Hey friends– it has been a long minute since I’ve updated this thing. That is unfortunate– but I honestly stay so busy that I keep forgetting what I’m trying to remember not to forget… It’s complicated. Just this month– every weekend is jam packed with a million different things I have to do and places I have to be. Mentally, it has been challenging to keep it all together and keep up with everything. And everyone. I’ve felt so down about not being able to keep in touch as regularly as I would like with my friends and family. I think its time for some mindfulness practices in my near future.
With all of that being said- this constant state of chaos has made me extremely forgetful and feeling like I’m lost 24/7. I know there are important forms I need to fill out, things I have to do, deadlines, etc.. but I feel like it is all an overload and I’m exhausted. I don’t know where to start so I just don’t. I’m having permanent “Wal-Mart syndrome.” Wal-Mart syndrome is my own term I use for ….ADD. Every time I walk into a Wal Mart there are so many sounds, colors, products, people… I can’t focus on any one thing at once. My senses absorb every individual item or person at the same time and I can’t focus. I can’t hold a real conversation, I can’t walk directly to where I want to be… I just stand there– feeling like I’m floating in sea of senses. It’s too much. It’s overwhelming.
When life is extremely busy– every day can feel like “Wal-Mart syndrome.” Important things can be easily forgotten. Last month my daughter started her new daycare and with a recent move, my son starting school, a new commute, illness, etc.– I was struggling to make it through each day– much less prepare her for a new daycare. Which brings me to the point of this post: Mom shaming.
Over the summer I was emailed several times to complete this document, that document, review this handbook, this policy, pay this amount of money– then this amount of money …now come in for this appointment and start this day… by her new daycare. I made the appointments, I filled out the forms (or so I thought) but it always seemed like I was missing something. I kept getting emails saying I’d forgotten this, forgotten that. I came down hard on myself. “Why can’t you just complete a simple document?!” I was would scream at myself internally. With each “forgotten” task, I felt a pit in my stomach and wanted to cry. There are never enough hours in a day. I was giving myself a hard enough time… I didn’t need to hear it from anyone else– but of course, I did. The woman running the daycare constantly reminded me with every email that I “must have forgotten..” I “must not have had time to…” or “Because you never emailed me back… ” I accepted her jabs at first, feeling deserving of them. But after meeting with this individual several times and taking these blows over email and in person, I’d had enough.
The fact is– I love my daughter. I hadn’t forgotten the important stuff. I’d let them know about her allergy, I’d gotten a note from her doctor, I’d turned in her medical forms… I showed up to her “meet the teacher date” (even though it was so far ahead of the date she would start that it might not have been worth it… according to the daycare lady) I showed up for her first day with my daughter in a mint green with printed rainbows jumper and a freshly made chalkboard adorned with peppa pig characters announcing her first day at preschool. So– I forgot to sign a social media form, I forgot to turn in the paperwork before the first day, I didn’t realize they didn’t take credit cards, I stood up to the director when she didn’t want to accommodate my daughter’s allergy. I was sick of the shaming… and it stopped now.
Often times I believe that we all feel somewhat deserving of a little judgment or ridicule as moms. I read a study yesterday that said moms get, on average, 32 minutes a day of personal time. 32 minutes … all day. That’s barely enough time to watch a TV show. With the chaos that is everyday life… its extremely hard to get it all done– and impossible to have perfection. I think that this feeling of failure though… perhaps… contributes to why we’re so willing to take the judgment and the jabs. It’s important to remind ourselves that we’re doing the best we can and we don’t deserve anything less than full support and compassion.
I also think it is important to recognize that many of these “jabs” are quite subtle. It is very rare that an individual will just come out and say “Why can’t you get our shit straight?” …right? They typically smile to your face, give a pitty-filled chuckle and slide a jab in disguised as a “gentle reminder.” Don’t play nice. Don’t accept this behavior. You’re better than that and you don’t have to take it. Call it like you see it. Stand up for yourself because you didn’t do anything wrong. Being an imperfect mother striving for perfection is good enough. Being an imperfect mother trying to make it through each day– is enough. Forgetting a few forms doesn’t mean I love my daughter less than anyone other kid’s mom in the daycare. It means, life is hectic– and I forgot. That’s it.
My husband and I called this woman out on her behavior and she gave a forced apology in front of the director. My husband and I thanked her for the apology but we did not accept it. We don’t accept parent-shaming. Hopefully she will take the time to reflect before speaking to another parent in a condescending way. We have certainly taken the time to consider the environment we want our baby in, the behavior we’re willing to (or not willing to accept) and will keep working to make sure we do the best for our kids. As long as we’re doing that… everything is okay.