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parenting fail

mom low point, parenting, motherhood, doing your best, parenting fail, judgement

Have you ever had a mom low point that was so rough that it knocked you right back on your butt and made you feel like you were doing absolutely everything wrong? Being a mom is hard. I mean question yourself, cry after they go to bed, guilt-ridden, love them so fiercely that sometimes it feels like you might die…hard. Sometimes it’s so hard that I just want to throw my hands up and walk away and other times, I want to crumple up on the floor and assume the fetal position but other times, like tonight, when I feel like a complete failure, my instinct is to fight as hard as I can for what is certainly the most precious and important thing in my life, my girls.

As you may have noticed, I didn’t post too often during the holidays. I was in a proverbial Nutcracker dug hole. You see, I had this dream of what my daughters’ childhood would look like and it was the complete opposite of mine. I wanted them to have extravagant parties (because I had none). I wanted them to be well rounded and that meant culture so there needed to play an instrument, play a sport and learn a language and on top of all of that, I expected good no GREAT grades. Okay, I had some of that but I had a lot of hard times and dysfunction and I never wanted any of that for them. Bottom line, I wanted to protect them from any hardship but I’ve realized hardships come in many different forms.

My rule was if they wanted to try it, I was going to support it but still, I had expectations of my daughters but I was mindful not to put labels on them or to compare them to others or to be too hard on them. When I was a small child, I was labeled “gifted” (I hate that stupid term. It’s meaningless.) because of my IQ but all that did was pigeonhole me onto the college prep FastTrack, from about 7-years-old on, I had no choice in the matter. My life was laid out for me.

Even when all my grades were A’s, the unavoidable, “why aren’t they A+s?” always followed. I never felt good enough and there was no time or budget for me to do frivolous things like extracurriculars unless they were school provided. In fact, when all of my friends were taking things like typing and art in high school, I was taking what today would be considered AP everything, plus on the newspaper, the yearbook and taking 2 foreign languages. I graduated with a gold seal on my diploma but I hated school because it was just layered upon layer of expectations for me. It wasn’t about experiences; it was about winning. What the prize was, I never figured out. It must have been that f*cking meaningless gold seal. In return, I have never felt adequate enough. Ever. That is the last thing I want for my children.

I’ve been keeping my mom shit together pretty good over the years, sure it’s held together by duct tape and bubble gum like I’m the effing mom MacGyver but I thought I was doing a good job. Sure, I have an occasional mom low point but mostly, I thought my mom skills were on point. I tell my kids not to measure themselves against others, and yet, I almost constantly measure my failures against my friend’s perceived triumphs. I tell my girls they are perfect but all I do is see my own flaws. I am parenting the do as I say not as I do way and it’s not what I wanted. Not at all.

Anyways, the girls are, by all accounts, thriving. They play the violin, dance in the city’s ballet youth company, they tap and do jazz, there is gymnastics and cheer and oh, yes, choir plus the grades are always all “A”s but there are no recesses, no playdates, no rest and no down time. Every minute is filled with STUFF and for what? In 12 years, who is going to care if they did all of this? They’re missing experiences and for the first time ever, the report card didn’t show all “A”s. I’m failing my children again. Alert: Mom low point!

I know that is not the end of the world but the thing is it wasn’t because my kids aren’t smart enough, it’s because they simply didn’t have the time to dedicate to their homework because they were so overbooked. They had to miss school for performances and then they got sick because they were so run down. Now, I’m sitting here feeling like the world’s shittiest mom because I let this happen to them. I allowed this perfect storm of disappointment to come into their lives when I’m the one who should have protected them from it.

Friends and family (including the Big Guy) have been telling me for years to cut it back to save myself a headache but I would not relent because it felt selfish. Now, I see that I need to cut things back because it’s too much for them and that’s all it’s ever really been about. So today, I’m getting rid of things in our lives. I’m cutting the fat so that we can enjoy these few years they have left at home. I don’t care if they are not doing all the things.

Parenting today is nothing like when my parents raised me. We did less and they were accountable for less. My God, I grew up in the time of no seatbelts and riding in the back of pick-up trucks. I played outside until the streetlights came on and I walked all over town with my friends, with no cell phone or chip. The goal was graduating high school without going to jail or ending up pregnant or a serial killer. By the standards, my parents did a bang up job. But things are different now, parenting is not about getting by. It’s a measure of your worth as a human being, especially if you’re a stay-at-home parent because if it’s not about the kids…what’s it all been for? That’s not just my own opinion, it’s societies. If you’re a stay-at-home parent and your child is not perfect, you suck. Well, I SUCK.

