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Moments of Mommy Fail

April 11, 2011

All parents suffer through moments of feeling they’ve failed their children, sometimes on a daily basis. Here are some of my worst, and by that I mean best (because they’ll make you feel better and that’s what I’m here for), examples:

1) Poisoned my kids

My children are highly suspicious of my cooking, with good reason. A few roast chickens have required extra cooking time (via the microwave) after my kid bit into a bloody drumstick. On occasion, my husband has caught me sniffing a bag of deli meat with a suspicious look on my face. His reaction is usually  along the lines of, “Jeezuz – just throw it out before someone pukes!”

2) Torched the Serb

This probably falls under “marriage fail,” but it was definitely an omen of things to come. We were renting a house with a small backyard. After living in an apartment for years, we were eager to do some outdoor grilling. Our barbecue was a cheap piece of crap that was prone to flare-ups (cue ominous music).

One day, my husband lit the grill and a massive whoosh of fire leapt a few feet in the air. I was standing in the doorway talking to him when it happened. Was my first impulse to yank him safely inside? Shield his body from the flames with my own? Nope – I slammed the door in his face. And locked it. Between this and the butter overload, the Serb is convinced I’m trying to not-so-subtly end him.

3) Stole kids’ toys from under them (aka Grinched ‘Em)

I went to a ‘Simplifying for Your Kids’ workshop last year and came away inspired to donate, sell or throw out 90% of their toy inventory behind their backs. In truth, a stormtrooper helmet was the only item missed – and they have more fun playing with a shoebox, deck of cards and duct tape than anything else – so I don’t feel too badly. To the outside observer, however, I’m battling Joan Crawford for Mother of the Year.

4) Used threat of manners school with fake Skype

My seven-year-old son eats like a psychotic baboon. Food goes flying, fingers get slurped and utensils are just for show. During one particularly memorable pasta dinner, I threatened to send him to manners school (a boarding school version, no less) if he didn’t get his act together. I even grabbed the laptop and Googled “manners school” to show him they existed. My asinine threat was followed up with me pretending to dial his teacher up on Skype (one-way viewing, obviously) so she could monitor his eating habits during mealtime. The week that it lasted was a buffet of well-mannered bliss.

So c’mon, spill it – what’s your best fail?


29 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2011 7:30 am

    I Grinch my kids’ toys twice a year. I’m ruthless. But it’s highly cathartic, don’t you think?

    I have lots of rotten moments, but slamming my 3 year old’s finger in the car door (accident) was probably one of the worst.

    ps: What was UP with Joan Crawford’s eyebrows, anyways?

    • April 11, 2011 2:03 pm

      There are a lot of smushed fingers out there from the car door…you are not alone!

  2. Mel permalink
    April 11, 2011 7:42 am

    I think *accidentally* slamming kids’ fingers in doors is actually quite common. My mum did it to my sister (and then, because my sister is a “suck it up” kinda person and didn’t scream, started driving off. Until my sister did actually scream!) , and one former colleague actually slammed *off* the tip of her daughter’s finger!

    • April 11, 2011 2:03 pm

      Doing the tip is bad – they can’t forget if they see no tip every time they look at their hand!

  3. April 11, 2011 7:57 am

    I’ll be writing an entire post to describe this fail (and would LOVE it if you’d stop by)…but two years ago, I was so cynical from my elder son’s constant “boy who cried wolf” problem, that I took my sweet ass time coming in from the back yard while doing yard work when he had a hurt arm. Turns out, the arm was broken, required surgery and a hospital stay. Yup…that’s MY fail.

    • April 11, 2011 2:04 pm

      That’s a substantial fail. I’ve often ignored my kids’ wailing to find that they’re in real peril/pain. Toughens them up!

  4. April 11, 2011 8:48 am

    OH my gosh.

    You should hear my crazy witch cackle right now.

    YOU are awe.some.

    One way skype viewing?

    You, you?? I adore.

    • April 11, 2011 2:04 pm

      I would love to hear that witch cackle (over a glass of wine, if possible). And the adoration is, as always, mutual!

  5. April 11, 2011 8:57 am

    I tried the grinch thing, but didn’t have the heart to do it. My 17 month son has this toy phone with the most annoying voices. He loves it. I hid it, buried it deep in a pile of old stuff, and he had been much more interested in random stuff.

    Somehow, yesterday, he started throwing things around (as toddlers are wont to do) and ran across the phone. The look of happiness at the no-longer-lost item was priceless.

    I failed at failing.

