The Day I Failed as a Mother

Chris Carter essays

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I had an enough. I was tired and those ever-present vapors of madness radiated from my skin. I launched the attack. 

“You have had the worst week! You better get your act together! Don’t you dare disrespect me! You need to be more responsible! You need to stop whining! Why can’t you…You really messed up!”

And the swords cut, and the battle was one sided, with a fierce blow to my child’s spirit.

He sat silent in the back seat, while I threw out a few more blasts of bullets that pelted his heart and crushed his character.

Puling up to the school, I slowly realized I had the ruins of a war torn boy before me as I turned to face him…

Eyes down. Sunken body. Tearful eyes he was trying to hide. Grasping to get out of this God forsaken air he was forced to breathe in. 

Those vapors of madness had scorned and suffocated the very spirit right out of him.

I grappled with a few fleeting last attempts at salvaging my despicable disdain, with “I love you’s and “I know you can do better’s” as they just echoed of emptiness. I knew I could do nothing to fill the air back with anything worthy of goodness.

I watched him hurry to escape the car and walk into school.

I stared at his little body and gasped at the sickness that boiled in my gut. I begged for this to all be erased from his memory as he started his day. I knew it could not. 

I failed as a mother.

How dare I viciously point out all my kid’s flaws and mistakes and disappointments at the beginning of his day? Who the hell am I to set that sick tone of admonishment and disgust at all of his faults? I wonder how I would feel, if the one person I trusted and loved like no other, attacked all my weak parts as I launched my day. 

I have broken my baby.

How dare I.

We had a rough week. The kid had seriously messed up on various occasions. He can do better. He HAS failed in many ways.

That car ride was NOT the time to pour the poison all over him.

I know better.

Our rides to school are usually full of encouragement and prayer, as I know full well that when you start your day with both—it’s bound to propel good things. I am proud of our daily tradition, which has been going on for years.  My kids soak in all my encouragement and praise and prayers for them as we acknowledge all that is good. 

What happened today?

I am flawed. I am so very, very flawed.

An hour later, I drove back to the school. I couldn’t shake the horrifying idea that my son would have that darkness within him throughout the day. They buzzed me in, and questioned why I needed to go interrupt the class. I confessed that we had had a bad morning. The office allowed it and I walked to the classroom and saw my precious boy sitting studiously with pencil in hand and focused on his teacher teaching.

I caught his eye and waved and smiled. He smiled with that “What are you doing here?” expression and I motioned for him to come out to the hallway.  Of course the class was disrupted and all eyes looked out the window to me, as the teacher then opened the door and so graciously honored my request.

My son walked out of the classroom with the look of embarrassment as he questioned me and seemed to be restless in the moment. I held him and he wiggled away, looking around to see if anyone saw my embrace. Clearly, this wasn’t the time or the place to be reconciling the morning commute but I fought it and made my point of redemption as best I could. He was uncomfortable and anxious to return to class, and I hated myself for adding even more stress to his already broken day. I could only hope that those few encouraging words I was able to get out somehow soothed this morning’s scalding temper. He turned in a hurry to get back to class and I walked away more empty than before.

Perhaps I went back to find resolution within myself. Maybe I decided it was worth the risk of embarrassing my son to show him my love. I desperately wanted to un-break him but my attempt was futile.

Today I question my choices and sit soaked in my mess. I wonder if he is moving on with his day with a new empowered breath or was I just a reminder of what took his breath away.

I don’t know.

I just know that if I didn’t go back and try, I couldn’t live without at least attempting to somehow lift my boy back up from the ground I pushed him on. 

Today I failed as a mother.

I’ll be damn sure that tomorrow’s drop off goes better.

***

About the Author

Chris Carter

Chris Carter is a SAHM of two pretty amazing kids. She has been writing at for almost four years, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration and faith.

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