Friday, January 23, 2009

"Good Mother" FAIL

So. I got good and riled up as I was leaving daycare this morning, tears even, and I was going to write this awesome angry/sad heaving, little pieces of kleenex stuck in your eyebrows kind of post for you. But after a trip through the Dunkies drive through for a supersized portion of "My Feelings" for breakfast, I am feeling a bit better and a little silly for all the sobbing I did in my car in the daycare parking lot.

It started out like any other day. I got dressed from the pile of clothes in my closet. I got Wesley dressed. Ryan got Charlie dressed and gave him breakfast (blueberries and toast). We filled bottles. We remembered Blue Bear (Charlie's daytime Phent proxy). We remembered Wesley's swaddling blanket and the "personal item that smells like me" that his teacher hopes will comfort him enough that he won't spend the day screaming and rending his garment (I sent in my pillowcase. They asked for a shirt that I had slept in, but that really grossed me out). Ryan left for work. I loaded the boys into the car. We left. We sang songs, we pointed out trucks and buses and flags and horses. We got gas, we played with the windshield wipers, we talked about Wesley's baptism this weekend and Charlie's baptism two years ago.

We took Wesley to his classroom. I put away the bottles, the lunchbox, the blanket, the pillowcase. I took Wesley out of his car seat. Blowout. His teacher "I think he has some poop on him." "Oh look at that. It must have happened in the car. Sorry." "Don't worry, I'll change him." "Oh, thank you, that would be great." Take Charlie to his room, settle him in for pretzels and apple juice. Put away his jacket, Blue Bear. Walk to the front.

"Wesley had a potty accident and he doesn't have any extra clothes." the front desk lady says. "I know, I'm going to go look for something in my car."

Look in the car. Charlie's shorts, Charlie's pants, wet diaper, baby blanket, size N diaper, fast food cup, fast food bag, toddler swimsuit, my sweater, my hat, Charlie's hat, pacifier, toy truck. At last, Wesley's sweatshirt! Search trunk for a pair of pants, shorts, onezie, anything. More junk, more shame, tears, MESSY CAR, MESSY LIFE, NO EXTRA CLOTHES FOR THE BABY, FAIL FAIL FAIL, shame spiral, tears, self-chastisement for tears, stiff upper lip. Skulk back into Wesley's classroom holding sweatshirt. Find him sitting happily in Exersaucer wearing a borrowed onezie. Offer sweatshirt. Receive Look of Condemnation from teacher. "It's OK, we have extra clothes." FAIL FAIL FAIL. Leave before the tears. Leave before the tears. Run/walk to car. Cry. Bang steering wheel. Scream "I'M DOING THE BEST I CAN." Wonder if professionally dressed dad outside heard me.

Drive to donut place. Continue "I'm doing the best I can. I'm doing the best I can. I'm doing the best I can." Order two donuts because why the eff not? Pull up to trashcan, clean out car as much as possible. Cry some more. Wonder if this feeling of being totally out of control and never being good enough for anyone will ever go away. Doubt it. Remember that I've been averaging about five hours of sleep a night since September. Decide to drink some coffee before calling Dr. Advisor and quitting right there on the access road to the highway. Eat donut. Feel slightly better.

Then I got angry. Because of everything Wesley and Charlie need at daycare, forgetting clothes is of the least consequence. He has to have bottles, his blanket, his pillowcase. Charlie has to have Blue Bear. They have extra clothes there. It would be better if he had clothes in his cubby, but since they insist on changing him every time he spits up it is difficult to maintain a supply. I AM doing the best I can. So what if everyone else's best includes name-brand diapers, cute little multi-piece outfits for their infants, a week's worth of extra clothes in the cubby, feeding instructions in painstaking detail taped to their diaper bags. I dress Wesley in simple clothes because I know they have a lot of babies to take care of and there's no reason for them to be doing up three sets of snaps every time they change him. I give them basic feeding instructions because I know they have to develop their own rhythm with him, that he responds differently to different caregivers and as long as he is getting enough to eat it doesn't matter how many ounces he eats before he burps.

