My mommy ego took a bruising this week when my daughter’s kindergarten teacher summoned me to a conference.
I thought my daughter was sailing through her first year of school, so I was surprised to find out she is way behind in reading. You see, every day she comes home with these little beginner reading books. She turns them in and gets another one. Sometimes we read them right way; sometimes we take a few days. Sometimes we lose a book and don’t get a new one for a week until we finally find it wedged beneath a couch cushion.
Whatever. It’s kindergarten, right? Well, turns out, wrong. Other parents were taking this learning to read thing a lot more seriously, and my daughter was paying for it. She was losing confidence as other students moved on to the next level of books.
As the teacher told me this, I just couldn’t believe my laissez-faire attitude about these books was really putting her that far behind. Then she hit me with the facts: All the other kids were done with the series of 52 books. My daughter is on book 20.
I handed over my Mother of the Year Award and skulked out of the classroom. OK, what I really did was burst into tears. I don’t mean a few welled-up tears; I mean tears-pouring-while-trying-not-to-cry-by-making-an-ugly-face meltdown. The teacher (who is amazing by the way) consoled me and told me my daughter is fully capable of recovering from this setback.
I’m grateful for a teacher who cares enough about my daughter to meet with me. But I couldn’t help feeling like a failure and a little foolish for having no idea.
Once again, life reaffirmed to me that becoming a mother doesn’t mean you have all the answers. It doesn’t even mean you know the right questions to ask.
So after the initial ego blow and mild meltdown in front of her teacher, I reminded myself that ego has no place in motherhood. Who cares if I messed up? Who cares if I feel embarrassed and a little stupid right now?
There will hundreds more times when I feel like the lamest mother on the planet. There is no mothering manual doled out in the maternity wards. (Although, how great that would be?) Like most moms, I am fumbling my way through. And when I mess up, I pick myself up, lick my wounds and refocus on what is important. Today, that’s my 5-year-old daughter who is embarrassed to turn in her book at school.
Tomorrow, something else will humble me. Something else will chip away at the mommy ego I had before I actually knew what it meant to be a mother. And from each flaw and misstep, I will learn and grow alongside my children — and hope they can overlook my shortcomings.
Do you have any moments that deflated your mommy ego? How do you deal with them?