Today was a Mother-Fail day. (Or wait… was it?)

The fail actually started in a hotel in Houston where I threw my belongings in a bag and left behind a much-needed iPhone power adapter.

You see, the part of parenting that I hate the most is not the poopy diapers or the temper-tantrums… I hate the ORGANIZING.

The stuff that always falls on moms.

You know what I mean…

  • Signing the kids up on time to get a spot in preschool.
  • Fitting in swimming and piano lessons.
  • Ensuring the ballet leotard is clean on Tuesday morning.
  • Remembering to pick up a gift for that birthday party next Saturday.
  • Keeping their immunizations up to-date.
  • And… making sure they get to the dentist.

(If you have a husband that keeps on top of this stuff, you’ll be the first I’ve met. But wait… don’t tell me… I might hate you for it.)

Even before children, I had a tough time managing my own life. But with my two girls growing older, it gets worse every year.

This morning, still worn-out from my back-to-back blogging conferences and a month of late nights, I sent my girls off with their sitter, drove Janice’s boy Jackson to school, sent off a few emails and then snuck back into bed for a much needed nap.

Since my iPhone is my only alarm clock (my kids seem to steal every other one I purchase and hide them away with their toys), I took my land-line phone to bed with me and asked a friend to call me in 2 hours.

But when the phone rang, it was no friend.

It was the DENTIST!

Julia and Sophia were supposed to be at the pediatric dentist right then.

I was in a sleepy stupor, but could clearly envision the dentist wondering what a mother of a 2 and 4 year old was doing asleep in the middle of the day when they were supposed to be at their dentist appointment.

Panicked at the thought of how costly a double missed appointment fee would be, I sputtered out sorries and asked if I could rush them there now.

I called the sitter who lives a few doors down and asked her to bring my girls over. I jumped out of bed, tied back my still-unwashed hair and ran out the door.

Ten minutes later we arrived at the dentist and if there were any doubt of my incompetence, my disheveled appearance confirmed it.

“We called and left you multiple voice messages.” The dentist said.

And that’s when I remembered my dead iPhone. The one who should have reminded me of this appointment and flashed voicemail messages.

But when I tried to explain that I left my phone charger in a hotel in Houston, I seemed to come off as an absent mother. Add to that the fact that I had to retrieve my children from a sitter. And their phone call woke me in the middle of the day only to have me show up obviously not yet showered and with my 2 year old sucking on a SOOTHER.

Well, I just felt like mother-of-the-year.

Then… of course… my four year old turns out to have her first CAVITY!

After a lecture about flouride tablets and the importance of stopping the soother habit, I dragged my sorry-self and my poorly raised children out the door.

Mothering Failure.

So that night I put my kids to bed in a cupboard.

Julia Sleeping In Cupboard

(LOL. Just kidding. They discovered a fun new place to play. Really they do sleep in a proper bed. But I did let them stay up late to watch the Olympics and put them to bed without a bath.)

I just got back from putting my girls to sleep…

The Good Lord saved my parenting failure of a day…

By some miracle, the dentist telling Sophia she didn’t need her soother must have had an impact. She didn’t ask for it again for the rest of the day and then she went to bed without even mentioning a soother or sucking on her fingers.

She just played around on the bed, acting like she wasn’t tired and wasn’t going to go to bed, and then poof… she was asleep without a soother. MIRACLE.

Sophia Sleeping No Soother

Likely it won’t last. I foresee a middle of the night meltdown or at least a breakdown tomorrow at the idea of a nap without a soother.

But for now, I’m rewriting this day as a…

Mothering Success. (Even though it had NOTHING to do with me. LOL)


This morning Sophia asked for a soother and I said in a sweet voice,
“No Honey, remember the dentist said no more soothers.”

And she didn’t say another word about it.

I almost fell off the couch in shock. We’ll see how the day and night proceed without a soother. I’ll keep you posted.

ANOTHER UPDATE – March 8, 2010

Sophia has still never again asked for a soother. But one night she went searching behind her bed and found an old soother and popped it in her mouth. I noticed a few minutes later and said, “Hey, where did you find that? You don’t need a soother.” And she giggled and I took it away.

Not another word.

