Mom mistakes are a rite of passage as a mother. Sometimes we make a choice that impacts our children and other times the mistake solely impacts us. Some of the most common mom mistakes happen with first-time moms who struggle to adjust to their new lives. An experienced mom will seek to avoid repeating these mistakes on their next child. Some believe it is just fine to make these “New Mother Mistakes”. I love the women who acknowledge the mom mistakes but offer solutions instead of guilt. Who couldn’t benefit from approaching situations in better ways?
This post is not about typical normal mom mistakes. I am addressing mistakes seasoned moms make when we let our guard down. Remember, I am all about avoiding constant mom survival mode, so I encourage moms to periodically let go. However, you must always be honest and look to ensure that future decisions are better.
No mother is perfect because perfection does not exist. However, we all know when we made a choice that has a consequence that we did not want and do not like. These are mom mistakes.
Moms, you must also be honest that you made a mistake! That is the basic rule for mom mistakes. Do not defend and find a reason to insist it was a reasonable option. Although there is not one correct way to raise a child, there really is a range of normal. When you significantly go outside of this range, you pretty much have made a FOUL.
Sending your child to school naked: FOUL.
Letting your 2-year-old sit on your lap because she does not like the car seat: FOUL.
Letting your 10-year-old drive your car “just around the block”: FOUL.
A Momma card is an imaginary card that I believe is given to every woman as soon as she gives birth, adopts, fosters or becomes a guardian to a child. She is then officially deemed to be a mother and agrees to honor the duties of a mother.
What are mother duties? Well, I looked it up since clearly there are times when I have forgotten:
According to the University of North Carolina School of Education,a mother is chiefly responsible for nurturing and rearing her children. A mother has an obligation to help her children develop strong moral principles early in life. The mother’s presence and daily guidance in the life of her children helps them to develop positive character traits with love and compassion for others.
A mother who shirks her responsibilities to her children may encourage them to go on a wayward, destructive path in life. Mothers must also correct children when they do something wrong to teach them how to do better.
One of my biggest mom mistakes will haunt me forever, was taking my girls to a movie almost caused me to lose my Momma Card. I will never forget the day that I seriously questioned my ability to parent and to be a responsible mother!
Many moms have had moments, perhaps to lesser or greater extents, where you were afraid your Momma Card might be revoked. It rocked you to your inner core. I can vividly recall the day I made one of my biggest mom mistakes; nearly 15 years later, my girls still remember it, too.
My oldest daughter was in 6th grade while the youngest was in 3rd grade. We were on vacation in Destin, Florida over a school break. It was a beautiful day, but instead of going to the beach, we went to a movie. I was feeling exceptionally laid back in vacation mode and had put my Momma Addict tendencies on hold for the week. This was my first mistake.
My daughter had recently become obsessed with a song she was learning in her chorus class. She announced that there was a movie released with actors singing that song. Can we watch it? Please?
At the time, my girls attended a private Christian school, so I just assumed that whatever song they were learning must have meaning and value. My next mistake was then assuming that the associated movie would be educational as well. Yes…I had beach brain and had tucked and was not thinking clearly.
My girls were ecstatic that I agreed to take them to this movie. Not Disney. Not cartoons. A big girl movie. Hugs all around. I was a Momma Rockstar. I loved it.
My brain must have been completely turned off as I bought tickets, popcorn, and slushies. It was a matinée and the theater was not full because it was a sunny day at the beach. This fact was the one saving grace of the entire ordeal.
The lights went dim. The movie started with about 8 actors standing on a dark stage with spotlights on them. Beautiful harmonizing voices belted out my daughter’s song. She sang along. It was glorious. What was the song?
Seasons of Love.
Yes, from the Broadway musical RENT.
Yes, I knew I bought tickets for a movie called RENT, but since my private school child in the chorus was singing a song from it, surely the movie had a different theme.
If you haven’t seen RENT or if you haven’t seen it recently, pause right now and watch it. Then come back and judge me. Judge me hard. I still do.
There was no excuse for my actions. I led my children into harm’s way and had not attempted to shield them.
The singing stopped. Suddenly, a man was riding a bike down the street and began singing. That’s when I realized the gravity of the situation. But holding out hope that I was wrong… I leaned over to my daughter and whispered… What’s this movie about?
She shrugged and kept eating popcorn. I don’t know. I just like the song.
No, no, no, no, no! This can’t be happening to me.
Bam! I was soon sitting in theater exposing my young children to sex, drugs, AIDS, and anarchy/revolution, all laced up with an abundance of homosexuality.
Dear God. Now what?
Admit defeat and stand up and drag out my kids who were frozen staring at the big screen? I wish I had. That was mistake #3.
I dug in deep. I lifted the arm dividers between our seats and brought my girls’ heads into me to rest on my chest. This was their constant position while they watched, and I narrated the ENTIRE movie.
I used this awkward situation to discuss our family values and beliefs about topics like drugs and tied it to the school red ribbon campaign: Say No to Drugs.
I talked about subjects they did not know existed and found a PG way to discuss sex, lesbians, and transvestites. These topics were glossed over as much as possible, and I tried to focus on the themes of friendship and loyalty. Like how Benny married rich and forgot where he came from.
When the scenes became too graphic (meaning I wanted to slap myself for allowing my third grader to watch this), I would say…
Girls, look at me. This is very important for you to understand and I need to see that you understand.
They dutifully turned to look at my face, and I made up some important distracting stories while glancing at the screen to determine when it was safe enough to resume normal levels of inappropriateness.
By the time the movie was over and Angel was dying, my girls didn’t even focus on him being a transvestite who died from AIDS. They were both bawling.
All three of us experienced extremes of emotions that afternoon that we will never forget. Ever.
If you choose to specifically take your children to this type of movie and have a plan to educate them, you may feel this is not a foul. Each parent must decide what to expose their children to and what age. Just don’t let them walk into situations without preparation. Otherwise, that counts as a mom mistake.
My actions that afternoon were wrong and clearly I made a FOUL. But I made the best of a bad situation. I will never defend my actions but you can best bet I was fully informed about future movies and plays that my young children were exposed to. This mom mistake made me a better parent. Learn from your mistakes.
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