If You’ve Ever Felt Like a Terrible Parent

No one is a bigger wuss when they are sick more than me.

I felt a little weak in morning, but headed out for a few hours to my mom’s group. I was feeling very isolated and grouchy the last few days, and really needed the girl time.

I was able to rest for a few hours afterwards while my toddler took an afternoon nap, but then it hit me like a freight train. Fever, chills, body aches, headache, and a sour stomach.

That hit head-on with an already established mean case of moody PMS and I was down for the count.

I just laid around. The house was a disaster. Toys all over the floor in the living room and kitchen, piles of unfolded laundry, dirty dishes, clutter all over the counters. And I pretty much lacked the desire or will to even live, much less deal with all of that.

My oldest got home from school and the usual decibel level climbed. I normally enjoy how much the boys like to play together and let it ride within reason, but I was so beat down it was driving me crazy.

It took every ounce of my energy to yell at them to SHUT UP and settle down. Shut up are two big no-no words at school and at home and they just stopped and looked at me with big eyes and the looks on their little faces that said Who is this chick?

I felt bad right away, but made no efforts to apologize. I half-heartedly got my oldest fed and ready for Scouts later that night and waited for my husband to get home.

I texted him that I was sick all day and that the house was a disaster and that he would have to eat leftovers. I felt it was only fair to give him fair warning…

I usually stay home with the little one while he takes the big one to Scouts, but he took one look at me and said they could skip Scouts for tonight so I could go lay down.

I wasn’t planning on that at first, but I was so relieved and took him up on it. They had just had a big scouting event the week before so they were fine to stay home.

He took care of dinner and dishes and bedtime. God bless him.

I couldn’t sleep and tossed and turned the whole time, never able to get comfortable or find relief. After a few hours, I got up and soaked in a hot tub, but then the chills were gone and I was hot. Sigh. I got out and laid on the couch but still couldn’t get comfortable, so I went back to bed.

The kids were in bed asleep at this point, and I started to worry. What if this was my last day with them? What if those were my last words to them? What if their last memory of me was this day?


Would they remember that time we played campout in the living room with movies and popcorn and old crib mattresses covered up with blankets? Or would they just remember me telling them to shut up? I’m such a bad mom.

Should I go and wake them up? Should I tell them I’m sorry? Those were the last thoughts I remember before falling asleep.

I was so glad to wake up to a new day. I still had a headache and felt a little weak, but the worst was over. I apologized at breakfast for my grouchiness. And I was so thankful I got a new day and the chance to say it.

That’s the thing about parenting. We screw it up. We will feel like terrible moms and dads sometimes.

But I don’t think it’s a horrible thing to let our kids see us in the messy places of life. Because their life lessons come in the way we conduct ourselves after we make mistakes. Kids learn nothing from perfect parents. Let it all hang out. Age-appropriately of course.

I hope that they remember the apology the most. To know that we need a lot of grace on certain days, and that giving it is just as important as receiving it. And that mistakes happen. Guaranteed.

They don’t appear to have missed a beat. Onward, soldiers.

One of my favorite things no matter how cold it is, is to sit outside on my front porch or stand on my back deck. Sometimes it’s only for a few minutes. But it gives me fresh air and clarity.

Do you know that birds still chirp in the dead of winter? You just need to look a little harder to find the good things sometimes.

Hang in there, parents. Your job is important, and you are learning just as much as they are. Embrace it.

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