Mother of the Year

Lately I’ve been feeling like parenting has gotten the best of me.  This may be because of end of the school year exhaustion or maybe it’s my oldest’s quick slide into the parenting abyss that is adolescence but I’m definitely not a shining example of good parenting this days. I’m often forgetful and disinterested and I definitely have not been saying the right things to my kids during times of drama and stress. I keep looking at the calendar and literally counting the days until our big summer “reset” on our schedule and lives.

As I sit and type this I’m working very hard not to beat myself up over it. I also can’t help but think that I’m not alone. The number one reason why I read blog posts is to get that comforting feeling of camaraderie and acceptance from other moms experiencing the exact same things. So, in that spirit, here is a list of things I’ve done lately that have made me lose a little sleep and have reminded me that I’m not receiving that “Mother of the Year” trophy any time soon.

I forgot to put my three-year-old to bed…on a school night. One recent Sunday night, after an exhausting weekend filled with soccer games and birthday parties, I got comfortable on the couch in front of the TV while all three of the kids kept themselves busy doing…well, I don’t know what they were doing but they were quiet.  At 9:15 the baby wandered into the room and very sweetly said (while rubbing her eyes), “Mommy, can I please go to bed?”.  Oops. She was snuggling with her sisters and she was happy up until that point but she wasn’t too thrilled when I dragged her out of bed the next morning.

I got into an un-winnable argument with my oldest over absolutely nothing important.  I know my tween is going through a tough time.  I’ve read all of the articles and blog posts about parenting tweens and parenting girls.  I know her negative moods are caused by many underlying factors that I simply cannot change for her. But wow, some days…I just can’t take it anymore.  I can’t take the back talk and the attitude. I can’t watch her say or do one more mean thing to her sister.  I. Just. Can’t. So I snapped and I told her just how I was feeling about her at that moment and she told me how she was feeling about me at that moment (FYI, not good) and we went round and round and when it was all done I felt worse. I know that she needs me to set some limits for acceptable behavior and I know she needs to hear how her actions and words are impacting the rest of us but I’m sure I haven’t found quite the best way to do that.

I sent my children to school with no packed lunch and forgot to refill the money in their school lunch account. My girls became adept at negotiation and charm as they tried to convince the lovely woman in the school cafeteria, several days running, that their mother definitely put money into their accounts and “it just hasn’t hit yet”. I have to say I’m proud of them—they didn’t once come home in tears because Mrs. B. wouldn’t let them have lunch AND the extra dessert. I may be forgetful about all things school related these days but at least my girls are learning some self-preservation skills.

I was a lousy gift giver. My family has several spring birthdays AND it is a time I like to call “Mini-Christmas” since I am also buying teacher gifts, daycare provider gifts, coaches gifts, etc., etc. For several nieces and nephews I sent gift cards (I adore you all, my loves, I swear) and for one other I bought a gift the day of the party and forgot to buy wrapping paper.  I wrapped it in bridal shower paper and hoped neither he nor my sister would notice. I scrolled through my Pinterest feed quickly skipping over the cute teacher gift ideas because, well, it’s not happening and I don’t need the guilt. I told the three-year-old to make something crafty for her daycare providers (I’m sorry but I didn’t supervise—I hope you both loved it) and I supplemented with gift cards. I told the older girls to scout out what kind of coffee cup sits on their teachers’ desks and visited the local coffee shop.  I’m thankful for all of the adults in my children’s lives and they deserve those gift cards but I’m just not into the deep and meaningful these days.

I said “No” to my kids…a lot. The last few weeks have been draining with a jam packed soccer schedule, multiple birthday parties, and end of the year picnics, parties, concerts, etc. As a special educator I’ve had final transition meetings, final reports, and other end-of-year wrapping up to be done. When I had a chance to actually sit and do nothing I found myself saying “no” to my children way too often. Can we go down to the carnival that’s in town? Can we go see that new movie? Can you play Candyland with me? Can we go to the playground? Can we go for a bike ride? Can we rearrange my room? Can we…Can we… Can we… UGH. Is it summer yet? As a working mother the summer is my time to say “Yes” to my girls. Without work commitments sapping my energy I can give and do whatever they would like. We just have to get there.

So, while I certainly do not deserve a “Mother of the Year” trophy I’m not sure that I earned the “Worst Mother” trophy either.  I’m doing okay and that’s just going to have to be…well…okay for today. I’ll be better next week, I promise.

Picture via Pinterest

7 thoughts on “Mother of the Year

  1. Two things: 1) go to the dollar store and buy gift bags and tissue paper. Put some in the trunk of your car. No wrapping paper needed ever again! 2) Kids do not keep a tally of how many times you say “no.” You know who taught me this? My son, when he was about 5. He had had a fun-filled day at a Burger King with lots of games and yummy food, he won all kinds of prizes and SHOULD have been, in my view, perfectly content. Yet he asked for something else…and I lost it. What sort of greedy creature was I raising? After I calmed down, he said, “Ya know, Mom, I was just asking.” In other words, he took a shot — maybe I would be distracted and say “Yes.” This is what kids do! This told me he wouldn’t be crushed if next time I simply said, “NO.” Kids ask us to do stuff all the time. Saying “No” to them is not the same as saying it to your boss or your best friend. Guilt be gone!


  2. Un-Winnable Argument….. Oh how many can I count? Tween and Teens years (IMO) are the roughest to go through for both … us and them.. There was a lot of Mommy Time Outs in my house. A lot of “go to your room” and “leave me alone” I had to pick my own battles… I gave up on hair and clothes…. (Mind you.. putting her in a jr high that was all girls and had uniforms helped… although her first year of high school she resembled a rainbow…) we had the school battles… And the room battles. My husband effectively stopped those… She had room inspection once a week, if it wasn’t clean he would lock the door, and clean it himself. (Pretty nice dad hey?) And when he was done, he would hand her a bill. At 10$ an hour. If he had to use his time to clean her room nthen she could pay him for the privilege of having a clean room. took twice…. then her room was clean (at least in inspection day) . As for her hearing the words about how she is acting and how it effected us all… Yeah that didn’t get through till she was 16 😦 by then we had gotten into a routine of every night (ish) she would lay on my bed and we would chat, about stuff, no stuff, non exciting stuff, sometimes she would bring in her book, or sketchbook or puzzle book. It was our alone time… and no matter how bad it got.. those quite times were always done. Those would also be the times, for apologies (on both sides) because being the oldest sucks, and learning to deal with our oldest kids… sucks too because we as parents are learning as well. She is almost 19 now, out on her own, working full time, and living her life. She said to me the other day… “Mom, I miss our quiet times”


    1. Thank you for sharing. Your story gives me hope! I have three girls so I know I have a long road and the first is the hardest. 🙂


  3. Sara I feel like I just dragged myself across the finish line. Even though I don’t have the summer off, I am totally with you on the summer re-set. Give yourself a hug, a drink and a break. You’re doing what you do best-being the best mom you can be at the moment. Happy summer!


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