Have you ever experienced a mom fail? You know, failed at such an extreme level that you ended up in the fetal position second-guessing every parenting choice you’ve made? Wondering why God put you in charge of tiny humans because you CANNOT DEAL? No? Ok. Then you ought to tap out here. But if you can relate, keep reading. Because no matter what kind of day you’re having, no matter what type of epic shitstorm has come your way, I guarantee this true story of one of my many mom fails will make you feel better.
As an autism mom, I’ve learned the hard way that some days you will rock the hell out of motherhood, Other days will fade into blurs, and a few will be such epic shitshows you will remember them forever.
As you’ve probably noticed, mom-ing hasn’t curbed my enthusiasm for the four-letter word. And since we’re 100% real here, I don’t think I’ve evolved into a better parent with each child.
My first child, a girl, was quiet, cautious, and did I mention quiet? Seriously, my friends would slip up, gossip, curse, or my favorite girlfriend’s pastime – curse and gossip – all of the time around her – forgetting she was in the room. She was stealthy like that, and she flat out made motherhood seem simple.
My second child was also a girl. But nobody ever forgot she was in the room; she made damn sure of that. But even with her loud personality, the penchant for painting her body with multiple shades of nail polish, and demanding to dress in what could be described as a Lady Gaga meets Urban Cowboy on Broadway-style, she was still somewhat manageable.
My third is, well, he’s Nathan.
He has autism, and he needs a security detail to monitor him.
And I’m tired.
Nathan loves water. Water is his jam, his boo, his muse if you will. So if you leave him alone in a room, any room with water, you are asking for it.
And that’s just what I did a couple of months ago.
It all started with the day from hell. No, really, I was doing Satan’s choreography from the moment I opened my eyes. Something didn’t feel right from the start of my day. Some may call it a premonition, and some may call it the feeling when your son is kicking you repeatedly in your lady business.
Either way, it was not right.
Still, even though it was pre-coffee, I managed not to yell loudly enough for my neighbors to hear and did my best one-two-step to avoid seeing my reflection in the full-length body mirror some psycho decided to put next to our shower. Somewhere between my smack talk about the nasty grout lines and my funky shower curtain, I realized that my teenager had once again absconded with all of my decent toiletries. And by bolted with toiletries, I mean that dirty thief stole my good soap. Again.
Perfect, I thought. I guess this is what motherhood is all about – sacrificing your lady business, as well as privacy and the right to bathe with good soap and sulfate-free shampoo.
On the upside, I was within arm’s reach of a moldy bucket of all of the bathing gels, hotel “freebies,” and loofahs my family had abandoned and that I had felt too guilty to throw away.
I came up with two half-empty Gillette shaving gels (both with bacteria in full effect) and Strawberry Shortcake shampoo.
Fabulous, I will smell like an eight-year-old today.
I make a mental note to seek revenge against my fifteen-year-old and carry on because I have my act together.
That is my new mantra. It has been my new creed for all of 24 hours since listening to a crapton of self-improvement books. (To pull me out of a deep dark depression that snuck up on me after Nathan was diagnosed with autism.)
See, I wasn’t supposed to be doing this mom thing again. That wasn’t my plan, Stan. After the second kiddo, I was supposed to return to work. I wanted to go back. I needed to go back – I’d been working since I was 15. I got my first job the day after my 15th birthday. Maybe it wasn’t glamorous being the bakery girl at the local grocery store, and, yeah, I did have to wear a raspberry beret that was not at all like the kind you find at a second-hand store or that Prince would sing about, but it was where I found purpose.
I worked throughout high school and college and up until the second trimester of my second child’s pregnancy until the doctors made me quit for bedrest – which blew. I spent 80 percent of the time scared out of my head I was going to lose my baby and the other 20 percent planning my epic return to the workforce.
Then I got pregnant again with Nathan. There would be no epic return to the workforce. But there would be a big job to do – which brings me back to the story of this mom’s fail.
On the way to Nathan’s preschool, he throws everything he can get his hands on at me. The mini football hit the windshield. My daughter’s sunglasses hit the rearview mirror; a random coathanger narrowly missed my right eye. The iPad landed smoothly on my head and felt like a gunshot. This amused Nathan to no end, as evidenced by his explosive laughter.
I am a freaking living carnival game to him, I think, but say nothing because I’m not going to lose it today.
I refuse to be a bad mom. I refuse to yell, be broken down, or otherwise compromised by any bad mom thought, behavior or reprimand.
