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How to handle those #MomFail moments
Every mother feels like a failure at some point, but the trick is to realize our children don't dwell on our mistakes nearly as much as we do. - photo by Erin Stewart
I recently had one of those moments of motherhood that can only be described as an epic mom fail.

It happened last week on a sunny afternoon when I was teaching my 5-year-old daughter how to ride her brand-new "Frozen"-themed scooter. She was decked out in her "Frozen" sneakers and her insanely bright, rainbow unicorn helmet. I had on a skirt and flip-flops, but decided I would just quickly show her how to get started on the scooter.

Watch and learn, kid.

Five seconds later, I am flying head-first over the handlebars onto the sidewalk. This was not a graceful tumble. Oh no. This was a full-body lurch through the air with my arms flailing wildly before I sprawled out on the sidewalk with my skirt around my waist and the echo of my shrill scream still hanging in the air. Blood streamed down my leg as my children and I both realized the skin on my knee had been scraped off almost completely.

I wiped up the blood and hobbled into the house as my 5-year-od declared, I dont ever want to ride that scooter. Ever.

As I looked from her to my skinned knee to the abandoned scooter on the sidewalk, the only thing I could think was #momfail. This is the label moms use on social media to declare their moments of idiocy, failure or embarrassment as they navigate through the wilds of motherhood. We all have these moments where we just think, I should definitely not be allowed to have children.

Its now been over a week since my ridiculous display of inexplicable klutziness and inability to ride a childs toy on a flat sidewalk. My daughter still has not attempted to ride her new toy. It probably also didnt help that my skinned knee got infected and I ended up at the urgent care and on antibiotics. My mom fail was turning into a disaster.

All week I was beating myself up. I have scarred my child so badly she will not even enjoy the toy she wanted for months. I felt horrible and I didnt know how to make things right.

So recently I asked her, Honey, are you not riding the scooter because I fell?

She took a deep breath and put her hand on my mine with a somber look in her eyes.

Mom, I do want to ride it, but I dont want to make you feel bad. Im really good at it. You were really bad.

I couldnt help but laugh at her earnest concern for my ego, which is, in fact, largely based on my "Frozen" scootering skills. But her response also made me laugh at myself. I had been hating myself all week for destroying this pivotal childhood moment for my daughter.

Like so many times since becoming a mother, I was judging myself over something that my kids didnt even care about or notice. I was piling on mommy guilt for no reason and mentally filing yet another shortcoming under #momfail.

But guess what? My children dont keep a Twitter account of #momfails. I am the only one keeping that hurtful file. Sometimes I think Id be a much more confident mom if I could just see myself the way my children do.

Scootering skills aside, they think Im about the best mom in the world. I have several Mothers Day cards that prove it.

The point is, we all fail sometimes, whether its a scooter crash or that one day I completely forgot to feed my kids dinner (oh, dont act like youve never done it). Whatever the mistake, we feel like we are simply not good enough. We will wonder how in the world we were allowed to leave the hospital with these children. We will look at some supermoms blog and secretly loathe ourselves because we dont make themed bento box lunches. We will inevitably feel like we are not good enough and that we are failing at motherhood.

But this whole scootering incident reminded me once again that even in those dark, lonely moments when we fear we have failed our children miserably, they still love us and know we are doing our best. We arent failures just because we arent perfect. We simply cant fail as moms as long as we are loving our kids wholeheartedly and learning from our mistakes.

And thats the most important part of any #momfail, anyway. We try again tomorrow. We recommit. We get up off the sidewalk, brush ourselves off and hobble onward like nothing happened.

So, no, I will not be competing in the X Games anytime soon. But you can bet Ill be hitting the sidewalks with my daughter (once I can walk without a limp), showing her that one fall or fail doesnt make me a failure. It makes me human.

And it makes me an even better mother tomorrow than I am today.
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