F is for Fail

Failing as a mom

You know those days when you feel like you have it all under control? The other day, I managed a routine hospital visit with one of my children. I listened to another speak at her school assembly and I gave my homeschooler a test. Laundry was underway, party favors were bought for the upcoming birthday. I was acing this mom thing.


Until I wasn’t. I received an email about one of my children from the school. They emailed me because my child is failing one or more classes. Excuse me, what?

I received an email about one of my children from the school. My daughter was failing one or more classes. Excuse me, what?

Failing? As in an F?

So I looked up her grades and they were right. It was all online for me to see. It was not a recent event; she had been struggling all semester. But I hadn’t noticed.

Later, my daughter told me she did not want to talk to me about her grades because she felt like I was too busy already. She is one of my neuro-typical children and usually my go to gal. She didn’t want to burden me.

Maybe I wasn’t such an ace.

As a mom of 3 children with special needs, I often worry about neglecting a child. Sometimes I do. In the middle of one child’s meltdown, I am not going to fix another child a sandwich. In the middle of an infusion for Sam, I am not going to invite 3 friends of Lia’s over to play. I can’t. I am only one person. And I feel guilty about these moments.

But today stung a little more than not being able to make a sandwich. My daughter needed help talking with a teacher. She needed help getting her assignments submitted in a tricky online process. She needed someone to help her do her homework. But I have been so busy, she hasn’t asked for help.

Not only was my daughter failing a class, but I felt like I had failed as a mom. I had let her down by not being available when she needed me.

So I asked her for forgiveness. I need to remember she is still only a teenager and she still needs me. As we talked, I recommitted to be more present and to be more involved.

When I fail as a parent (and I do),  I need to remember to be gentle with myself. All parents have more on their plates than they can physically accomplish. This is a simple yet unpleasant fact.

So here is what I hope to remember for the next time my I fail (which will probably be tomorrow):

  1. Just because I fail, doesn’t mean I am a failure.
  2. Everyone makes mistakes. I tell this to my kids every day, so I guess I should believe it.
  3. No one can do it all, all the time. I am supposed to pick the best things from the all the good I could be doing.
  4. Ask for help. I wanted my daughter to reach out to me for help, and I need to remember to reach out for God’s help. He will guide me to know what I need to do. They are his children, too.

My daughter and I are going to try again. I am positive we can get rid of those F’s.

Posted by

I am the mom of five beautiful adopted children, three of whom have special needs. I love to write about the lessons I've learned while raising my children in order to help others. Join us for some fun, a few tears and lots of laughs.

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