The start of the new school year came a little earlier than normal this year. In my household we are never ready to say goodbye to the relaxation and merriment that a summer schedule has to offer. Even though I still have to work during the summer months, life just moves at a more leisurely pace. There are no strict bedtime routines or homework squabbles in sight. We could stay up until wee hours of the morning watching the streaming service of our choice with no repercussions.
The first Monday that my youngest daughter had to report to school went off without a hitch. We were both ready with plenty of time for a hot breakfast and first day photos. It truly was a beautiful morning. The second day was a carbon copy of the first day. Everyone was chipper, we were bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready to tackle the day. We were even early enough to visit the NCHS Senior Breakfast on the River Bank.
Literally, picture perfect days.
The third day of school came in like a wrecking ball. The fanfare quickly faded away and we were met with the “back to school doldrums”. My daughter slept a little later than normal, as did mom. Her attitude was a little less excited, as was mom’s. When mornings like this happen we tend to bark at each other a little more than normal. I spent more time that anticipated reading my morning devotions and I noticed that she wasn’t dressed and had not fixed her lunch to bring to school. Her lack of actions deserved a louder tone with more intentional wording…. Unfortunately, this means that I was yelling.
Exiting the kitchen to continue getting ready for work, I went in my bedroom and noticed that I had some social media notifications, so I plopped down on the bed, checked my phone and continued to yell from my room. With phone in hand, night gown still on my body, I was yelling the normal mom phrases.
“Get off your phone.” “We are going to be late.” “You stayed up way too late last night.” “We are not going to be doing this all year long, ma’am.”
I wanted to make sure she was getting my point and not even realizing that I still wasn’t dressed. I was too busy checking Instagram and Facebook. Just as I was about to prod her along again, she flung my bedroom door open with the strength and aggression of someone who was on a mission. Fully dressed, lunch and backpack in hand…there she stood…with a shocked look on her face.
With a one eye brow raised, as if she were the parent, she said, “Reba, (She called me by my name?) I cannot believe what I am seeing, you are the one not dressed in this situation….this is clearly a mom fail.”
She was not wrong. I have been yelling at children before school for 23 years and it is hard to scale back and just let her take care of her own business without my prompting. I was slightly embarrassed and did feel as if I failed as a mother. I was the one playing on my phone, not my teenage daughter.
After wallowing in parental-shame for a moment, I gathered the rest of my dignity and continued getting ready for work. Quietly, I might add. Once I dropped her off at school I continued the mom-shaming of myself and soon came to the realization that perfect parents simply do not exist, we all make mistakes. I prayed momentarily that she was not scarred for life, but that she would see that the only perfect parent who never disappoints, or has parenting fails, is our heavenly father. Although I strive to be more like him every day, there are definitely failures. Mom fails, sister fails, daughter fails and work fails. So many failures it is hard to keep up with. Our heavenly father is so perfect and kind that he forgives all of those failures. He knew our failures before he even created us…and he wanted us anyway. Failures and all.
“For thou, Lord, are kind, and ready to forgive; abounding in faithful love to all who call upon you.”