I Messed Up (carrot edition)

Dear Squirt,

Today you ate a ton of carrots for dinner. Vegetables of any variety have not really been your forte up to this point. But tonight you ate the five steamed baby carrots I put on your plate. (I often half-heartedly attempt such things, knowing you kids will undoubtedly refuse it, and I will most likely use this as leverage to get you to eat the rest of your meal) After a few little treats I allowed you for good behavior, you then asked for more carrots! You ate the rest of the bowl!

Because your sister and brother would put up a one hour fuss about the eating of carrots, (actually Little Man ended up weaseling out of it due to lack of time, as bedtime trumps mealtime squabbles) I was sapped of energy and all I could do was lounge on the couch and watch the rest of Four Weddings while playing Candy Crush simultaneously. You were so proud about your accomplishment, but I was too tired to give it its due justice. I am sorry, honey. You deserved so much more praise than I gave you. Tonight, in the hour before I head off to bed myself, I am realizing this. You got the short end of the stick. You just sat on the couch with me watching some unimportant tv show. I should have scooped you up and lavished my time and attention on you. Squirt, I have noticed how hard you have been trying to listen and obey instructions. Yet I always seem to fall short when it comes to letting you know just how proud I am, and how happy it makes me when you scurry off to your room and get dressed for bed in a timely fashion.

Dangit. I am just so sorry, sweetheart. It is painful to admit that I have been too preoccupied in the day-to-day hum-drum to make you feel special. I'm sure I told myself that if I praised you too much about the carrots that it would only further poke at your siblings, who were most certainly not eating their carrots. I am sure Bunny at least would have taken up her fuss a notch to tears. But that shouldn't matter, it shouldn't be the sole deciding factor. (not that I'm saying hurting your sister's feelings a bit is something I am ok with) You deserved a lot more than my feigned enthusiasm from behind the screen of my phone. I apologize for any and all times I have neglected my chance at building you up and focusing on positive behavior. That is a crappy thing to do, especially as a parent. I am just so sorry that you got a very imperfect person as your mother. I want to believe that tomorrow I can pull you aside and give you a little portion of the praise you earned. I want to believe I can take this learning experience filled with deep sorrowful remorse and turn it into a better and more effective way of parenting. However, I am not perfect, and depending on the way the sun rises, I have no idea what kind of mood and/or day I have ahead of me tomorrow.

At some point I hope you can look back on this and know that I loved you dearly. That I did notice you eating all the carrots. That I am so proud of you, I think it might permeate every fiber in my being. That, some days I am just moody and exhausted; And that covers all the joy I have like a thick wet blanket. I hope you can see through all my shortcomings to the genuine love I have for you at my creamy caramel center. Also, by the time you get around to reading this, I hope we have hovercraft technology. Because sheesh, I was promised hovercrafts in "the future."




  1. So beautiful! I'm pretty sure we all have done this exact same thing...over and over. This post made my eyes well up, thinking of all the times I've dismissed victories both large and small, just because I was in a bad mood. Thanks for this post, you've made me want to be better, too. You're a great mom, FYI ;)

  2. Give yourself a break. Yes, you should treasure your kids, but they don't have to be showered with praise every time they eat a carrot. And nobody would want a perfect Mommy, then they would expect themselves to be perfect. I know, I'm not a mom, but I do know you love your kids and I'm sure they know that too.