#momoftheyear

You’ve heard it.

I’ve said it.

You’ve probably said it yourself, if you’re a mom.

“Mom of the year, right here.”

It’s never said with pride or with seriousness. It’s never said with the intent to brag about some success or parenting win. And if it IS said that way, it’s because we’ve acquired THE toy of the season, or our child’s dream, or we’ve made the meal they LOVE, or we’ve planned the birthday party that will blow their mind and your pocketbook, but probably won’t be remembered by the birthday child.

We’re not saying it to focus on the positive. We’re not saying it to remind ourselves that parenthood is a hard climb, one not for the faint of heart, and yet we’re doing okay. We’re definitely not saying it to actually win an award. Because it is said sardonically, to underline, underscore, draw attention to our perceived failures.

“Forgot the bake sale at school today. Mom of the year!”

 

momfail - dinner

 

“Spilled water all over the 34786th drawing Sophie gave me this morning. #momfail”

 

momfail - underwear

 

“Mom of the Year moment: Cut the baby’s nails too short. Who knew they bled that much?”

 

momfail - wrong age

 

 

“Yelled about the 5th accident today. Feel like a jerk. Serious mom fail.”

 

momfail - shoes

 

“Had a great day with my kids…then bunged up bedtime. I SUCK.”

 

momfail - poop on pants

 

I think we do this for a couple of reasons.

There’s definitely a social market for failure stories. People love them. They get a lot of likes on Facebook. They get people laughing. And they really demonstrate that some days are hard to believe: This is REALLY my life?! REALLY?!

And if we make light of the failures, no matter how small or inconsequential, then maybe no one else will call us out on how we’re clearly not succeeding. How we’re big failures. How maybe we’re the absolute wrong person for this job. How this is all just a big mistake.

I am pro being real. I am all for talking about how hard the parenting gig is, how frustrating it can be, how much we can hate it (yes, HATE it, like this article so eloquently explains), and how some days you wonder just what you’ve done to your life.

But, should we keep being mean to ourselves? Should we put ourselves down every time we make a mistake, let something slide, drop a ball? Should we point out our rather small, not so memorable failures, just so no one else will notice them or realize that we are impostors? Mothers who shouldn’t be. Parents who really have no clue what they’re doing?

Finding humor in our seemingly insane, unreal, nonsensical days makes sense. It’s the old adage – if we’re not laughing, we’d be crying. But, when the #momfail stops being funny and starts being what we actually believe, what we tell ourselves, the inner track that berates us for forgetting one thing on our list of dozens of things we actually remembered, that’s where it gets tricky.

My sister-in-law posted on Facebook that her son, my shy, not-so-adventurous nephew, had a banner day for trying new things…and then she included she forgot her camera, so she failed. #momoftheyear failed. Even though, considering all of the hurdles my nephew has had to overcome, the fact that she’s a single mom right now since my brother-in-law is away for business, the fact that she’s a rock star mom to a sweet, awesome kid…she found the failure, the moment where she wish it could have been different, even though THAT moment really made no difference. But, it’s what she is dwelling on. What she is remembering.

I think that hashtagging moments where we didn’t quite make the play, didn’t quite make the ball connect with the bat, didn’t quite do the job we wanted to do, is fine. #momoftheyear and #momfail moments are going to happen. Period. But let’s not let them take over. Let’s not let them be the only things we remember.

Forgot the bake sale? That’s okay. There will be another. And your kid probably didn’t even really notice. He was too busy sharing his friends’ treats.

Dropped a toy on the baby’s head and made her scream? Is she all right? Then, that’s okay. It happens. It won’t be the last time. Does she need medical attention? Did you get it for her? Then, good job. You are surviving the hospital system with your baby. That’s tough stuff and you’re doing it. Rock star.

Feel guilty about missing a dance class? Not sending your kid to school with the right colour shirt? Not doing the laundry so that their favourite dress would be clean for that particular Thursday that looks like every other Thursday? Fine. Feel guilty. For a minute. Then let it go. They have. They won’t remember unless you miss all the dance classes, never show up, never try, don’t love them, and let them go to school naked.

You’re human. A human parent to a crazy tiny human. Or lots of crazy tiny humans. And that is tough. You’re doing okay. Don’t live in the fail. Move on to the success, the happy, the joy, because as a kid, that’s where they live every day. And all they want is for you to live with them there. Promise.