    • April 11, 2011 2:05 pm

      Ha – failing at failing – that is fantastic! We’re going to make a lot of people feel better about themselves today…

  6. April 11, 2011 9:02 am

    You mean aside from beating them while screaming NO WIRE HANGERS?

    Let’s see, the most recent fail was when the 4yr old was complaining of stomach pain. To which I said tough, get in the car, it’s time for school. Yeah, he projectile vomited, Linda Blair style at the breakfast table full of classmates.

    • April 11, 2011 2:06 pm

      The best is when they moan at you, through a barfy haze, “I TOLD you I was sick!”

  7. HBoy permalink
    April 11, 2011 9:09 am


    In french “les beaux moments”. My latest parenting fail was at the grocery store : My two year old seated in the cart, and my four year old hanging on the end like a Mumbai resident clinging to the side of a train. Everything was cool until I turned away at the fish counter and let go of the cart. You can anticipate what happened next: a panicked squeal, a loud crash, two small children wailing underneath an overturned shopping cart (oh, with a few grocery items strewn about for effect). I didn’t think the place was so crowded until a millisecond later when all shoppers and staff converge, some helping to dust my children off others just offering the obligatory ‘tsk tsks’. The kids were fine, but not helping matters in the parenting image department was the fact my four year old had face planted into a chair days earlier and his face was blue and swollen. To me he looked a bit like Avatar, to others in attendance that day a sorrily neglected child.

    • April 11, 2011 2:07 pm

      Ah, mon ami – tu est un papa fantastique, no matter what every cashier in your hometown may think 😀

  8. April 11, 2011 10:20 am

    I could not stop laughing the time my then-3 year old daughter fell out of her chair at dinner.

    Also, when she was little and not feeling well and sleeping with me, I dreamed I was making the bed and ended up flinging her out of the actual bed.

    I sing in the car when I’m driving her and her friends around.

    Wow. I’m going to have to fight you for the Joan Crawford badge.

    • April 11, 2011 2:07 pm

      Let’s trade kids and make them feel better about their real parents.

  9. April 11, 2011 2:13 pm

    I think the thing I felt most badly about was when I was trick or treating with my 3 year old son. It started getting dark and it started to rain, but we were determined to hit a few more houses before we conceded to the storm.

    I was pushing him in the stroller while running house to house. Then, I cross the street and I see a lady at the door waiting for us. I am running with my son and then, whoop…I hit a lip on the curb, I flip the stroller upside down, he crashes to the ground and then I land on top of him and it. He got hurt but not badly. A few of the houses witnessed the whole thing. He was fine within 5 minutes, but it scared the crap out of the both of us.

    • April 11, 2011 2:27 pm

      Ohhh – that’s a good/bad one! If you’d been dressed as Thomas the train characters, you could’ve explained that you were simply reenacting a recent episode involving a crash 😀

  10. April 11, 2011 3:56 pm

    Truly, it would be easier for me to describe the few times I accidentally stumbled upon Mothering Success than listing 13 year’s worth of failure.

    But then it would seem like bragging…

  11. April 11, 2011 4:55 pm

    Both of my children have gotten their “fingers pinched in the bathroom door” by my hand – heaven forbid I make a tiny attempt at privacy.

    I have also conked their heads on the ceiling of the car while setting them in the car seat.

    Many worse things I’m sure, but my mommy brain is doing its best to erase my memories of them.

  12. April 11, 2011 6:53 pm

    ROFLMAO!! Slamming the door in your husband’s face…epic!!

  13. Danielle permalink
    April 11, 2011 10:21 pm

    When my son was about two and a half I threw up on him. We had been out and I felt nauseous so decided to go home. As soon as I reached my front porch it hit me even harder. I was trying to unlock my door and my son was squeezing his way between me and the door (like kids do becaus they want to be first) and I threw up right on his head. I am so grateful that he has never mentioned it and has hopefully repressed it.

  14. April 12, 2011 10:07 pm

    Obviously, you’re an evil genius. The last one is proof of that.

    I’ve given my son a muscle relaxer instead of his asthma medicine requiring a phone call (or two) to the poison center.

    PS My SIL actually sent my nephews to manners camp for a couple of summers. My FIL said it appears to be a waste of money.

    • April 14, 2011 9:28 pm

      Oh my GAWD – manners CAMP? In the SUMMER? That is fantastically evil!

  15. April 16, 2011 8:24 am

    I called my kid a dumbass once when she did something stupid (she’s 9). She told me she didn’t like that and I promised not to call her a dumbass anymore.

    Within 2 weeks time she did something else really stupid and I yelled, “See now would be a good time for me to call you a dumbass, but I won’t.”

    She didn’t buy it.

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