To the mom who makes mistakes: It’s okay, and you are not alone.
I was organizing my closet the other day when I came across a small pink dress worn by a sweet little girl —my daughter— when we went to the princess ball together. It was a mother-and-daughter date that I will always cherish yet always feel inconsolable about. When I saw this dress, I got flashbacks of a mother with a terrible attitude the day of this ball.
That day was kind of a rough day for me, and it’s all I think about when I see that dress. It was a miserably windy Saturday afternoon, we had slept in, and my son had baseball tryouts that I didn’t want to miss. My husband had it covered, but my son has such a love for baseball that I enjoy watching him play, so my daughter and I sneaked off to attend. I knew we only had a couple hours to get dressed and style our hair, and I was feeling the stress of being rushed. We came home from the tryouts, and I started to style my daughter’s hair. The Pinterest idea I had in mind was a total failure (surprise surprise), and with having to start over, I became very impatient, even grumpy. After switching to plan B I had my daughters hair looking marvellous, but I was still stressed out knowing that I had so much to do in such little time. My daughter felt my frustration throughout this process; I was sighing while trying to master this Pinterest style, and she said, “It’s okay, Mom. I bet it looks good.” This broke my heart, and I quickly realized how my need to perfect things often gets in the way and causes more stress than anything else.
Although I knew how my temper had quickly increased, my lousy attitude didn’t stop there. I had purchased a headband/tiara to go with the outfit which I could not find. My daughter is infamous for taking things, playing with them, and not putting them back—typical behaviour from a child. I was searching and searching, which was putting me farther behind. I was searching and searching, which was putting me further behind. I probably dropped a couple of (under the breath) “F-bombs,” around because, well, I was such a mess. I turned that house upside down trying to look for the headband. I felt so overwhelmed with the little time I had left to get ready, yet it was entirely my fault for not being more organized and for not giving myself enough time in the first place.
Once my daughter was up and looking fabulous with her beautiful headband in place, I seriously struggled to find something for myself to wear. Why on earth had I not preplanned my outfit? I always pre-plan: that’s just what I do. I’ve known about this event for five months now, but I had no idea what I was going to wear an hour prior— not like me at all. It was still cold with a hint of spring in the air. My legs needed a whippersnapper, and winter weight had been gained. I was already grumpy, so I really didn’t feel like myself, and I really didn’t feel like getting dolled up or going out at this point. You know, that feeling when you aren’t comfortable with yourself, and when you get ready and try and look great, you just don’t feel it inside? You feel sluggish and insecure. You look great on the outside, but you feel like crap on the inside. That was one of those days. After finally putting together an outfit (which I hated, but it was all I had), I quickly painted my nails, which I then ruined while trying to rush out the door. To top it all off, we got stuck behind a train on the way, and my mood could not be any worse.
As I sat and waited for the train, anxious and annoyed, I glanced back and saw the look on my daughters face. It shattered my heart into a million pieces. This was supposed to be an exciting, excellent mommy-daughter day, and she looked anything but happy. I had yelled at myself and yelled at her for misplacing the headband. My attitude was so bad; I literally went batsh*t crazy that afternoon. I was swearing at myself because I was completely frustrated with myself during the process of getting ready. I thought, How much she be feeling? After seeing her discouraged little face, I immediately changed my mood. This girl deserves to be a princess today, and this is what the ball was all about. I started to tear up at how terrible I must have made her feel and how terrible I was to have taken this experience away from her. Right then she said, “Mom, I can’t wait to see Elsa; she is going to love my dress. And thank you for doing my hair You look beautiful Mom.” I remember this vividly because it had such an impact. Her small voice was trying to reassure me that everything was going to be okay. Now I was fully crying, trying not to ruin my makeup. I put the car in park, turned to her, and said: “Honey I am so sorry for getting mad at you and getting mad at myself. I just want you to have the best night ever at this ball. You look so beautiful, and Mommy is so proud of you for being so patient with me.” I felt like a ginormous P.O.S for my terrible attitude. I knew she wasn’t overanalyzing this like I was. Not once did she say she didn’t want to go to this ball. I had mentioned it under my breath while I was frustrated and still hoping to this day she didn’t hear me. I was disgusted with myself for my behaviour.