And I made it to drop off, no outbursts – no tears from Nathan or me. Well, I think that was a win.
I collect my thoughts, pop a couple of Excedrin, and head to the grocery store to pick up a few items multi-tasking Mom style because that is who I am now – that mom that gets shit done.
When I finished self-checking all of the groceries (shout out to Wal -Mart for making me work for it), I realized that my wallet was not in my purse. It is officially MIA. And I’m left eyeball to eyeball with several disapproving Walmart shoppers who took the 20 items or less express lane a little too seriously.
I check my purse no less than twenty times. Then my car. It’s nowhere to be found. I have no money, no credit card, no ID – nothing.
This is where I’d usually panic, but not today, I refuse to wig out. I am sure it’s at home, and when I get back, I find it, mysteriously on my eight-year old’s bed.
I will have a chat with her about this when I calm down because I have my act together.
I am not a bad mother.
Now the kids and I are all at home, and as much as I want a plate of brownies and a Lifetime Movie, I must fold at least some of the five loads of laundry sitting on top of the pool table we never use.
I recently read that music can improve any state of mind, so I dial up one of my playlists and get into folding the towels.
Just kidding, I’ll never get into folding anything, but my 80’s playlist was on, and all was right for about five minutes.
When I heard my daughter screaming I knew it had happened…. again.
“Mom! Mom! MOMMMMMM!!!!!!! HELLLLLLPPPPPP!!!!
It was the toilet by the kitchen.
This would make the fourth time Nathan had clogged it with a toy giraffe, article of clothing, or an entire roll of toilet paper.
I calmly walked toward the bathroom, carrying the freshly folded towels to clean up any mess.
I have my act together, I tell myself. This happens to everyone, I say out loud.
It’s fine—no big deal.
When I am about to go psycho, I talk to myself out loud.
I could still hear my playlist; Jon Bon Jovi was singing about Livin on a Prayer. I could do this. I, too, could live on a prayer.
Until I looked in the bathroom.
There was my half-naked son smiling at me, so proud of what he had done.
What we had wanted him to do for so long all by himself. He pooped in the potty.
The potty that he had clogged and then flushed repeatedly.
The potty that overflowed when one used more than one square of TP per flush.
What I saw was a bathroom floor flooded with sewage sludge and a giant turd on the edge of glory – I mean the toilet seat.
Dear Sweet Baby Jesus. I need help STAT – we have a Biblical flood situation in my half bath.
I had to get to work drying up the water-fast. I knew the drill.
I calmly asked my daughter to take Nathan into the other room so that I could get to it. It was a mom who has her shit together style command that I was proud of. I stayed pretty chill throughout the cleanup and did not curse one single time -out loud.
Then, just as I was finishing, I hear the toilet flush again.
It was Nathan.
Somehow he had gotten back into the bathroom and managed to flush it. Twice.
He laughed at me as the water started rising again.
About that time, I hear the song.
The piano at the beginning. I recognized it right away.
Oh, Lord no.
Bonnie Tyler is singing to me.
That haunting voice…
Now the giant turd was getting caught up in the new water flow, and I was afraid it would make contact, so after yelling at my daughter to get her brother, I asked her to get me the spaghetti strainer.
She asked if that was what we were having for dinner because she wanted sloppy joes.
I explained that we were not negotiating dinner right now and that I was literally in a sh!t storm and needed the strainer.
And swore off spaghetti after she saw me attempting to corral the fecal matter into the vessel that drains her noodles.
There was Bonnie again.
But now the water was coming so fast that I had to drop the strainer and try to cut the water line off, all while playing the toilet keep away game with Nathan.
It was as if Old Faithful had erupted from inside the bowl! I managed to turn the water off but not before a good two inches of sewage made it into my bathroom for the second time.
I was on my hands and knees, covered in poop gunk, desperately trying to dry up any “water” that had made its way under my daughter’s cabinet when I found myself face to face with my fiercest adversary of the day.
My son’s giant turd.
Every now and then, I fall apart….
Damn you, Bonnie Tyler!
That is when I lost it!
I mean, I lost it!
Nobody should ever have to come that close to actual crap!
Somehow I had made it through every obstacle that day with dignity, yet there I was covered in crap, wet from the sewage, in the fetal position, ugly crying like a baby, sitting next to the toilet on the bathroom floor.
Every now and then, I fall apart.
Me too, Bonnie. Me too.
And that’s an epic mom fail, people.
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