Some days I feel like I am failing so hard at being a mom but then other days, I feel like I am absolutely killing it. You know those days when everything goes smoothly and no one is throwing a tantrum, stomping or arguing? The days when you are so happy to be their mom that you feel like your heart just might burst wide open. All the terrible mom low points are worth those days. The days when you are driving in the car singing at the top of your lungs and laughing and loving each other so hard that you feel invincible. Those days rock my world. For me, happiness is this.

mom low point, parenting, motherhood, doing your best, parenting fail, judgement

My goal is to be more present, more engaged and focus on moments with my children not all the things or all the benchmarks of what is expected of a “good mom”. I am a good mom. I love my girls. We just got so caught up in doing what was expected of us that we forgot to do what feels best for our family; what actually is best for our family.

Have you ever had a moment in parenting that made you reassess your entire process? What was your mom low point?

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mommy guilt, parenting fail, missing firsts, tap, dance

No matter how hard we try as parents, sometimes we still have a parenting fail followed by the inevitable mommy guilt.

I stay-at-home with my girls. I have always stayed at home. There was a brief 6 month period while I was pregnant with Gabs that I worked outside of the home but other than that I have chosen to stay-at-home. I have worked from home the entire time but I have always been within an arm’s reach of my daughters when they were small.

mommy guilt, parenting fail, missing firsts, tap, dance

I am the one who arranges everything just so. I make sure that birthday parties are exactly what they dreamed they would be. I am the one who plans vacations. I am the one make sure Christmas morning is everything they could ever imagine. I am the same person who pulls teeth, kisses booboos, wakes in the middle of the night for every fever and puke filled moment of it. I am the one who reassures them that there are no chickens or lemurs hiding under their bed.
mommy guilt, parenting fail, missing firsts, tap, dance

I am the one who makes their favorite meal. Knows their minds before they speak and knows when to hug instead of lecture. I notice the innuendos. I see the trembling lips. I know when they are fibbing or scared or nervous. I know every crease and crevice of their face and every curve of their existence. I like being that mom.

I put broken hearts back together when daddy had to leave back to Iowa. I explained the unexplainable to toddlers and when they didn’t understand, I took the brunt of their frustration and held them as their tiny broken hearts tried to make sense of it all. I cried in silence after they went to bed that maybe I had made the wrong choice.


I’ve kissed the tops of their heads and rubbed their backs as they’ve fallen asleep more times than I can count. I wake in the middle of the night to make sure they are breathing and covered. I listen when they think I am not. I make their favorite meal when they least expect it and most need it. I cuddle randomly and with wild abandon. I tell them I love them like every day is my last chance.


I was there for their first word, first tooth, first step, first breath and first heartbeat. I always want to be there for everything. I want them to know that I am forever their soft place to land. It’s never just them against the world because I am always there beside them, when they need me.

ballerina, ballet, little girls,mommy guilt, parenting fail, missing firsts, tap, dance

I’ve never missed a ballet or tap observation, rehearsal or Nutcracker performance. I volunteer backstage. I’ve never missed a school party, field trip or mass they’ve participated in. I am their room mom. I drive on every field trip. Never missed a soccer match, swim practice or field day. I have scheduled my life to be there for those moments. For me, there is nothing more important.

I want to show them the world and teach them to live in it, proactively. I want them to go after their dreams and know that they can do anything. I also want them to know that no matter how old they get or how far they go, I am here. I am proud of them and they are loved beyond comprehension no matter where life takes them or who they become.

mommy guilt, parenting fail, missing firsts, tap, dance

I’ve never missed anything…until today. Tonight, I sent my girls off to tap class with the Big Guy like I do every Tuesday evening. I take them to ballet on Wednesdays and we alternate rehearsals. Tonight, my little one asked me if I could go instead. I said no because 1) I have a terrible migraine but 2) I have to work the book fair tomorrow morning and I needed to get some work done tonight. Then 20 minutes later, I received a text that tonight was observation night. I’ve never missed an observation night; not in 7 years. I am the crazy mom with the camera, the phone and the video recorder but not tonight.


Tonight, I dropped the ball. Maybe it was the migraine. Maybe it was the girls being sick the last 2 weeks. Maybe it was the hurried rush of the weekend. All I know is that in that moment that I looked down and saw that text, my heart broke because I missed my first “FIRST” ever because tonight was Gabs’ first tap observation. So, I’m sitting here sobbing, feeling like the world’s biggest failure.

Bellarina,mommy guilt, parenting fail, missing firsts, tap, dance

I guess every mother has this moment of reckoning. The moment that we realize that no matter how hard we try, how much we sacrifice or how much we want to we cannot protect our children from the world or be there for every moment. Eventually, they will have to do stuff on their own and we have to trust that we taught them and loved them enough to know they can and that just because we might not be there in person, our hearts are with them always but damn it still sure hurts missing those moments.


mommy guilt, parenting fail, missing firsts, tap, dance

What was the parenting fail that you instantly wished you could do over?



