When you feel like a failure

First published June 16th, 2016

‘Mammy why were you not at shared start this morning?’

These were the words uttered by Elijah, our eldest, at bedtime a few nights ago.  My heart sank.  How could we have missed it? I’m usually so good at writing all the dates on our family calendar as soon as we receive them.  I went downstairs to check the calendar – no entry.  Checked the school letters and sure enough there was the date of that day for shared start.  

[Shared start is when adults go into school to spend the first half hour of the day with their child/grandchild doing whatever the children are doing that morning.]

I rushed back up the stairs to apologise and give my eldest a great big hug. 

‘Elijah, mummy’s so so sorry we totally forgot, well we didn’t even know it was on. I’m so sorry.’

His response ‘But I was doing my sad face to Daddy and telling him to come back but he didn’t.’

The truth is that that day we were once again rushing like mad to get to three difference places all before 9:15 so neither Colin or I were ‘with it’.

Again I said to Elijah ‘We are so so sorry, we just didn’t know and would have come if we knew about it.’

Elijah then said 

‘It’s ok mammy, the teacher helped me.’ 

I could have burst into tears right at that monent.  I felt like such a failure, we had let life, work get too busy and had taken our eye off the ball.  I felt horrid and so sad for our Elijah.

But the thing is since that conversation he has not mentioned shared start again, to Elijah it’s forgotten about, it’s done.  But me, a few days on, I’m still beating myself up about it. That’s what we do as parents, we constantly remind ourselves of the times when we have failed in our task.

But what about all those times when we totally ‘nail it’?  When parenting is a breeze and we feel like Mary Poppins?

Today I want to remind myself of the times when I’ve helped my children thrive, the times when I’ve made my children laugh a lot, the times when I didn’t raise my voice before the school run. 

If I take the time to think about these events I’ll be reminder that on the whole, although I don’t feel like that is the case, I’m doing an ok job.

Ask your child, your children, they’ll tell you:

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Leanne Scott