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future-mom fail

May 24, 2010

It pains me to say it, but I am not going to be a good mom.

The fact is, I just always thought I would.  I’ve got a multitude of younger siblings and I figured out the whole multi-tasking, care-taking, loving, talking thing years ago.  Psh, no problem.  Um, maybe not.

I began to be a little shaken in my certainty on this when I was home visiting a couple of weeks ago.  My Mom had been away for a couple of days when I arrived, so I stepped in to help my Dad and other siblings with taking care of the kids.  No problem.  I got them settled down, cleaned, tucked in, prayed with, to sleep.

Next morning, made sure their beds were made, made sure they had breakfast and were comfortable.  Then, while jotting down a grocery list on the phone with my Mom, my eight year old sister, B, walked into the room in her jammies.

“B, do you want to go shopping with me and Andy?”
“Okay, go get dressed.”

A moment later, B reenters, wearing old sweats and her jammies shirt.
“B, let’s get you some jeans.”
“I don’t want to go, my throat and tummy hurt.”
“Ok…” Leah assumes here that B just misses her Mom and wants attention. “Well, how about if I get  you a McDonald’s milkshake while we’re out to make your throat feel better?”
“Okay, go get dressed.”

A few minutes later, Leah finds B pulling clothes aimlessly out of her drawers.
“B, did you find some jeans?”
“I don’t want to have to wear jeans!  My tummy hurts!  I don’t want to go.”  B bursts into tears.
“Okay, B, it’s okay honey” Leah gives lots of hugs and kisses. “Why don’t you just stay here, and I’ll have J get you some good things to drink and you can just watch some movies.  Oh, you feel a little warm, hon.  Why don’t you put on some shorts.”

I leave B at home with her brothers on the couch watching some movies, without a second thought.  A few hours later, my Mom arrives home and gives me a call on my cell:

“Leah, B has strep throat.  She had a 102 fever and I’m calling the doctor.”

What?!  I am such a bad sister.  How did I ignore the warmth on her forehead?  She said her throat hurt, why didn’t I call to tell my Mom?  Why didn’t I call the doctor?  Why didn’t I stay home with her?  Why didn’t I get her some tylenol and ice cream?  How could I not know???  And how did my Mom know, after being home for two minutes?

B, who loves me despite the fact that I totally ignored her illness.

My faith in myself as a caretaker was severely shaken.  Severely.  But, undaunted by my recent failures, I proceeded to fail again.

Friday night, Andy approaches me.
“Leah, I feel really sick.”
“Oh, honey, it’s fine.  Why don’t you just get a snack and relax for a while.”

Saturday afternoon, after lunch with friends:
“Leah, I feel really sick.”
“What’s the matter?”
“My stomach hurts and my throat is really sore, and I feel achy all over.”
“Well, maybe you got a little stomach bug.  It’ll be fine.”

Saturday night, while we are attempting to do some very labor-intensive chores around the living room:
“Leah, I feel really sick.”
“Still your stomach?”
“Well, my throat hurts the worst.  I need to sit down, I can’t work anymore.”
“Oh, can’t you just do a little more?  I’m sure it’s just a little stomach bug.  It’ll go away and you’ll feel better.  Why don’t you get a snack?”

Sunday morning, on our way back from church.
“Leah, I feel really sick.”
“Aw, I’m sorry your bug hasn’t gone away yet.”
“It hurts to swallow and I feel really feverish.”

About two hours later:
“Oh my gosh, Andy, you have strep throat!!!”

The worst part is, this is NOT the first time I’ve glossed over Andy’s sickness.  The below was taken only five months ago.

That’s me, blithe and unnoticing his nasty virus, on the right.  I shouldn’t mention that my sister E, on the left, had mono at the time and was also being forced to play Scrabble.  No, I won’t mention that.

Yes, I am going to be such a success as a Mom (and a wife, for that matter).  Cultures are going to be growing in their throats, their poor little heads will be burning up, their little bodies will be so tired and I’ll just offer them snacks repeatedly and tell them it’s fine and try to make them shop and do chores and stay up late.

Is perception to illness in people innate?  Am I just a failure?  Do you eventually learn to recognize signs?  Or have I failed before I even started?!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathy Ayers permalink
    May 24, 2010 6:03 pm

    Leah, you are TOO funny! I love your little story, but it took me many many years as a mom to get it semi-right! Although, if you ask your Dad, he still brings up the time he fell on the skating floor, and I pooh-poohed it, until he went into shock in bed that night….::::::(((((((

    Live and learn!



  2. May 25, 2010 4:03 pm


    Don’t knock yourself too hard. There’s far too much information out there to know about parenting. Every parent in the world is put in a situation where they didn’t know something. Parenting is a learning, growing process like anything else. Shake it off and keep on learning!


    Energetic Healing

  3. Nik permalink
    May 25, 2010 10:15 pm

    This made me smile! I have a better story for you….. And I AM a mom!! Joshua gets headaches when he doesn’t drink enough water. He, like most kids, gets realllllly cranky when he hasn’t had enough sleep. He also has night terrors. Ok, keep those three things in mind. Joshua went to his gparents and played hard, in the heat, all day. The other kids tell me “Josh is throwing a fit, he won’t quit crying and his head hurts”. I *yell* at him and give him water, realize it 8 o’clock and send him to bed. He’s asleep within minutes. I think, see, he was so tired. Ten minutes later he wakes up with *night terrors* and crying and mumbling nonsense. He carries on until I begin to think it’s a spiritual thing and I’m ready to start rebuking demons outta my son. Then he says he thinks he needs to throw up….. I’m pretty sure it’s an exorcisim being preformed here! In the bathroom, I notice his eyes are dialated. … Oh what a GOOD mom, am I! My boy had a concusion!! I send him to bed with water and rebuke demons… All the while his brain is swelling!

  4. Evelyn permalink
    May 26, 2010 10:33 am

    I always thought the same thing! I have so much experience with kids, I’ll be an expert at this mom thing. Until I realized I’ll be a mom *this year* – and now I keep seeing dozens of ways I’ll be a terrible, horrible mother. I’ve decided that while experience with the basics helps, every mom starts out as a newbie – helping with someone else’s kids just isn’t the same as being the real mom yourself. It’s just something everyone has to learn as they go through it! I can think of a lot of ways you’ll be a better mom than I will, so don’t feel bad.

  5. Rachel permalink
    May 26, 2010 12:18 pm

    Yeah, I worry about the same thing! But I think you’ll be a great mom, esp having experience with 5 younger siblings! There is always a learning curve and experience doing it yourself after many, many years will make you realize what’s going on in your children! But, I’ve heard, mom’s have natural instincts too, which would come in handy to start with. So sorry to hear that Andy is sick and was when we saw you!! Hope he feels better 🙂 I always push myself too, when I’m sick!

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