I Let Her Down

I Let Her Down, And I Didn’t Even Know!

Today I am tired. I am tired because I couldn’t sleep last night. The reason I couldn’t sleep last night was because I had a huge case of Mom Guilt! Mom guilt brought on by the fact that I let her down. I let my daughter down, and I didn’t even know it! How Did That Happen?

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, but it was also Wednesday for me. Wednesday is a crazy day in my weekly schedule. You can see what I mean by reading about a typical Wednesday in my life from when I was feature by my friend and fellow mom blogger, the hysterical Nadia from Non Adventures Of A SAHM! It’s hectic.

We didn’t have time to go home from school for lunch. Instead we ate lunch in the car park waiting for Art Club to start. Then I had to race my youngest across town to her dancing lessons, and get back again to fetch the eldest. It was 16.30 by the time we got home. I got busy making dinner, checking homework books, cleaning out lunch boxes, feeding the cats etc. Normal mom chores.

My eldest kept coming to me, asking for a box, then a ribbon, then how do you spell this, and where are her stickers. The persistent requests for this and that were becoming quite irritating, and I was irritated. I kept asking her, “Why do you want that? What’s it for?”, but she didn’t answer me. She just kept running off to finish whatever it was she was working on. I was busy so I left her to it.

Eventually it was bedtime and I noticed the box she’d made and shoved under her bed. I didn’t think anything of it and just left it there to deal with in the morning when I cleaned the house.

The Gut Punch

Then at 09.30pm I checked back over the Whatsapp messages that the teacher had sent out. I’d had a cursory glance at them in between running from dancing to art club. When I saw that it was nothing important, just a few pictures of the class valentine’s activities, I had ignored it until I could spare the time to look at it.

That time came around at 09.30pm, and in that moment I realised what had been going on all afternoon. One of the pictures the teacher sent out was of the gifts that some of the children had given to her for Valentine’s Day. One of the gifts was a handmade box of ‘stuff’ from one of the kids.

I actually felt sick. Not only had I not organised a Valentine’s gift for her to give her teacher when more than half the class had, but I had also not helped her when she was trying to make it up to her teacher … on her own. I had let her down, and I hadn’t even realised it! Why didn’t she tell me? How did I not know?

“In My Defence …”

I do have one, however lame it is!

Firstly, I didn’t know that kids give teachers gifts on Valentine’s day. It’s been thirty years since I was in Grade One! I forgot that this is the sort of thing that kids do – take their teachers gifts! Most of the kids who did take gifts had older siblings so this is something they/their parents know about, but I didn’t.

Secondly, if she had told me that she didn’t have a gift for her teacher when some of the other kids did then I would have helped her make something that afternoon. I would not have ignored her requests, or pushed them aside. I would have prioritised it as important to her.

But I didn’t know.

My Apology To Her

This morning I apologised to her for not helping her with her gift for her teacher. I told her that she needs to tell me what she’s doing and why she’s doing it, because if she doesn’t tell me then I won’t know. If I don’t know then I can’t help her.

Luckily my husband had bought me a box of chocolates for Valentines day and luckily, I hadn’t scoffed them all the night before. (I’d scoffed the ones I bought him instead! Shhh…)

I told her that she could give them to her teacher as a gift and I helped her to wrap the box. She was happy with that and excited to give it to her teacher. I also apologised to her teacher and gave her the head’s up on what had happened.

I also apologised to my daughter for the fact that I didn’t know in advance. I explained to her that it is also MY first time as a Grade One mom, and I’m also just learning these things so she needs to help me as much as I can help her. We’re a team.

Grade One Is Hard

Having spoken to a few other moms this week, I suppose I can cut myself a little slack because we’re all struggling to adjust to the new demands, routine and needs of our kids. It’s not just me, and it’s not just my daughter. The kids are struggling, and a few of them are acting out at home. The parents are also struggling, and I am not the only one who has ‘dropped the ball’.  None of us are perfect. None!

I guess to put it into perspective, it was just an optional gift for the teacher. It’s not even about the gift, and she’s not the only one who didn’t give one. And I’m not the only mom who didn’t know, the only one who let their child down, dropped the ball.

The point is that I know my child and I know how she must have felt inside. I hope that today is a better day for her, and it’s certainly a lesson learnt for me.

Mom Lessons

Isn’t that what motherhood is about though? The fact that no matter what stage we’re at in our mothering journey, we are constantly learning!

My question to any other Grade One moms reading this, “How are YOU coping? How is your child coping?”