She was in such good spirits when we arrived. She was happy and couldn’t wait to see all those princesses. She looked so beautiful, and I could tell she was very pleased with being all dolled up. She looked like a princess, and it shone on her face. She had such a fantastic night. We danced and had some giggles together. Watching her have the time of her life made me feel complete. She makes me a better person, and I am so blessed to have such an amazing daughter.
I would be lying if I said this didn’t bother me for the rest of the night. I would also be lying if I said this still doesn’t bother me. Writing this brings tears to my eyes because those emotions I had that day come back as if it happened yesterday. Looking at that small pink dress makes me disgusted with myself for how I acted that day.
My daughter walked into the room as I was holding this dress up and her face lit up. She had forgotten all about the dress, and she immediately wanted to put it on. I knew what kind of feeling this dress gave me— a feeling as if I ruined her whole day. I looked at her and asked her what comes to mind when she sees this dress. With a smile, she said “Elsa and all the princesses.” Those are her memories from that day, and I felt so relieved.
One message I would give to all mothers is: Yes, we sh*t the bed sometimes and make mistakes as moms. We are human, and we have a ton of different emotions that show each day. Whether good or bad that’s what makes us, us. If we didn’t make mistakes, we wouldn’t grow as parents, and we wouldn’t learn from those mistakes and turn them around into life lessons. When I saw that pink dress, I wanted to get rid of it because it just brought back this horrible memory, but I realized that getting rid of this dress won’t take it away. This moment happened. I grew from it which is precisely what we are supposed to do. I took our future mommy-daughter dates and made them beautiful. We have had many since, and they have been very cherished.
We as moms have to remember to slow down and remember we have little people watching us. I know she saw me as grumpy as I could be, and she probably didn’t know what to think, but she saw me as a human being. She saw me as a mom trying to get everything ready while having some frustrating moments. Being a mom isn’t easy and overworking yourself always leads to a sour attitude towards someone. We try to be super moms and tackle it all, but we are just one person. You need to remember to take some time out for yourself, so you can regroup and be the best parent you can be for your children.
Another piece of advice I would give is: Don’t be so hard on yourself when you make a mistake. We seem to harbour those terrible memories more than we embrace the good ones. We over analyze situations in fear that our children will be affected by these small mistakes that we make. If we can apologize when we realize we have made a mistake, that’s teaching your child to take accountability for their actions. Adults have bad days too, and my daughter totally understood it that day. We aren’t perfect, and we were never meant to be perfect.Our kids will learn from our mistakes. These mistakes make us stronger parents and put us in a place that brings conviction which quickly helps us to realize we need to change our attitude and work on ourselves so that the anger and frustration can be controlled better next time.
Our children are amazing forgivers, and when we make these mistakes, they will forgive us faster than we will ever forgive ourselves. So why is it so hard to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes? Because we over analyze and we forget that we are indeed human and we mess up sometimes. We are so scared of failing our kids that we ourselves feel like failures when we make mistakes. Well guess what? You are NOT a failure. You are a mom who is learning along the way.
This experience taught me a lot as a mother. I learned to slow down and just appreciate every moment. When you start to get discouraged and frustrated, take a timeout. YES, an adult time out! It is a thing and us moms can use one every now and then. Go somewhere quiet where you can breathe, relax and get yourself together. Remember that little eyes are watching you. We aren’t supposed to be perfect—ever—but we need to be aware of our actions in front of little ones. She taught me to be patient without even having to tell me. When we do make mistakes, don’t be so hard on yourself. You are allowed to make mistakes. Take those mistakes and learn from them. You are a huge role model in your child’s eyes. Most time they don’t even see these imperfections that you concentrate on. They see a mom who loves them and who is doing the best she can. They love you so much, and they will forgive you when you have these moments, so learn to forgive yourself. Give your kids a hug, and tell yourself that you’re doing a great job!
A fellow IMperfect mom
Remember to be kind always. You never know what kind of day someone else is having.