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kids cursing, raising children, toddlers, they hear everything

Are you guilty of cursing around your toddlers?

I, like so may other Mommies, am guilty of the occasional stubbed toe “Damn it!”, or the lost keys “F*bomb!” or even the I just busted my shin on the coffee table,” Sonofabitch!” but I really do try to keep my inner sailor in check….around my girls. ( I know, not very lady like. My Mom is mortified). And other than that week a couple years ago when Gabs decided to run around the house screaming”F*CK!” incessantly like a little mafioso on a tirade, we’ve not really had a problem with too much cursing. They’ll hear it, they’ll try it, we tell them no, they get bored they move on..Bada Bing Bada Boom, Fuggedaboutit(Holy shit,,, I just got possessed by Tony Soprano for a minute!) There’s always this little voice inside me that keeps warning me..” filter woman, filter!” But I keep on keeping on, and get caught in a moment and sometimes not so savory words come falling out of my mouth, despite my best efforts. Anyways, I’ve been getting worried you know with Catholic school just around the corner and all. How am I supposed to explain that my beautiful, innocent little girl can probably sling cursed laced insults with the best of them? I’m assuming and I know for sure that she can use them in the appropriate context because they have already proven that..with the exception of Gabs’ Tourettes-like f-bomb tirade, but I digress.

The point being, the girls have been saying things that, though we giggle now, I am sure come fall.I won’t be amused in the least. Especially when I have to explain where she learned it from. But something else has been happening that has made me completely forget about the curse words that may or may not come out of my 5 and 3-year-olds mouth. Yes, something much, much worse.No? You don’t believe there could be anything worse than your kids telling some nun to eff off? Well, what about these gems…
Gabs:” Girls, Pull your tits!” (in English, Girls, cool your jets!)
Gabs: (While escorting me around the yard as I picked up the dog poop with the pooper scooper..oh the joy! Gabs was running around the yard like a shit-seeking missile, pointing and yelling to id the aforementioned “poop” )This is what she yelled on a warm summer day, as all of our neighbors looked on,” Mommy! DOG SHIT!!!!!”
Yeah, thank God that wasn’t embarrassing.

So, you can see my concern. But something even much worse happened this weekend and put everything into perspective for me. I have a colorful vocabulary, I am a hand talker, and I like to use metaphors and all kinds of language manipulation to illustrate my points but they are very seldom to be taken literally. But, I forgot…3 and 5-year-olds don’t understand the difference. Over the otherwise fantastically family filled Fourth of July weekend, I was having a discussion with my MIL about her son, my husband, doing something ridiculous.I think my exact words were, “He better take a pill or he better not be surprised when I stab him in his sleep!(this was said with a chuckle and a smile)” Obviously, I was saying he needed to calm down or I would hurt him, which really meant..”Dear Husband, stop being a butt face and please calm the eff down. Love your biggest fan!”

But Bella, she just doesn’t get that ( plus, to be honest) I totally didn’t even realize that the little ninja was in the house when I said it. Last I knew, she was outside with the prospective stabbing victim playing volleyball or covering her sister in S’mores in hopes of feeding her to the ants, or something of the like. I found out that she was in the house when my husband approached me and said, “Hey, so ..you’re going to stab me in my sleep now?” I wasn’t quite sure if he was serious or if he was crazy and I said, “WHAT?” Yeah, apparently my 5 year old went outside and called her Dad over to the side to inform him of this, “Hey Daddy, Mommy said she’s going to stab you in your sleep!” WOW!

Needless to say, I had to have a talk with her to assure her that I  indeed was NOT going to stab her Daddy in his sleep, nor would I ever hurt him in any way. I tried to explain  that I was using colorful language to illustrate a point and be funny but in fact, it was inappropriate and I should not have said it in the first place. Her answer, ” I know Mommy. You were just saying that Daddy was being a grouch and he better stop it! It’s not like you said you were going to choke him out!”

Wow! Oh Shit! Can I get some earmuffs over here for this kid? Maybe some perma pink ones that I can leave in at all times and remove only when I need to speak with her. I would really prefer she not start Kindergarten by telling some nun that I said I was going to stab her Daddy while he slept..that’s not very christian and I’m pretty sure the school might put a call into DCFS. The moral of the story being..be on the look out for tiny ninja’s before ever speaking in metaphor , irony, allegory, or simile!

What’s your trick to stop cursing around your children?

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