It’s tough out there. Stay strong mammas, we’ll get through this eventually. This isn’t the first time I’ve let her down, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

No matter how hard we try, none of us are perfect. What makes us good moms is that we never stop trying.

Happy New Mum

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  1. Im always feeling like that. If i did enough 2 help her. Her future is in my hands…sometimes mommy gets tired also,but we wake up 2morrow and try again. And i always hope that what i do i do for her…nut always afraid that my efforts werent enough xxx

  2. I hear you. also my first time with grade one, i knew it would be a major change but was not prepared for how hard it would be on all of us. has reduced us all to tears a few times and it’s only February.

  3. I also didn’t give my daughter’s teacher a Valentine’s gift yesterday. Luckily my daughter didn’t say anything. Grade 1 is tough, doing homework isn’t easy and being a working mom I don’t have a lot of time in the evenings. But we’re getting there slowly but surely.

  4. Just to let you know – it happens to the best of us and don’t beat yourself up. I know that feeling of guilt but we have to juggle so many things and we can’t get to everything and give attention to everything – I mean our kids think we super but we really just normal human beings trying to make this parenting thing work. I’m sure that you explained the situation to your daughter and she doesn’t love you any less for slipping up. On the point of giving teachers gifts for Valentine’s Day. What the heck? A cheek mind you. Was a precedent set previous years and now there is an expectation? I can still understand a birthday or Christmas gift but that’s where I draw the line.

    1. Author

      I think it was mainly the kids who have older siblings and those whose parents are teachers. I don’t know how it started.
      Thanks though. We are just trying to get through each week as best we can.

  5. So glad I read this. Alex sounds a lot like Jade and I know she will be upset if others gave her teacher a gift and she didn’t. I need to remember to get something for her teacher once she starts school. Though to be honest I think it’s really one sided that teachers get gifts for some random reasons like ‘last day of term’ (there’s 4 of those dammit!). Last year I gave her teacher a gift at the end of the year as a Thank You gift but I didn’t do end of term or birthday gifts because A) my kid doesn’t get given random gifts and I already pay a shitload for school fees and B) I don’t have a B but I feel like A is sufficient ?
    I know mom guilt is a killer but I think you should be proud of your little girl for showing so much initiative. She’s growing into an independent little girl and you can give yourself a pat on the back because that’s largely due to you. ?

  6. Shame! I I also grabbed a Christmas present that was still hanging around for somebody else for my daughter to give to her teacher. It was last minute with Christmas wrapping and no card ?
    I also felt guilty today because my daughter told me that all the other kids got Valentine’s from their parents, but she did not get anything ?
    I also did not know that this is a thing?

  7. I read this and felt tearful for you both and then a little for myself this grade one year has been a struggle and I almost feel broken.
    Like you said we just keep trying and doing the best and I believe that if they see you and hear you doing their best and having the open communication you do it will work out. It has to.

  8. You’re right! Grade one is hard for all of us.. Kids and moms alike… Having been through it twice trust me it does get easier and perhaps we need to to be a little softer with ourselves ? lots of love and hugs to you ?

  9. Aw its so hard when we feel like we have let our kids down but you made it up to her in a great way! I would have done exactly the same as you if its any consolation! I had no clue kids gave teachers valentines presents!

  10. I also didn’t know kids give teachers valentines. My kid is grade 00. I just om valentines on social media. Mental note made – but I’m terrible at these things. So good that you could apology’s and fix it.

  11. This post really hit home today. We do get busy, caught up in the other important stuff. We human, but it’s like I said in the post the other day “do I do enough?” There’s just so much happening all the time and at night when we lie in bed we realize small things and start with the mom guilt.

    I’ll try tell u things about grade 1, but those things are now second nature so let’s hope I’ll rememher grade 1 the first time. All I know is it’s hectic and I told you that. You have no idea until you walk into it.

    Next on your list – find out when is her birthday asap and if she has an Assistent in the class find out what’s her birthday as well. Those are big present days- and flowers are always a winner.

    ❤️ Lovely post xxx

  12. We all make mistakes, we all drop balls. We’re definitely not perfect, and that’s okay! You’re doing the best you can and doing a damn fine job Carly! We made the teachers gifts but we were one of the only ones, so it’s definitely not mandatory. Hugs Mama xxx

    1. Author

      I know it’s not mandatory, and honestly, given a choice I wouldn’t have sent one as it sets a precedent and it’s only February. But it was that feeling that she felt she couldn’t contribute. Anyway, it’s behind us now.

