Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Top Rookie Mom Mistakes

I recently heard a story on the radio about a mom in England who mistook a boa constrictor for a banana in her toilet. She called her kids into the bathroom to ask who put it in there.  My first reaction: “You idiot!” My second reaction: “Let’s face it, everyone has had some not-so-great parenting moments."

A lot of the mistakes I’ve made in life seem to revolve around motherhood. While the failures may stack up there is nothing I try harder to get just right.  When I was pregnant with my first baby I used those long agonizing months of waiting very wisely.  I sought the advice of my mama friends. I researched products endlessly trying to find the ones that were best for teething, tummy time, walking, cognitive learning, etc. I read tons of books on how to raise self-confident, motivated, loving children who would be ready to take on the world. Years later I realized managing motherhood mostly requires a lot of on-the-job training.  Seriously, go figure.

As proof of my struggles through mommyhood thus far, I have composed a few of my all time Top Rookie Mom Mistakes. Some are more unforgivable than others... but here they are for the world to see.

Honesty is not always the best policy.
I read that it is better to tell your kids about medical procedures before they happen so that they are informed and therefore feel in control. Worst. Advice. Ever!  My daughter needed blood work when she was 4 years old and so we took her to Children's Hospital.  Following this “expert” advice I explained to her why we were there while in the waiting room.  It took her all of three seconds to process and then she climbed up on her chair and started yelling to all of the other kids in the room, “They want to take our blood! With needles! It is going to hurt! Don’t let them do it!”  For a brief moment I was one proud mama! Seeing her up on that chair, controlling the room like a well polished politician.  That promptly ended when all hell broke loose. The room turned into a scene from “Children of the Corn.” Kids were screaming and running towards the door. Some were even laying on the floor and kicking their parents. Everyone (including me) was trying without much success to console their crying babies.  Eyes were glaring in our direction. Needle-ss (yes, I went there) to say we were promptly asked to leave and reschedule over the phone. 

Movie ratings are put in place for a reason.
And that reason is to keep parents from making a big-time rookie mistake. OK, so this is actually something my husband did but since I went along with it, it still counts.  I came into the room to find my husband and 4 and 6 year olds watching “Arachnophobia”.  I asked my husband if he thought that was a good idea.  He said, “Yeah, look at them. They love it! It's rated PG-13 so they can watch it.” Skip to one o’clock in the morning after I, not my husband, had been trying for hours to soothe them to sleep.  It took my son two months before he would let us cover him with a blanket because he thought that spiders were in them.  My daughter was scared to pee sitting down on the toilet because she was convinced that is where they lived.  To this day the kids still ask us, “Remember that time you let us watch that scary spider movie?  Why did you do that?  You knew it was scary and we’re just little kids!”

Duct tape doesn’t always equate to child abuse.
I’m sure that all moms have horror poop stories to tell.  It is almost a badge of honor for parents.  A right of passage if you will.  Maybe some of yours could even trump mine (bring it on).... When my son was 15 months old he started the lets play with my poop game.  When he first started I researched and tried ways to get him to stop.  Turning his pjs backwards didn’t work because the little bugger figured out fast how to take them off.  Putting underwear over his diaper didn’t work because, duh, why would that work if he figured out how to take his pjs off? Finally the last suggestion I could find was to tape the diapers on him.  What!?!?  No way was I going to put tape anywhere near my baby!  What if it got on his skin?  Or worse.  What if he somehow got it off and it got on his face!  He could be smothered! So until he was potty trained each time my son took his late day nap he would take the entire poop out of his diaper and smear it on his bed and walls.  Sometimes he would even throw it like a caged monkey!  I tried to beat him to the punch by getting in his room right as he woke up  but he was like a poop ninja or something.  Quite until he was ready for me to see his masterpiece.  Looking back, after all those gross and wasted hours of cleaning poop up, if I had it to do all over again, I would totally tape that bleepin' diaper on!

Don't try to be the cool mom, it will only ruin your carpet.
While having an indoor play date with a friend her son found my large supply of bubbles and asked if he could play with them.  My friend, who with three kids all over the age of 8 was no rookie mom, said it was not a good idea.  I was all like, “I am the cool mom and if they want to play with the bubbles that is fine with me.”  And so they did.  For over an hour.  There were so many bubbles that after awhile they stopped popping and just cling to each other in a big sticky pile on my carpet.  Later I found that steam cleaning it only made it worse as the bubbles fought back and multiplied like a virus. After trying several other equally unsuccessful ways to unstiffen the carpet, in the end it had to replaced. Never will I try to be the cool mom again. I am totally fine with being the smart mean mom who says no to really bad kid ideas.

The coveted back room invite is not at all worth the risk.      
This is the one I am most ashamed of and put it last in hopes that most of you won't read this far.  (My confidence in blogging is overwhelming, isn't it? :) I was shopping at Gymboree with my son when the manager asked me if I wanted to go into the back room to look through their HUGE overstock of discounted clothes before they put it on the floor the next day. She offered to keep an eye on my son who was watching a cartoon since it wasn’t safe for him back there.  I was apprehensive at first but it didn’t take long for that logic to be overtaken by thoughts of, “Think of how proud Rob will be when I come home with an entire wardrobe of discounted clothes.” I agreed (please don't judge me) mainly because I had known the manager for many years through the store and she seemed responsible and normal.  About 10 minutes (OK, maybe it was 15) went by and I came out to check on my son only to find that he was nowhere to be seen! And instead of the manager behind the counter there was an elderly women.  I asked her where my son was?  She sweetly said, “Well, where did you leave him?” I explained to her that the manager offered to watch him.  She told me that the manager had an emergency and left a few minutes ago.  I yelled the first thing that popped into my head and the only thing that made sense at the time, “Oh my God! She took my son!!“  So embarrassing but what else was I supposed to think in my moment of panic? For all I knew this could have been some kind of Gymboree kid-stealing racket. I ran out of the store and looked left, and then right. Relief!  There he was with a security guard - not the manager as originally thought.  I collected my son and left without buying one damn thing from that back room.

At the end of the day though it all turned out just fine. I love my kids, I try my best, and I am human. So the next time you're beating yourself up because you lost your kid in a store, or let them play video games all day, or their rooms look like a disheveled mess: remember it will turn out just fine. And even if it doesn't, don't beat yourself up, because, at the very least, chances are you didn't mistake a boa constrictor for a banana.

{Me and my family and we are just fine.}


  1. LOL! Thanks for this fun post! The story about your daughter turning an office visit into "a scene from Children of the Corn" was especially hilarious. As a mom I to struggle with making mistakes. Like you said, we are human and everything is all right!

    1. Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed the post and got a laugh out of it. At the time when that happened I was devastated but I guess with time you can find humor in almost anything.

  2. It's nice to be reminded that we all make mistakes Nd would do things differently. I'm not a mom yet but I know it'll be crazy when I am. Thanks for the fun post

  3. Hi Allie! Yes, it will be crazy! And only the best thing you have ever done. :) Thank you for reading the blog and commenting.