Epic Fail

So, we’ve all had those days, right moms?

Where we have the best of intentions and everything unravels and you go to bed with the biggest heap of mom guilt weighing on you.

Well, today might just be my biggest fail as a mom.

It was easy when there was just Emma… I could focus all of my attention on her and if things weren’t going perfect, I could scoop her up and redirect both of our attention to something else and we’d just move on… Very rarely did a raise my voice or get really angry.

Then, Ellie comes along. She is sweet and joyful and precocious… and VERY mobile starting at the ripe old age of 10 months. She’s the curious little one who wants to get into everything. I mean EVERYTHING!

And then there’s the two of them together. That’s when I turn into the horrible NAG-MONSTER… “Don’t do that” “Stop” “Hey, knock it off” “Don’t push your sister” “You can’t sit on her head” “Stop taking your sisters toys” and on and on I go.

On this particular night, Brandon had gone out with some friends and I was going to feed them dinner, do a little art/sticker project together, read some stories on the couch while I gave Ellie a bottle and she drifted off to sleep at which time I would carry her to bed and have some quality cuddle time with Emma before it was time for bed.

About 2/3 of the way through dinner, all hell broke loose!


I finally managed to settle everyone down and made our way to the couch with a nice warm bottle and two sweet little girls. We’d salvaged the night. Phew…

Three minutes into the bottle, Emma turns to me and says “poo poo in my diaper”… UGGHHHH now I’ve got to stop the bottle, change a diaper and hope Ellie settles back in. And throw in a little “WHY can’t you just use the potty? You’re THREE YEARS OLD…”

So we get through the diaper, we go back to the couch, and I even relent by turning on the TV for some Mickey’s Clubhouse… (I really do try NOT to use the television as a parenting tool, but sometimes you gotta do what gotta do, right?)

All is well, Ellie’s eyes are closing and Emma starts screeching as toddlers seem to do at the most inappropriate time.

BAM… no sleep for Ellie now.

And guess what… “I poo poo’ed again”

Now I’m pissed.. I holler and yell and ask WHY we are still not using the potty. Surely, screaming is going to get my point across and she will magically turn around and say “OK mommy, since you said it that way, I’ll start using the potty now. Sorry about that!”

Another diaper, a crying baby, and a “screaming bloody murder”” toddler.

Now I’m cooked. I just want (NEED) the kids to go the heck to sleep so I can have just a few hours of personal, quiet time, alone in my house.

I’m trying to rock and bounce Ellie to sleep and Emma’s in the background whining “Pick me up, mommy. Pick me up”

I ask her to stop talking nicely 20 times in a row. Then I lose my patience. “How can you NOT see I’m TRYING to put your sister to sleep so I can spend time with you”

This goes on and on and I wind up yelling some more and we’re all terribly upset.

I’m upset because they won’t just listen and go to sleep.

Ellie’s upset because, well she’s one and doesn’t understand any of this other than we’re all very tense and people are screaming around her. I hate this for her…

Emma’s upset and crying hysterically because her affectionate, loving, patient mother has lost her mind and has left her to sob by herself (which happens… ummmm… NEVER)

I FINALLY get Ellie to fall asleep after bribing Emma with something that I can’t even recall at this very moment and then come back out in tears because I’ve just made their last hours of the day AWFUL.

I suck…

I’m a horrible mother…

I’m ruining my kids…

I don’t deserve to have these precious souls…

What if something happened to me or, worse, to them in the next 24 hours and this is what I lived with for the rest of my life, or what if this was their last memory of their mother? MAN… What a jerk I’ve been and I need to do some serious repair work and NOT do that again!

Then, I remembered the “magic relationship ratio”…

“For every negative interaction, we need five – or more – positive interactions…”

So, I stopped the pity party and did my best to make it up to Emma before she went to bed… I let her download a puzzle app on my phone and we played together. She tried to use the potty once before bed to make “mommy happy” and we laughed.

We read some books and we sang some songs together. We took selfies and laughed.

We snuggled and I held her close. I apologized for being a jerk (in different words, of course)… And I told her she was the most important person to me and that I loved her.

Sure… I probably needed a whole lot more than FIVE on this particular night, but I did my best to have as many positive interactions until she was fast asleep.

I went and rocked and held Ellie next and told her how much I loved her and how sorry I was if I upset her before bed. Of course, she was sleeping and wouldn’t have understood me either way, but it was the right thing to do.

The next morning, I remembered the rubber band method I’d heard about before and stuck 5 hair ties on my left wrist and made sure that I praised, complimented, and loved on those girls the next day in any way possible. I limited the “NO’s” and made sure there were lots of “yeses” to their requests.

Every now and then, I think an Epic fail as a parent forces us to step back and remember they are precious. Their childhood is fleeting. They are only ours for a little while so we need to make it count.


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