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When Mommy Drops the Ball, the Guilt Rolls In Hard

We’ve all been there. A stressful week riddled with guilt when nothing is getting done.  Cue the insomnia and stress eating.  With so much going on, something will be forgotten. 

For me, most recently, that was during the Super Bowl week. We had family in town, hosted a Super Bowl part, and ran around to a variety of kids sports throughout the weekend. I was burnt out!

I survived our Super Bowl party that lasted much longer than I had anticipated.  Then slowly returning my house back to its original order, after a horde of wild children high on sugar and treats tore it apart, was so not fun, but had to be done. Stress levels slowly dropped throughout the week as my guilt was assuaged and I checked things off my to-do list.  Between working all last week and playing catch up with every free moment possible, I thought I was maintaining our steady track in our busy lives.

But something slipped through the cracks.  Something that is important to my son.

Ever since the start of first grade, my darling son has held a steady record for perfect scores on his weekly spelling tests.  We typically review the words a few times during the week along with our nightly reading, although he already knows nearly every word by heart. I’m one proud mama.  But this week, as I cleaned out his school folder and spotted the latest test, my jaw dropped.  I noticed with immediate guilt, he got one word wrong.  His sad puppy dog face turned to me.  He pleaded with me in a heartbreaking voice, “I’m sorry I got one wrong.  I promise I will try harder next week.  I’m so sorry!” 

Sure, to most people this isn’t a big deal.

But I know it was a big deal to him.  

Which made it a big deal to me. 

I let him down.  

Maybe it’s my raging hormones or maybe it was just a long week, but the only person I was mad at was myself.  Guilt and self-loathing rolled through my body in reaction.  

As a substitute teacher I often see children who are ignored at home. It’s obvious and heartbreaking.  Simple things that I do every day out of habit are ignored in these children’s homes. Checking the agenda and signing it daily.  Making sure homework is completed.  Returning a signed report card promptly.  Or even acknowledging a note that was sent home from a teacher about behavior.  They are all ignored.  Children come to school hungry, angry and emotionally raw.  I can only imagine what their home situation is, and I guarantee it would break my heart.  

My situation was much less dire, but I still felt guilty.

I know I love my son above all else and promised him and myself that I would do better.

Because I care.  Because his education is important to me.  I don’t want to feel guilty; I want to know I tried my hardest every day.  I can take five minutes out of my day to review his work.  To see what needs my attention and show him that his education is a priority to me.  This doesn’t make me a better parent.  Lord knows we all make mistakes and I am fallible as well.  

We are all busy, we are all stretched thin. I just know that his success will depend on me just as much as him.  I will be his number one support person for the rest of his life.  

This week, we went over those words daily.  He is on point and ready for that test and I can only watch with pride as my son heads off to school every day with joy and excitement and a real love of learning.  I couldn’t be more proud!

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One Response to When Mommy Drops the Ball, the Guilt Rolls In Hard

  1. barbhagan March 6, 2017 at 9:52 am #

    You are an incredible mom! I LOVE this post and I can relate because I suffer from mom guilt, too. I think it comes with the territory.

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