Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Am a Complete Failure As a Mother

I am a complete failure as a mother.  I have a few accomplishments, it's true, but none of them are in this house.

Last year at Catherine's first birthday party, I ran out of room on the memory card in my camera.  I had three pictures.  Of her FIRST birthday!

I am a complete failure as a mother.

As I mentioned, Sam's birthday was yesterday.  Not wanting to repeat this particular failure, I made a point of getting to Wal-mart on Tuesday, to get a CD printed of all of the pictures on my memory card, so that I could erase them, and have room for 220 more pictures on the morning of Sam's birthday.  At the time, this felt like a Mother-of-the-Year worthy accomplishment.  I took a few breakfast pictures (the ones I posted here yesterday) and left the card in my computer.  I showed up at Sam's school at lunch time with two dozen Lightening McQueen cupcakes and no memory card in my camera.

I am a complete failure as a mother.

And, in my eagerness to be on top of every detail of Samuel's birthday, (at which I failed, by the way), I forgot to pack Jonah's water bottle for school.  He had to drink out of the drinking fountain.

Complete failure.

Today, there was no birthday.  No cupcakes or camera required.  I almost forgot to pack Jonah's snack and water bottle, but I didn't.  As we were headed out the door, I put his water bottle in the side pocket of his back pack, and I was about to toss an apple in there, when I remembered that Jonah doesn't really like apples, unless they are cut up.  Not having time for that, I gave the kid a banana.  He loves bananas.  Back in Mother-of-the-Year mode.

Then, on the walk to school, Jonah asks me, "Mom, did you remember my apple?"

"No, hon.  I didn't have time to cut it up , so I gave you a banana instead."

He stopped dead in his tracks.

"What?  Why are you stopping?"

Nothing.  He wouldn't even look out from underneath his hat.


"I can't bring a banana to Johnny Appleseed Day?" he wailed.

Oh, carp (that troublesome fish)!  His class is making applesauce for Johnny Appleseed Day today.  And I forgot.  I completely forgot.  I sent the kid to school with a banana on Johnny Appleseed Day.  He was heartbroken. 

I am a complete failure as a mother.

When we got to class, he didn't ask for a kiss or a hug before going in like he usually does.  He just said, "Bye, Mom,"  and gave me a brokenhearted little wave.

Okay, this is ridiculous, I thought.  He is not going to be the only kid in there without an apple.  I can not be the only complete-failure-as-a-mother there is.  Right?

Right!  Mrs. Whitfield has been teaching kindergarten for two hundred and forty one years.  She taught Johnny Appleseed himself.  She had extra apples, of various varieties.  (Teachers rock!)  The apple-less children, of whom there were many, could take their pick.

I called Jonah over, and explained this to him.  Then I helped him pick out an apple.  I apologized sincerely.  Forgetting his apple was not the biggest mistake I will ever make.  And, not having an apple on Johnny Appleseed Day will not be his biggest disappointment.  But, I was sincerely sorry that I had causes a little emotional drama right before school.  The whole thing might seem ridiculous to us, but these things can be a big deal to kids, and it takes a little time to recover.  What a horrible way to start the school day.

"Can you forgive me?"  I asked.

"Of course, Mom." he said, as he gave me a big hug.  "I can always forgive you.  You know that."

Hmm.   Maybe I'm not a complete failure.


  1. Ha! I swear, they say that "pregnancy brain" thing goes away. But it doesn't. I think they just say that so we'll have more children.
    Honestly, I'm just glad I'm not the only one who does this kind of stuff.

  2. Ha! I'm always failing at this mothering business in so many beautiful ways! But what is Johnny Appleseed Day? It sounds fun and kind of poetic - today here it's just 'rainy and windy day' which isn't nearly so much fun.

  3. I think you are a teensy-weensy bit too hard on yourself, or am I a little too easy on myself when it comes to these things. Forgetting details when you are a busy mom of three is not failure. Not attending to your child's emotional needs as a result could be considered so, and you did, so you're GOOD!