Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mom Fails

My sister, my best friend in the whole, wide world, lives in the States and I live in New Zealand. The age and geographical differences have always been a bit tricky to navigate for us, being eight years and oceans apart. But now, thanks to technology, we're able to chat instantaneously on our phones whenever we please. Thank you, Viber.

She has a freshly turned two year old son and a nearly four month old son, while I have Girl 13, Boy 8 and Boy 4. Over the years, we've used Viber for a whole array of highly important topics ranging from screenshots of The Onion stories that crack us up, to what we're up to on the weekend, to which mutual friend is doing what with another to good old celebrity gossip. I told you, important stuff. These days, we've gotten into a fun little habit of swapping Mom Fail stories. Just this afternoon, we swapped a few gems I'd like to share with you.

Boy 8 is on Day 6 of antibiotics for a dental issue. Day 6, I realize that I have not been giving him the correct dosage. Too little, thank goodness, not too much. In a bit of a panic, called the dentist - phew - no big issues there. No harm, no foul, dumb Mom!

Yesterday, I was barefoot out in the garden with Boy 4 when he declared an imminent toilet emergency. I quickly scooped him up in my arms and skilfully, effortlessly dashed up the front steps like a gazelle. At least, that was my intention - that's not what happened. What did happen was, I caught my big toe on the bumpy stair surface and I won't go into detail here except to say that it now resembles the lid of a treasure chest. Boy 4, taking one glance at the blood said "Oh no Mommy, you're going to die!" As you can imagine, I was feeling like a moron to top of the less than ideal day I'd had at work. My usual arsenal of negative thoughts were swirling around in my head about how careless and distracted and half ass I am about everything, etc etc. Boy 8 came sauntering down the driveway as I bandaged myself and announced that he needs a pair of flippers and some goggles by tomorrow. Damn it, I don't know why my children always do this, but off we go to the store again. Hobbling around in pain, with my throbbing foot, the boys and I managed to find the aisle we needed. Of course, it was at this point that Boy 8 needs to go pee. We make it across the store, the size of a football field and across the mall, which felt like two city blocks and made it to the toilet. Boy 4 assured me adamantly that he didn't have to go. Juuuuuust as we made it back to the aforementioned aisle, Boy 4: "Mom! I need to POOP!"

And scene.

Okay, so these aren't exactly "fails" - well, the antibiotics thing is, but that's not the point. The point is, there are so many moments where I feel like I'm failing as a person, a wife, a mother. I, like most women I know, have a gift for taking everything onboard, internalizing it, taking responsibility for it and blaming myself even when it's something beyond my control. I am the queen of this. Sorry if you feel I'm snatching your crown away from you, but I'm not even kidding when I tell you that guilt is my oldest, most loyal friend. We have been through a lot together over the years.

It's my hope that as I share my Mom Fails of the Day with you, they will make you chuckle, or shake your head, or nod your head in agreement or SOMETHING that will make you realize that you're not the only who feels like they're not doing it right. Or at the very least, you'll see that you're doing better at life than I am in my current state of Mom Fog.

Oh - guess what? I started writing this hours ago. Took a break to make dinner, get everyone off to bed, and made some banana bread to stick in everyone's lunches for the week. I nearly put it in the oven without adding the bananas. Yup, that's where my head's at at the moment - not in the moment. Probably dreaming of past days where I thought life was hectic, before I had kids.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

In My Day...

Helping my high schooler with her super complex science homework, trying to figure out how the hell to cite websites for the bibliography. What the hell? Bring back libraries and encyclopedias and good old fashioned books with authors and published dates and all that good stuff. I've uttered the words "In my day..." far too many times this week.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"I Met a Man in Rome!"

I had a total "I met a man in Rome!" moment today. Do you know what I'm talking about? If you're my age-ish, you'll remember that line. For those of you who are too young to appreciate the Steve Martin gem from 1991, let me enlighten you. It's from the remake of "Father of the Bride"- Steve Martin's daughter has just returned from a year abroad and that's how she announces her engagement. Only, in the scene, the line is uttered by a little girl version of his now twenty something daughter.

Today, I rushed home from work, geared up to launch into the mess of dishes and laundry when my 13 year old announces that she needs a new swimsuit by TOMORROW. My kids just love this trick - we've just come out of an 8 week long summer break (summer here in New Zealand) where we had oodles of time to run those pesky little chores. But NOOOOO, let's wait until Mom is back at work and her patience and sanity are wearing as thin as...her repertoire of clever metaphors. So I piled the three kids into the car and happily joined the bustle of rush hour to head off to one of the only stores open past 6 pm. (Stores close early here. Really early. Like, "Oh, let's close the shops just as every working person is finishing work and able to spend their money on our goods" kind of early.) As soon as we enter the store, the boys (ages 4 and 8) scamper away to look at toys they can beg me for later.

My Girl 13 and I peruse the swimwear section for girls. Nope. Only brightly coloured fluorescent pink flowery numbers here. She's looking for plain black. No choice but to go to the women's section while I know in my heart that my skinny rail of a daughter won't find her fit there, but we are desperate. I rummage through the pile and manage to find the smallest size, a (NZ) 8 and tell her to try it. Just for the hell of it. Why not? We have no other options. While she's trying it on (over her under garments, don't freak) my boys are trying to entice me into buying the "amazing and so cool" Hot Wheels and Lego sets. NO. I will not cave, no matter how many "Please, please, pleases" they string together. Exasperated, I'm already thinking about how to talk her into one of those cute fluro numbers.

The dressing room door opens and there is my girl, wearing a size 8 and it FITS her. Fits her perfectly, without any tweaking or stretching of the imagination or wishful thinking. And just like that, we have paid for it and we're back in the car. She's not surprised at all, of course - why shouldn't it fit her? She's pretty much my size now, but to me, it was as if my Boy 8 slipped comfortably into hubby's work shoes. Not ready for this. Not ready for this at all. This just went hand in hand with the utter shock I felt over the weekend, as I read the words in a Word Search for the Puberty section in her Health Studies book. Oh my. But that's another story for another day.

This journey into being the mother of a teenager, a teenage GIRL is going to be a bumpy one. I need to get ready for this. They always say adolescence is a confusing time full of hormonal, emotional, and psychological changes.

I always thought this applied to the kids. How could I have been so stupid?