 

Need inspiration? Visit Finding Joy, a blog by a mom of SEVEN. I want to be her when I grow up.

Need inspiration? Visit Finding Joy, a blog by a mom of SEVEN. I want to be her when I grow up. You know, without the seven kids.

~ Julia

Elsa, we need to talk

No, I don’t want to chat about your movie Frozen that is warming the princess-loving hearts of little girls the world over. And no, I don’t even want to chat about your catchy jingle “Let it Go” that has spawned spoofs all over the Internet.

I need to chat with you about the momentous change you brought about in my house with one flick of your ice-tossing wrist.

I’m talking about Sophie’s crown.

Sophie had been wearing crowns off and on for a while before a purple crown, given to her by Toni, became a permanent fixture on her head.

She would put it on first thing in the morning, much like I put on my glasses or Ben and Lillian put in their hearing aids. She would wear it regardless of occasion or event. It would stay on her head the whole day, even while we were reading bedtime stories. And then it would get taken off at night and put either on the bookshelf beside her bed so it was waiting for her in the morning, or it would get put up somewhere safe in Mommy and Daddy’s room to avoid getting stolen, or worse, broken by her evil roommate, Lillian.

Princess Ready-For-Christmas Sophie

Princess Ready-For-Christmas Sophie

She wore her crown to the first day of school and every day at school, under her winter toque, while she was painting and learning and playing. Her teachers called her princess. The crossing guard asked her about it daily. She was even Princess Sophie during the church Christmas pageant, wearing her crown on top of her sheep costume.

Princess Sheep Sophie

Princess Sheep Sophie

She was Princess Sophie, without a doubt or hesitation, for months.

And then, you came along, Elsa.

You with your chilly magic and demeanor. You with your adorable sister who just wants to build a snowman with you in the actual snow! You with all of the responsibilities and grief and loneliness that goes into being a broken, orphaned, queen-to-be Disney Princess.

You decided to rebel, to embrace your inner ice princess, to throw caution and summer to the wind and build yourself an ice castle in the mountains. And, while you were at it, you transformed yourself into a hot, long-braided, girl for whom the cold doesn’t bother anyway who doesn’t wear a crown.

Oh, Elsa. You just HAD to throw your crown across your newly-fractaled great room. You just had to decide you were going to let it all go.

I knew the day was coming when Sophie would stop wearing her crown. I understood that she would not go to high school with it, or post-secondary, or even senior kindergarten. I realized that the crown-wearing days were numbered from the moment she started making it part of her everyday.

I wondered how it would end, though. I worried over bullies, peer pressure, or some goofy adult who wouldn’t get it and ask her to stop. I hoped it was a gentle break-up, not a traumatic one. I hoped it would fade without her encountering the ass-holey ridicule that everyone faces as a child at some point. Oh, how I hoped. And prayed.

And then one day, like magic, like Disney magic, she just stopped wearing it. She decided she didn’t want a crown. This was also around the time that she wanted to wear a French braid in her hair instead of the heart-crushingly adorable braided pigtails she had been sporting.

The (Forlorn) Crown

The (Forlorn) Crown

I must have asked her a dozen times that morning if she was sure she wanted to leave the crown behind. Each time she confidently told me that she did indeed want to go to school without it.

I couldn’t figure it out. And I was a little worried. Did someone say something? Did something happen? Did she get in trouble with it? Was she okay?

A week after she stopped wearing it I had an epiphany. Elsa. 

It was youElsa. You who changed everything. You who inspired a princess to be a princess without her crown.

Lillian had received Frozen as a birthday gift and it had pretty much been on repeat since then. And Sophie decided she wanted to be you. To be the queen. To let it go.

I’m not mad. I’m just…stunned. The movie that finally talks about the fact you shouldn’t marry someone you just met, the movie that gave us the sneakiest villain in recent memory, the movie whose soundtrack plays on a loop in my brain when I’m trying to sleep at night, convinced my oldest baby she didn’t need to wear a crown.

I guess what we need to chat about is how I want to thank you. Thank you for making it a gentle transition. Thank you for not being a bully or a jerk. Thank you for not being a self-esteem crusher, but rather a self-esteem booster. Thank you for picking your true self, making your sister wait to marry, and for singing a song that talks about empowerment instead of dreaming of a prince. Thank you.

Elsa

Elsa

But next time, could you give me a little warning? Without her crown, she just looks so darn grown up.

My grown-up princess

My grown-up princess

 

Love,

~ Julia