  13. Love this. I thought grade 1 was tough but grade 3 is kicking my butt. And it’s only February. So many balls to juggle….but such is life and soon we find our groove and “new” normal. The first term is always the most stressful as everyone, kids and parents, are adapting. Hugs. And you will get through this. Good on you for making things right with your daughter. Parenting is my hardest job ever!

  14. Mom guilt sucks!!! I’m trying to change my perspective around it lately: accept that I failed, but remember that I’m human, and I mess up sometimes, and I can’t beat myself over it constantly. So I take my lesson from it, learn and make an effort to move on.

    Otherwise, it just keeps eating you up inside! x

  15. Carly I’m so busy at work (just for now…soon my busyness will be over..yay), that I keep meaning to come and binge read your posts and I forget…. SO I’m grateful to #LekkerLinky for ‘making’ me take the time to read this post.

    My heart broke for your daughter…and for you, because I know how you both must have felt. I Have many many times forgotten things like this. I have been having the worst mom guilt, because we are spinning with 3 kids at school now. I forgot my 2yr old had a music demo class and all the parents were there, except one of Adam’s parent’s. We forgot. When he class pics came through, he was sitting alone like an orphan 🙁

    Also my daughter wanted to register for art. There were only 36 spots….I registered 3 days after spots opened…and of course there were no spots left 🙁 All her friends got spots. i’m just that mom, but it’s not an excuse. I’m trying to do better….. I feel like crying now. We’re so hard on ourselves……

    Glad your daughter ended up getting a gift to the teacher. Don’t stress…I didn’t bother sending any teacher a gift this year. Times 3? Hell no…mama ain’t got the time or money for that. lol.

    Your posts always hit home for me….and I end up typing novels in the comments. Sorry!!!

    1. Author

      Oh no! This is one of those instances where I can’t say “I’m glad it’s not just me” because at the end of the day no mother wants to let her kids down, or hear about how other moms are also struggling – we don’t want to struggle, juggle or drop balls. We are doing our utmost best all the time, but we can’t get it right all the time. It’s impossible. You are so right – we are so hard on ourselves! I think that’s a blog post right there! And thank you for your kind comments. The posts that do the best are always the ones where I pour my heart out and it seems to touch so many moms out there.

  16. It honestly wrecks my head this constant need to bring presents to the teachers. I know that they do an awesome job but they do also get paid for it. Whereas mum’s don’t! I would not have felt guilty about not sending in a present (maybe just a card) but I do feel your pain about not engaging with your little girl. On the up side, she was very resourceful and kept trying so a little ‘healthy neglect’ can be a good thing at times! #HappyNewMum

  17. Oh dear, I know that feeling all to well. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you sound like an amazing Mom and juggling so many different roles and trying to keep on top of things is never easy. You handled the hurt beautifully and showed your little one what is means to be human and that you’re sorry. That’s a wonderful life lesson for her


  18. This is my child to the tee. The planning on her own, and doing things in secret. It absolutely kills me, because most of the time its the sweetest thing right from the bottom of her heart. You are a great mom, and it was your first time, this is how we learn! Love this post!

  19. Oh I had no idea that kids give valentines presents to their teacher! That either means it’s not a “thing” at our school… or I’ve been a terrible mum for the last 3 years…! Eek!

    Try not to be too hard on yourself.

    Someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush

  20. Don’t be so hard on yourself Mama. We all make mistakes. Thank you for sharing so openly with us. Reminds us all that we are not alone on this journey. Sometimes we hit it out the park, other times we hit and miss. But we love fiercely and we always try our best.

    Side note: I also had no idea that kids give valentines gifts to teachers. We choose not to celebrate valentines day this year but of so much stuff going on but when i dropped my bean off at school i was surprised to see so many kids with gifts.

    Love following your blog x

  21. You totally aren’t to blame for this. Thank you for sharing so candidly about this though, helping other Mums know they’re not alone and we all make mistakes. Thanks for linking up to #HappyNewMum

  22. Oh bless you, I’m sure your daughter s fine and maybe she’ll know to ask you next time. It’s a lesson in speaking up if nothing else!
    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the #BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂

  23. I am hard on myself too, regarding my child. One thing I have learnt that it is more important not to be. Sometimes mommy makes a mistake, it happens to everyone. As long as she knows I love her, it will be alright. #lekkerlinky

  24. What a great post, honest and raw. We have a ll been there. And sharing with your daughter how you messed things up, will make her know and understand that no one is perfect, and it is okay. Brilliant. Chocolates all around! #happynewmum xoxo

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