Mom Lessons: Turning “Mom Fails” into Wins

I think one thing that often connects all mothers is the fact that we all have moments where we have completely failed as a parent.

There is just that moment when something happens or you say something, and immediately your gut clenches and you can’t help but internally whisper (or yell), “Ooh, I messed up.”

Mom Lessons: Turning Fails into Wins

If you are anything like me, an anxious perfectionist, this moment can then live rent-free in your brain for hours, days, or even years. I can’t help but dwell on it, and like any rational person, feel like I’ve ruined my children’s lives somehow.

However, retrospective can often bring clarity. Especially in situations like this.

As I’ve been a mother for longer,  I can look back and realize that some of my mom fails have actually been mom wins.

Here are some examples:

The Picnic Win

There was a time during the beginning of the beginning of the pandemic where I came home for dinner. During that time I was working 10-11 hour days (including some weekends) and was just exhausted. So, after being at work for 10 hours, I knew that I still had to handle dinner for my boys. My husband was out for the evening for some reason that I cannot recall now, so I was doing it solo. I just did not have it in me to put together a dinner and engage fully. So I made a picnic on the floor. The boys ate a quick dinner of sandwiches and veggies on a blanket and watched a cartoon.

I sat in silence on the couch for those 25 minutes. My head and heart was screaming that I was just being lazy and a bad mom. But what happened after those 25 minutes? I was actually able to center myself and then have the patience and energy to spend quality time with my sons.

The lesson I learned that day was that it was okay to take a few minutes of self-care in order to be a better, more centered mom. My boys didn’t see it as mom not being there for them. They saw it as a new, fun way to eat dinner and then they got to spend some time with their mom.

The picnic was not a mom fail, it was a win.

Losing Patience

Another mom fail that happens more than I am comfortable with is losing my temper or patience with my children. I wish I could say that it’s only happened once or twice.  I lose my patience, just like any other human being, and there are times when it can happen a bit too much. Seeing their little faces after I have snapped at them is just a kick in the gut. And at that moment, I feel like the world’s worst mother, and that I failed spectacularly.

One thing that I always make sure that I do after this happens is to take a moment to make sure that I am calm again. Once that happens, I always get down on the level of my children and we talk about what just happened. I explain how mom lost control of her emotions and reactions and how I wasn’t very kind in my reaction.

Eventually, I realized that while I always feel awful when this happens, my sons are actually learning some really important lessons. By taking the time to make a sincere apology and to explain my feelings, my sons are learning to do the same. They’ve learned what it means to be genuine when making an apology. They understand my adult feelings do not mean more than theirs. Even adults and moms can make mistakes and still come back from them.

The Real Win

What children really need to see is how you, as an adult and parent, react to these “mom fail” moments. It is in those moments that your children can really learn from you and honestly, you will often learn from them.

The biggest lesson that I am continuing to work on is that I can’t be hard on myself when I stumble. Because I’m going to- probably a lot. It doesn’t make me a bad mom, or less of a mom.

What I’ve learned from these mom fails is that it is these things that make me a human, and at the end of the day, are actually what make me a great mom.

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Courtney likes to describe herself as a lover of lists and post-its, all things nerdy, and as an all-around pretty awesome person. She lives in Marion with her husband, Jon, their two sons, and their two crazy cats. Both of her boys are rainbow babies, with Everett arriving in December 2013, and Hendrix in March 2016. Courtney is a Penn State graduate, and currently works as a team lead for a state agency. Aside from attempting to be successful at this parenting thing, she likes to go on adventures with her family that includes trying out all the local parks and ice cream stops. Courtney also likes to binge watch Netflix, attempt all things from Pinterest, and can be occasionally be found on her couch doing both