My kids are happy and healthy and clean. They learn about current events, we eat dinner together as a family every night, Charlie knows how to care for his sapling, he can point out the roots of the weeds I pull in the back yard. He his helpful and courteous. He is curious and bright. Wesley is a happy baby. He smiles, he coos, he is trying to roll over. Charlie is his hero.

And once we all start getting some sleep, we'll be unstoppable.


Anonymous said...

Sleep will help, but those kind of mornings will sneak up on you once in a while.

The best thing, the kids will only remember how much you love them!!

Alyssa said...

I totally felt your frustration reading your post. You are doing amazing!

Steph said...

YOU are MY hero.

Anonymous said...

The first time someone told me they thought I was "so together" I almost fainted. Everyone always thinks the other moms have it together, believe, me I have the experience under my belt to tell you, every one feels just like you do.

And, it gets SO MUCH easier. It does!

Sarah said...

Dude I could never get them both ready for daycare. I can barely gather enough crap to sustain them for an hour-ish in the gym playroom. And when J was a teeny baby, I got so flustered being called away from the treadmill to change his diaper that the next time he pooped, they changed him for me and put him in somebody's size 4 diaper because OF COURSE I didn't leave any.

"rend his garment" made me laugh, as did the image of Charlie caring for his sapling-- very sweet.

My car is also a mess, and I never have anything-- especially a pen when I'm at the bank drive up window getting money to pay the sitter on my way home late.

You're doing great!

Staci said...

You're doing great, especially considering the sleep deprivation. And I know exactly how you feel. I was the mom they had to call to come pick up the baby (Nate) early because he had been crying non-stop for 3 hours and no one could take it anymore. I'm the mom that left the extra summer clothes in the backpack until the "accident" in December. Oops. And that was this year. And I've had 4 and a half years to get it together! When I finally acccepted that I'm just not (and probably never will be) a "together" kind of person life started getting more manageable. Now, my kids know that if they need it at school, they better get it themselves, as there is no guarantee that I will remember it.
Hang in there! It feels terrible now, but you'll have some great stories later.

Qutecowgirl said...

Hang in there hon, and vent away.

AJU5's Mom said...

I am happy to make it out of the house by 8:30 - on Sundays only when I have help with ONE child! And I agree with the simple clothes. AJU5 has cute outfits, but I often prefer to put her in a shirt and pants because it is easier. When she was Wesley's age, she wore sleepers when she had accidents because they took less space in the diaper bag.

You are doing a good job!

sarah said...

ohmygoodness, you are SO good. Like Stephanie said, they will only know how much you love them. They won't care about extra changes of clothes in the cubby.

Kyla said...

You ARE doing great. I could fill books with everything I've forgotten (I'm an ACE at forgetting) or screwed up at one time or another.

Today on the way to K's art camp, she kept falling in the parking lot (hooray for poor balance!) and I kept helping her up, and then she fell one more time when I was mid-stride and I stepped on her tiny finger and basically ground it into the pavement. She was screaming and bleeding and I felt like the WORST PARENT EVER. Then at pick up time, she said, "Hey Mom! You stepped on my FINGER!" in an accusatory tone. Stellar.

Anonymous said...

You're kiddos are awesome and you're doing a wonderful job. J-man NEVER has a change of clothes with him. Come on, your kid can use chopsticks :) --abby

Homestead Mom said...

Steady on, B. You do a fantastic job, as you know on the days that you get enough sleep. I know I quoted an article at one point that established the curve for good parenting - if you hit your ideal parenting 70% of the time you're in the A+ zone. [I guess higher than 70% is in the AP credits?] I think you're safely on the side of overachieving in the strong, loving family area.

I straggle around feeling lucky if I remember to restock the diaper bag each morning. Arriving late, stained and without a sippy cup for Pequita for nursery coop this morning my friends told me that they can't believe how well I'm doing. The second kid *does* ramp it all up.

I'm sorry I didn't get to post this when it might have helped to read it, but you are GREAT!