Permission to Fail


When we spend days at the grindstone of parenting children who struggle, we fail. Sometimes epically. So I will admit to one of my epic fails, which should make you feel all the better about yours, Right? I sure hope so. When the kids first came I left them alone for really no more than ten minutes, probably to go to the bathroom alone. First mistake right? And then they were quiet… Should have noticed that was too good to be true immediately, but I didn’t. I cleaned the kitchen counter, and gathered the dishes, and then noticed. By this time, my sweet little boys, dressed only in underwear because clothes were too much stimulation, had rubbed brown sugar into the couch. I mean all of it. And I was not the one to notice. It was my husband walking through the front door who mentioned the silence. And all my mommy flags woke up. I ran in the other room and noted the sugar, on the couches, on the floor, on the kids, and flat out lost it. Yep I acted like they had burnt the house down. I grabbed one child under each arm and plopped them in the master tub, then went back for the last. Once they were constrained my sweet husband asked if he should get out the steam cleaner. Time for flip out number two. Seriously? Sugar and water? What are you thinking? So he washed kids and I vacuumed sugar until the room was clean.

Not epic enough. Okay then I will give you a real confession. I yelled at my little girl when she cut off her hair. For the fourth time. In a week. I really yelled in the face of my toddler. She had such pretty hair, and it was all gone, and I was going to have to buzz her head. And we had talked and a had begged her to stop, and she’d done it again. So I yelled. Now she tells everyone the dangers of scissors and hair cutting. Total over-reaction, but it was real for me. And I was broken by another hair cutting incident.Image

                What is the point of all that? I lost it. Over a very little thing with the people I loved the most. I was tired. So tired it made my knees weak. I was overextended. Learning to be a different, better parent makes you overwhelmed. And I was sad. I had just sent children back to their parents in the foster system with one hour notice. We all fail at some point. We all act ridiculous, we all scream at a child who doesn’t deserve it, or a spouse who is just trying to help. And that is part of the job. As we learn to be the best parents we can be we are bound to fall down. Most people do it every so often. I did it every day for the first three years. I guess I am a slow learner, but I learned, and I get better at only losing it when things are really bad. Sometimes we all need another mom to say. “You are welcome to suck at this job too.” Well you are. I do very often, and I would like the company. I give you full and outright permission to fail, when you are trying your hardest and it isn’t enough, it’s not a reflection on the quality of human being you are. It is simply that you are trying to grow into a better person, a better parent, a better spouse. Growing hurts. Learning is miserable. You will get out of this funk.

                Really you will. It will get better, you will learn what you need to know. And then you will have the day when your five year old sets off the fire alarms in the sink because he wanted to try the matches, but he was scared of the fire. Or the day when the child who cannot figure out the why of how to behave says I love you and really, really means it. SO… permission granted. Learn fast. Fail fast. Stand up again.

One thought on “Permission to Fail

  1. Thanks for sharing. Some days I can handle whatever happens and brush it off without a thought. Other days, the tiniest little things become huge mountains and I lose my cool. But the nice thing is, we can try again the next day, or the next hour, or the next second. We are never trapped in one behavior or mood.

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