But sometimes I feel sad for her when she’s crying and touches her lip. I can tell she feels something is missing… but she survives and soon stops crying. For me, I miss being able to stop the tears and screams more quickly by popping a soother in her mouth. But we’ve both pretty much gotten over it.


  1. says

    Yay about the soothed. I am praying it lasts. Your day sounded rough. Just to let you know a bad mother wouldn’t have made the dentist appointment in the first place. Nor would she have asked someone to watch her kiddos while she napped. She would have let the dog watch them.

    You, on the other hand, sound like a mother that truly cares for and loves her kiddos!

  2. says

    I love what you say about husbands. SO TRUE!!! I don’t think they realize how much work all the planning is.

    Also, my son just turned 4 andhasn’t been to the dentist yet. We just added him to insurance and plan on taking him soon… but I know he already has at least 1 big cavity and the pediatrician seems to think there are many more. UGH! Horrible mother, here. No more candy for bribery. Now if I can just convince the grandmas (and my husband) to stop loading them up with candy, we’ll be all set.

  3. says

    Hey, ending on a good note rocks. And a pacifier at 2 is nothing for them to gripe about. Dentists rub me the wrong way (no offense to any dentists) with their attitudes about tooth care. It is NOT the most important thing in the world and we DO make mistakes and a HAPPY toddler is worth a cavity or two. IMHO. 😉

  4. says


    Ask any mom out there and she’ll tell you she’s had a similar day or too where we’re put to the test. I’m glad you got through the day and especially happy that you found some humor in it. Love the pantry photo! Keep up the good work.

  5. says

    Good luck with the soother changes! It seems those kinds of things can be the hardest to get rid of! And heck – we all forget about things. I’d like to know one mother who remembers everything that has to be done and made and fixed and set up, etc., has a spotless house, perfect hair and makeup, beautifully done up children and is always put together – without having a full-time nanny, butler, personal assistant, etc. Ha! Makes me giggle just to think of it. :) I’m glad you had a break! Sounds like a successful day to me. 😀

  6. says

    We just had a visit from the pacifairy in our house 3 weeks ago. It is going pretty good, except that now he wakes up earlier… He used to hang out in his crib with it for awhile, but now he is ready to party at 530am!

    I hope it continues to go smoothly for you!!

  7. says

    I hope that she totally doesn’t need a soother again! Sort of bittersweet though, isn’t it?

    I am glad she is handling the transition well though!


  8. says

    My child has three fillings and last year this time, she was gearing up to get a root canal. She was born cocaine positive and while that (thankfully) didn’t effect anything but the immunity and the teeth, it made her teeth soft and susceptible to cavities.

    Oh man. We’ve ridden that train. Oh, the fun part is when the filling pops out because sweet child o’ mine has a mean overbite.

    Cavities happen, but they aren’t the end of the world. Consider it a heads up on needing to switch the brushing routine a bit.

    I only have one child and have all of her school calendars taped to the kitchen door. I was just thinking last night about how I don’t know how people with more than one child do it. We only allow her to do one extra curricular at a time, but whoo-eee! Her schedule wears me out. Homework, speech therapy homework, sight words, reading requirements, volunteering at the school, working part time, keeping a moderately (but not spotlessly) clean home, laundry, cooking, shopping for food . . . Eeek!

    Breathe deep!

  9. says

    Don’t feel bad. I have 4 kids and this week alone, I forgot about a parent-teacher conference for one child and the volunteer time I was supposed to show up at school to help the teacher in another child’s room. I felt horrible…and human.

  10. says

    SO not a mom fail! Sometimes that’s just the way it goes. It’s not easy to be a mom and handle the sometimes competing needs of so many people. But your sense of humor will take you far- love the cupboard picture! My favorite mom fail of the year: On the telephone with preschooler’s teacher, postponing conference due to yet another trip.

    Me: “But she’s fine, right? There’s nothing of immediate concern?”
    Her: “Oh, no, aside from the whole not knowing who’s caring for her from one day to the nextm she’s just fine.” Wow. My kids always have me, their dad, or their retired local grandparents, whom I freely admit have been the cavalry this year when my work travel picked up. But that comment? I did not love. Gah.

  11. says

    I so love how you are just you!! You are the Not So Perfect Mommy just as I am.. And God loves it that way.. because we have to rely on Him..

