I am (not) Mother of the Year

Posted: Thursday, September 18th, 2008


Yesterday was a pretty normal day at our house.  I went to work.  The boys went to school.  Speed had a play date for the afternoon.  Whiz went to soccer practice.  We made a trip to WholeFoods on our way home…  Through it all, everyone seemed happy and healthy.  That is, until we sat down for dinner.

At dinner Speed was sitting at the table in front of his favorite meal in the world but wouldn’t eat a bite.  He kept saying “I’m too sleepy to eat”.  “I’m too sleepy to eat”.  I’ve been at this a few years now and I know that there’s no such thing as “too sleepy to eat”.  For once I’m a step ahead of him and I see through his ploy to leave the dinner table early and play.  I calmly said “Listen Speed.  You can stay at the table and eat dinner with our family or you can go up to bed.  Those are your only choices”.  Without a word he left the table and headed up to his room.  Deep inside I knew it had all been too easy, but still I began congratulating myself on my brilliant mothering. 

About 20 minutes later it occurred to me that I hadn’t heard anything from the littlest monster (unheard of).  I went up to check his room and found Speed fully clothed, under his covers, sound asleep.  I felt his little forehead and of course, he was hot as blazes and I was forced to face the fact that I had sent my sick baby to bed, alone, without so much as a kiss goodnight, bedtime story, cool cloth on his forehead, or dose of comforting Tylenol. 

It stunned me.  It knocked the wind out of me. BLAM!  Just like that, I mentally gave back every Mother of the Year point I’ve ever earned.

Today Speed seems unscathed by the event (and his health was restored by the good night’s sleep).  But I remain quite shaken.  Friends have tried to assure me that “they’d have done the same thing”.  My husband tried to talk me off the ledge with insightful comments like “It’s no big deal.  He’s fine”.  But I just can’t seem to let go of it! 

I do an awful lot to promote the safety, happiness, and general well being of these little people.  Why do I dwell on the little infractions more and celebrate the greatness less?

Are any of you other parents out there too hard on yourselves?  What’s the last thing you did to deplete your “Mother of the Year” account?  How do you handle the guilt of your infractions?  Let us know with a comment.  One will be selected at random to choose a treat from the Education.com Grab Bag (a closet filled to the brim with all the cool stuff people send our company…toys, books, and baby gear abound!)

2 Responses to “I am (not) Mother of the Year”

  1. Shelby H Says:

    I have lost the Mother of the Year Award more times than I can count in similar situations, but my daughter’s favorite story to tell is when I lost my niece at a local carnival. So no, I am not the Aunt of the Year, either. She was 11 at the time & waiting in line to ride a roller coaster while I watched my young daughter ride the “Spining Strawberries” across the walkway. It was starting to rain, so of course, they closed the roller coaster just as I turned away and when I turned back the line was empty and my niece had gone to look for us.

    To make a long story short, I dragged by daughter around looking for my niece at top speed, on the verge of tears, snapping at her every few minutes to “HUSH”. Of course, we found my niece in a few endless minutes and I looked down to find my daughter sobbing with only one shoe. Yes, I had run her out of her sandal and shushed her cries for help (and no, we never found the lost shoe)! So now, at the most inappropriate times she says, “Remember when you lost my cousin and made me drop my shoe and made me cry?!” “That was funny!” She obviously wasn’t scarred too badly. The cost of the mommy guilt? A new pair of princess shoes – $30, TWO rides on the roller coaster – $8, cotton candy – $4, snow cones – $6, glow in the dark bracelets – $8, two girls with a “Get out of Jail Free” Card…priceless.

  2. Kat Says:

    Thanks for sharing Shelby – Your story made me laugh out loud (and of course feel a bit better about my own motherhood gaffs!).

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