World's Best Worst Mom
By Michelle Sassa on February 18, 2014
Those who know me from afar may have formed the impression that I've got my act together. I shower at least once a week, occasionally show up in an outfit that matches and doesn't include yoga pants, and my reasonably well-behaved kids turn homework in mostly on time, robotically saying please and thank you. I am, after all, a Virgo, the zodiac sign best known for the annoying trait of being perfectionists to a fault. So when I do screw up, people around me are blindsided.
And my most recent faux pas? Boy was this one a doozy.
It all started with the best of intents. "Honey, let's take the kids to Disney!" Sounds like World's Best Mom material, right? But we all know the road to parenting hell is paved with good intentions.
I secretly booked our dream trip back in October and surprised my children with the news on Christmas morning. They woke to find plane tickets tucked into their very own brand new luggage, and I'm sure you can imagine their excitement.
"You're the best!" my oldest cried, hugging me like he'd won the kid lottery when they were giving out parents.
"When do we leave?" his sister asked, and he snatched her plane ticket.
"Look, stupid," he politely informed her, "It says it right here. March 8th!"
"I can't wait for March 8th!" she screamed, echoed by her one brother, then the other.
I tried to make a mental note of the date, because even though I was the one who had planned it all, that was a while ago, and the trip was still far out enough that the only space it really occupied was a calendar entry in my iCal program.
Once the Christmas gifts were all opened and adequately played with, we spent the rest of Winter Break working on the requirements my oldest son needed to earn the last of his Cub Scout badges. In a few months, he would be crossing over to Boy Scouts, a huge accomplishment marked by a big ceremony and awards banquet known as the Blue & Gold.
Much like our trip to Disney, excitement for this event was starting to build.
"Did you buy my new Boy Scout shirt for the Blue & Gold?" the Duke asked me a week later.
Then, "Did you sew on my patches for the Blue & Gold?" a week after that.
A week later, his scout leader asked me to send her any pictures I had of their troop over the years for the slideshow she was making for the banquet, so I spent the weekend scouring my iPhoto library for all the sentimental shots that would elicit Oohs and Awws.
Next I got the Blue & Gold flyer, which I forwarded to my husband, double-checking that he and my daughter would also be attending. In years past, only one of us parents would go because my sons were just young scouts getting a few badges while stuffing their faces with french fries. The real stars of the party were the Webelos II's, the oldest boys, who took part in a dramatic "Crossover" ceremony that seemed to involve candles, a wooden bridge, and guys in Indian headdresses. I'd never paid much attention to this part of the banquet before, because, honestly, I found the whole thing long.
But this was our year. The Duke was now a Webelos II, and his crossover was like the Super Bowl of scouting. Wouldn't miss that ceremony for the world.
Then I looked at the date on the flyer. March 9th. March 9th? Why did that day sound so familiar? I clicked on my iCal and that's when it hit me. We wouldn't be there for the Blue & Gold, because, you guessed it, on March 8th we were heading to Disney.
Worst. Mom. Ever.
Usually, I live and die by my calendar, but somehow the big Scout shindig had never even made it onto iCal. Talk about a huge fuck-up.
Shaking, I broke the news to my ten-year old, who promptly started shaking too. "You're the worst!" he now cried, leaving the room in tears.
So rarely do we as parents get such a clear glimpse of the exact things our children will be blaming us for later in therapy.
And of course the whole trip is non-refundable. It would cost over a thousand dollars just to change the flights. My son eventually calmed down enough to start talking to me again. (He had no choice. How could he procure snacks or a new roll of toilet paper if giving me the silent treatment?) And the fact that his new Boy Scout troop said they would do their own crossover ceremony for him at his first meeting made him feel a bit better.
But I'm just as bummed if not more so. I won't get to see that slideshow of my boy and his scout mates over the years, from the time they were tiny first grade Cubs who could barely tie their own shoelaces to the moment they learned to pitch a tent and tie their first square knot. I won't get to tear up with the other parents, sigh, and wonder where the time has gone.
So with the determination of a perfectionist Virgo vowing to make sure nothing like this happens again, I went to town on my calendar, entering every known commitment my kids have from now 'til Memorial Day. And that's when the second fucking shoe dropped.
March 13th is the day my daughter's Brownie Troop is having their International Dinner. Yup, that's the very same week we are so awesomely taking our kids to Disney. The International Dinner is the Super Bowl of Girl Scouts, a night they work towards all year, making costumes, learning dances and cooking food. My little Bean took the news that she'd be missing all this only slightly better than her bro did. Reminding her about the Disney Bucks Grandma had given her to spend on anything she wanted helped soften the blow.
By no means do my kids think I'm perfect, but maybe I need to lower their expectations and mess up more so mishaps like this don't leave them so shell-shocked. That way, they'll learn to deal with adversity, pick themselves back up and move on. Isn't that one of the world's best things we as parents can teach them?
The kicker of it all is, we could have planned to go away any day in March. It's the one dead month that's not quite winter and not yet spring where there are no ski trips, no organized sports, no communions and not a commitment (or so I thought) in sight. The only reason I'd chosen the week of March 8th was because their school is closed that Friday for a teacher's workshop, and I figured it would be better if they only miss four days of class instead of five.
But now we've used up all our snow days, and I'll bet my firstborn the district will decide to have school that day after all. It's just Murphy's Law.
How the hell do people plan trips a year in advance?
I can only hope my status as World's Worst Mom gets reversed once we're finally in the happiest place on earth. If it rains at all that week while we're cavorting with Mickey Mouse, I'm gonna rip that rodent's ears right off and shove them down his happy throat.
How about you? Done anything lately to screw up your kids? Tell me in the comments.
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