Mamas Have Off Days, Too.

Growing up, I would always do my best to be “on” whenever I had a test at school. I wanted to be at my best so that I could nail that exam, so I would wake up a little earlier, take a little longer on my make-up, wear one of my favorite outfits to school, eat a well-balanced breakfast, and try to be extra nice to everyone, just to get karma on my side. Now, as a Mama, I find that I’m trying to be “on” in the same way, but this time, it’s for L’s sake – I just want to be at my best for him each and every day.

That’s why days like yesterday are so difficult for me – yesterday was a Mama “off” day, and I’m still upset about it.

Here’s the abbreviated version of our day yesterday: I had a rather tedious and lengthy assignment to work on for my Shakespeare course, and I spent four to five hours of time working on this assignment yesterday with little to no breaks. Before I started the project, I went to the library to pick up a few resources. I fed L before I left, and I readied a bottle of breast milk for Jord to feed the baby, just in case he got hungry while I was gone. When I came back home from the library, L was awake and was content spending time with his Daddy, so I dove right in to my assignment and started working.

Polar-Bear-Outfit

When L eventually grew fussy, Jord attempted to calm him, like good daddies do. But L needed something that he couldn’t provide – he needed his Mama. Jord realized this, and he asked me to take L. Here’s where my “off” day began: I was so focused on my assignment that I didn’t even stop to think about why L was crying, or that L was crying out for me, so I asked Jord to keep trying to soothe him so that I could keep working on my assignment. Of course, my dear husband tried his best to meet L’s needs, but Jord eventually grew a bit upset because he couldn’t fix L’s frustrations. As time wore on, L grew more upset as well – he wasn’t getting what he needed. Finally, in a moment that I am not proud of, I snapped at Jord to hand our son to me, and I stopped working on my assignment to hold L for a few minutes until he was calm.

Writing about our day now, with a night’s sleep of space from the situation, my actions don’t seem horrible, especially since I realize that every parent makes mistakes – every parent has off days. But I assure you, for this new Mama, I beat myself up over and over for this mistake for the rest of the day. Not realizing that L needed me, his Mama, just for quick snuggle (!!) made me feel like I failed him, like I prioritized a stupid (in the grand scheme of things) homework assignment above my child’s needs. I am his Mama – meeting his needs should be my chief priority! Nothing is more important to me than my son!

Once I realized the error of my ways, for the rest of our Saturday, I apologized countless times to my husband and to my son. I tried to give L extra cuddles and snuggles, and I told him again and again how long I wished for him, how much I love him, and how sorry I was for not understanding his need for me, his Mama. I haven’t been so angry at myself in a while, and I just wouldn’t, couldn’t let myself off the hook for letting down my son. Hello, Mama Guilt.

Lionel-Crib

But as I sit here writing to you all today, with my dear boy cuddled up to me, fast asleep, his little fingers moving every so often to grip my sweater a little tighter, I am grateful for the opportunity that a new day brings. Because for us mamas, off days never feel good – they never go down easily – but what makes us good mamas is that we keep trying, always, to be the best for our children. For me, especially after an off day like yesterday, I feel so grateful for the opportunity to work hard, each and every day, to be the best Mama that I can be to L.

About Sara

Sara works in higher education, but she's most proud of her role as a Mama to two precocious boys, Lionel Conner, age 4, and Quincy August, age 2. In honor of turning 30 in 2016, she pierced her nose to "keep her young." She loves watching guilty-pleasure television, writing about motherhood, decorating her first home, sipping red wine with her husband Jordan, and chasing after her sons.

One Response to Mamas Have Off Days, Too.


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