciphering my husbands garbled voice through the lousy cell phone signal and hear my son at the same time, I finally looked at my son and yelled “HUSH!” …think that scene from Shrek 2 when Shrek tells Fiona “I AM AN OGRE…ARGHHH!” …yup. My voice was loud and sour enough that several people in the restaurant shot me the “stink eye”.
After my brief tirade, I looked down at my son to see tears in his eyes. I felt like a complete failure…
Were my actions a mistake? I think so. The punishment certainly didn’t fit the crime. My need to holler “Hush!” and then embarrass my son were unnecessary. It was a response to the “heat of the moment.” All of us make this mistake. As a caregiver, you are responsible for food, well-being, taxi driver, psychologist, conversation specialist, project manager, multi-tasker, washer, dryer, kisser of owies…and so on and so forth. There is no break in the day. It’s not a job that allows for you to clock in or clock out. The only time you are not on the job is when you are sleeping …and even that is debatable.
Nobody else can be MOM. Only you. When instances I’ve described above happen, where we’ve made a colossal goof, the inclination is to beat ourselves up. I don’t know about you but phrases like “What kind of mother am I!?!” or “I’m the worst mom in world!” float through my mind. We either try to fix the mistake or we ignore it. However, in moments like these, I believe the most important thing we can do for our kids is to forgive ourselves.
I’ve got a news flash for you…as a mom, you are going to make mistakes. Lets just be brutally honest (we’re among friends)….you aren’t just going to make mistakes, you are going to make LOTS of them! The key is to give yourself a little grace. Christ has given you grace, why not show a little to yourself? Your child needs a mom, they don’t need a perfectionist life coach that is going to show them how to chew with their mouth closed and make perfect grades. They need to see a real person. One that makes mistakes. One that owns up to their mistakes. One that knows how to say “I’m sorry for the mistake I made.” Most importantly, one that allows herself the grace to screw up and move forward.
Once you become a parent, you can’t resign. There are no “take backs” and you certainly can’t put that kid back from where they came. I have an unfortunate situation where my dad decided he was done…he no longer wanted to be my dad (we’ll chew on that topic in a different blog) Anyhow, I bring that up because I know first hand the results of a parent quitting their job. It leads to a great deal of bitterness & hatred. So, don’t quit. Don’t hate yourself because you’ve once again fouled up. Slap on that “Mom of the Year Award” square between your eyeballs. We’ve all messed up. Own up to your mistakes and don’t hide them. This isn’t your first rodeo and it for darn sure isn’t going to be your last, so climb back into the saddle. You are in good company…because Christ has also shown you grace.