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?

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.

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