I'm supposed to take my daughter to a very expensive and very important lesson twice a week.
And today, I completely forgot.
And why did I forget?
Because I'm on page 48 of another creepy YA book and can barely function while I'm writing. Because I haven't gotten more than 6 hours of sleep in a week and perform notoriously poorly on 6 hours of sleep. Because I spend approximately 12 hours a day alone with a two-year old and a four-year old, which is clinically proven to make someone insane. Because my toddler was taking a rare and much-needed nap after collapsing in on himself like a black hole by the fridge because I wouldn't let him lick an ossified strawberry he found on the kitchen floor.
But you know what?
None of that matters. Not a bit.
I messed up.
And I feel horrible about it.
There's this trope in movies and books about the busy, self-involved parent who accidentally forgets to pick up their kid at the soccer game, and the kid is abandoned, alone, in the rainy dark, feverishly clutching a trophy and feeling unloved.
Our sympathy is supposed to rest solely with the kid.
And the thing is, we all had that moment as kids. When you look into the audience, and they're not there. Or you wait anxiously for that ride to the mall that never arrives. When you spend a sick day shivering under someone's desk with the flu because they can't take the day off.
That's life. It's just part of growing up.
But nobody ever tells you how hard it is to be the parent that messed up.
Now I'm on the other end of the stick.
I fail my kids all the time, in a hundred different ways.
"In a minute" becomes "later" becomes "this afternoon" becomes "tomorrow."
The zoo trip becomes a pet store visit becomes driving by the goats and waving.
That camp I promised to sign her up for was full, and I couldn't find another, and then I missed the deadline for the next one, and now I can't even find a pair of roller skates to buy.
Or, like today, when I just flat out messed up. Even if my daughter didn't notice that she missed her class, I've spent the afternoon plagued with guilt.
And what am I doing to make up for it? Am I reading a fourth book or making muffins or playing My Little Ponies?
I'm in my studio, trying to make myself feel better by unloading my feelings on a freaking blog.
This is the crux of parenting for me.
I want to give my children everything, but if I give them everything, there's nothing left for me, and then I can't give them anything because I'm an empty bag of nerves and yelling. I have to think ahead, keep a calendar, get reminders, stay on top of things. And sometimes, I just flat out suck at doing all of those things that mothers are supposed to do-- hence that ossified strawberry under the fridge.
Everyone tells you to balance your life as a woman and a mother, but they don't generally tell you how f'ing hard it is.
So I want to apologize ahead of time to my children.
Guys, I'm going to mess up a lot.
But I'm going to hug you and apologize afterward, and be honest with you about my feelings.
One day, I think you'll understand.
Now, let's go bake some muffins.
They're probably going to suck. Because guess what? I also suck at baking.
But by God, we're going to bake the hell out of 'em.