Yesterday my son decided he wanted to take a walk around the neighborhood. It was a chilly morning in the upper 50s so I put a light jacket on him and myself. My toddler grabbed his favorite walker and off we went looking for adventure in our suburban, sidewalked jungle. A few houses into our walk he got a bit cranky and kept pulling on his jacket. After a few confused seconds I finally got the hint and took it off him. Free from his extra burden he happily sped away outfitted in just a t-shirt and pants to cover his little limbs in 50ish degree weather.
As we walked, I made sure to prominently hold his jacket in my hand that faced the street so that any judgy drivers whizzing by would know I at least tried putting him in a jacket on that chilly morning. Even when my son decided he was done pushing his walker and it was up to me to carry it, I carried it in a separate hand so nothing obstructed the view of his jacket dangling from my hand that faced the street.
As I type this it sounds crazy. Why do I care what drivers think of a 21 month old wandering around the neighborhood in a t-shirt when it is 50 degrees outside? My son takes after his Grandfather and is very warm-blooded. I know this. I put on his jacket and he didn’t want it, so fine. He’s obviously happy as a clam without it. So why the extra effort to appear more in control of what I “should” be doing?
Because of the Mommy Fail. You know what I mean. That phrase we tell ourselves when we do something “wrong.” Served dinner without a veggie? Mommy fail. Let your kid watch Real Housewives? Mommy fail. Didn’t have a clean uniform ready for the game? Mommy fail. In my experience, moms usually use the phrase to poke fun at themselves, not necessarily to condemn other moms. But, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if this type of self talk forces us to focus on what’s missing instead of seeing the good, and therefore negatively impacting our self-esteem. No veggie with dinner? You had the means to serve your family dinner and did so. Mommy win! Kids watched trashy TV? They are safe in your home and you have the means to pay your bills that allows the TV to be used in the first place. Mommy win! Forgot to wash the uniform? You enrolled your kids in sports where they are learning all sorts of life lessons along with getting great exercise. Mommy win!
My toddler won’t wear a coat when it is chilly outside? He is enjoying the fresh air and I am happy to be a SAHM so I can go on these morning strolls with him. Mommy win!
Let’s banish “Mommy fail” from our vocabulary and give ourselves some grace. Are your kids fed, clothed, and loved? Mommy win. Everything else is icing on the cake, no matter what Pinterest says.