    May you have a beautiful family filled, organizing free, recouping and restoring weekend!


  12. says

    It was those back to back conferences that did it. lol You are one of us, we love that…..believe me when we say it makes us smile to know no one has it all together. That is meant in a good way.
    May God Smile Upon Your Week-end.

  13. says

    OMG, Susan! I totally feel your pain on this one.

    While at Blissdom, the final day reminded me that I had not talked to my kids the entire weekend!! What kind of mother goes 3 days without speaking to their kids?? Oh I was devastated. Then, came home to find that they didn’t even notice. Geez. :-( LOL!

  14. says

    Hee Lisa. Day or TWO?

    I feel like I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants since 1998.

    That’s awesome about your dentist telling your daughter about her soother, I let parents blame ALL sorts of things on me (RN). Shots, pacifiers, no chocolate for breakfast (I don’t follow that rule personally lol), I’ve got big shoulders, lay it on. 😉

  15. says

    Just found your blog. And you would definitely qualify for what my friends and I deem ourselves (on days like this) “Loser Mom”. Aren’t we glad there’s always a silver lining like no longer using the soother. BTW the dentists around here require that kids are 4 before they get an appt. Really takes the pressure off Mom!

  16. says

    oh Susan! What a week you are having!! I just hate it when stuff like that happens.

    But YAY about the soother! I hope it works permanently :)

    And ya, keeping it all together is just about impossible in my world!

  17. says

    Oh, how I loved this article! I know what you mean – it’s the thousand little ‘to do’s’ which seem to fall exclusively on mom – that are the most draining. As long they all get done, days and weeks proceed as they should, no one even notices the work/organizing that goes into keeping things ticking, and all is good. But . . . let one of these ‘to do’s’ get forgotten and what was mundane becomes an “eek! I can’t believe I forgot!” Why do we get judged/judge ourselves on what we don’t accomplish? Where are the accolades for successfully navigating our familes from one ordinary week to the next?! I’m a mom of one and nanny to two little cuties. This week, I took the 15-month-old baby I nanny to the doc, for her one year well visit – yes, a little late . . . Her mom is as devoted a mom as I am, but her work is demanding and she couldn’t be there. The doc was not pleased and he indicated that it was ‘unusual’ and not really appropriate that the mom wasn’t there for the well visit. Did he think she didn’t want to be there? Of course she did, but she truly couldn’t, so she did what she had to. A little less judgment, a litlte more understanding would help so much! And congrats on the lack of soother – hope it continues!

  18. says

    Gosh my son had his binkie until he was almost 3. His teeth are fine. The baby still loves her binkie at 22 months. I am a fan of letting kids have little vices for perhaps longer than they should. How hard is it for adults to quit habits?

  19. says

    I always feel like the most unorganized mom on the planet, especially when my kids are the ones who are missing a permission slip or my 8-year-old is calling home from school because she forgot to put her glasses on (and apparently I didn’t look at her long enough to notice before sending her off to the bus). I think we all have issues when it comes to keeping track of stuff, so I wouldn’t feel badly at all. Way to go on the soother – and hope the transition goes smoothly for both you and Sophia!

    I’d be missing my iPhone like crazy too! :(

  20. says

    I love the cupboard they are playing in… it is adorable.
    Don’t beat yourself up, we have all done stuff like that on occasion, it’s just part of life. The kids will never remember – what they will remember is the time you let them play in the cupboard and let them stay up late to see the Olympics!
    My assesment: Mommy succeed!! :-)

  21. says

    Big hugs to you! I’ve had days where I felt like nothing could go right and I was a failure as a mom and then the day ends in success. I’ve also had days that didn’t end in success – lol! I laughed so hard when you said, “that night I put the kids to bed in a cupboard.” That’s awesome – lol! Kudos on the soother success!

  22. says

    I laughed when I saw your picture! My Wordless Wednesday is a pic of my 2 kids “sleeping” in our kitchen drawer! How funny!
    I have had super bad days like this and the organizing is really not my thing either. And when I went to Orlando I left behind a very important battery charger for my camera. I couldn’t get the pic off my camera until they shipped it back to me!

    I hope you have some parenting successes soon to outweigh these stresses :)

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