Mommy Fail No. 1 | I'm so sorry, Alice

I have plenty of mommy-fails tallying the last 2 and a half years of my life, but this is the first to get its own post. I am so ashamed and so heart-broken over it and I need to share it so I remember it; so you can hold me accountable from such things in the future; and so that you can learn from my mistakes.

Today during Milo's nap time, Alice was playing quietly in the playroom while I edited photos and caught up on email. In the thick of it, Alice came into the studio and invited me to a tea party in the playroom. I dutifully followed her (to be totally honest - reluctantly) to the soiree she had set up. As soon as I stepped into the room, my very first thought - and hence thing that came out of my mouth - was "Alice! Why did you make such a mess?!!!"

There were toys everywhere. My future self will say "Duh, she's 2. Get over it." But my in-the-moment/clutter-is-the-devil self was furious that she had ignored our 1-toy-at-a-time policy and had littered the floor with train tracks, plastic food, wooden tools, and now, a tea party.  All of a sudden, the pink plate full of plastic treats fell from her hands as she scrambled to pick up train tracks. That's when I realized how much she just wanted to please me. I could have wept. There was my first child, trying to get my attention while the baby was asleep, trying to woo me into playing with her, and all I had done was chastise her for essentially doing what two year olds do best - play, and play with abandon. *Heavy sigh* What a killjoy mama. Alice doesn't need someone to remind her there are toys everywhere. She needs a mama who will turn the computer off and sit and role play with a British accent while pretend sipping the best gosh darn tea I've ever sipped, followed by ravenously pretend-consuming a crumpet and giving excessive, exaggerated compliments in the spirit of good tea-party cheer. She needs me. Present.

I have a lot of learning to do. My poor daughter wanted my attention and my heart and all I could see was the mess that needed to be cleaned so the room could go back to looking "perfect" instead of what we designated it for - playing. I've really got to get my priorities straight, and I'm starting to wonder if a clean house should even be on the list.

God, I'm sorry for ignoring the wonderful little person you've entrusted to me. Thank you, for showing me now and not later. Thank you for grace that hurts. Thank you for getting my attention.

Alice, I'm so sorry. I'm still learning - and failing. Thanks for being patient with me, and thanks for loving me anyway. I can't wait for your next tea party.

xoxo
Mama




p.s. To other mamas: why is it so hard to walk away from house chores or computer tasks to play with your kids? Do you struggle with that? How do you make yourself remember that your children are your joy and job -  not responding to someone on Facebook or cleaning every room? I don't know why it's so hard for me. It can get addictive - compulsory - to make sure I never have a cluttered inbox, or a cluttered life, for that matter. How do you "let it go"? I know in these moments of clarity they are not important, yet I am always chasing after this goal of having every project wrapped up and a perfectly kept home. Would love your thoughts.