We have a two week hiatus from swim team. The last practice of the season was this past Friday, and the next session starts the day after spring break.
So there is no practice to go to this week, but I have been at the pool for new swimmer evaluations for kids who are interested in joining the team this spring.
As I was finishing up an evaluation tonight, an eight-year-old swimmer who is already on the team walked onto the pool deck. He looked at me and said, “Am I the only one here???”
I explained to him that there was no practice this week or next week, and then I asked him where his mom was.
His mom (or sometimes his dad, but usually his mom) is always at practice. If she’s not on the bleachers on deck watching, she’s out in the lobby.
Today, of all days, she mistakenly left her purse at work. And so, today of all days, she dropped her son off at the pool and ran back to work to get her purse, and told her son she’d be back by the time practice was over.
And of course since she left her purse at work, her cell phone was in it, so when I texted her, she didn’t get the message because she didn’t have her phone.
Isn’t that how it always goes? That one time you leave your kid somewhere when there has never ever been an issue before is the time your kid gets hurt or sick or you have the date/time/place messed up?
When this mom finally got her purse and then got my text she called me right away.
Please tell me you’ve messed up like this before with all of those kids of yours, she said to me.
Oh, I’ve never ever made a parenting mistake in my life, I jokingly told her.
So, just in case you are that mom today, just in case you majorly or minorly messed up and are sure you are the only one… you’re not.
We all mess up. We all make mistakes. We all make big ones and we all make little ones.
And we will all keep making them.
You will be the mom who forgets to pick up her kid.
You will be the mom who drops her kid off at the wrong field or on the wrong day or at the wrong time. If you are really out of it, you may do all three of those things at once.
You will be the mom who tells her kid she’s okay only to find out a week later when she’s still complaining and you finally take her to the doctor that her arm wasn’t bruised — it was broken. Whoops.
You will forget about the tooth under the pillow. Possibly even for three days in a row. (I hear the Tooth Fairy is pretty scatter brained and she also has a crappy sense of direction).
You will send your kid to school not believing her when she says she doesn’t feel good only to have the nurse call you two hours later to tell you your daughter has a 102° fever.
You will totally miss a class party. Or two.
You will forget about a birthday party you RSVP’d yes to.
You will inadvertently say things to your kids that hurt their feelings and have no recollection of ever even saying them.
You will leave a baseball game early and miss your kid hitting his first ever home run.
How do I know you will do these things?
Because I have done all of them myself.
Some of them more than once.
Maybe you won’t do these exact things, but you will do things like them.
Oh yeah. Like the time I fell asleep when I was breastfeeding Number 3 and he rolled off of me and then off the bed and landed face first on the hardwood floor.
That was awful.
And I still remember the sound his body and face made when it hit the floor.
He was fine. I was traumatized.
I was a mess for a long time after that one.
When these things happen, I believe they are messages from the Universe.
Sometimes they are gentle reminders and sometimes they are slaps in the face.
Whether they are big or small, these wake up calls aren’t meant to load your shoulders with guilt.
They are meant to remind you to take some of the burden off your shoulders.
Slow down. Be mindful. Take a breath. Take a nap. Remove something from your to do list.
And then, do two things.
First, forgive yourself. You are human.
You aren’t the first mom to screw up today, and you definitely aren’t gonna be the last.
Then, after you’ve forgiven yourself, congratulate yourself.
Mistakes are opportunities for growth!
You aren’t a worse mom for having messed up.
You are now a wiser, more experienced, and better one.