bad days

The Day of a Thousand Parenting Fails


It’s not even 11 a.m. and already it has been the “Day of A Thousand F*ckups.”

I’m not a naturally organized person, as I’ve mentioned before. Being a mom to five kids, therefore, has been a true test of whether a person can change. And to a certain extent, I have. I now do crazy things like planning out the week’s dinner menus in advance. I make shopping lists before going to the store rather than just purchasing what seems interesting. I even bought a calendar to hang on the wall. I can’t always find a pen, but I’m getting there.

And yet, my disorganized, where-the-hell-is-my-other-sock self is not gone. It is only hidden. And when that self comes out, watch out.

Today is apparently that day.

By the time I left the house to take the kids to school, I had already a) inadvertently let the baby sob because I thought my husband was with her (he was not, hence her sobbing); b) only had time to pump one boob and so was walking around like some sort of lopsided engorged Picasso torso; c) responded apologetically to an email reminding me of the show rehearsal my son has–and will be missing–this afternoon; d) forgotten to get the address of the work holiday party location from my husband; e) responded to a text asking why I’d never responded to a party invitation. I was positive I’d responded.

Let’s take a moment to remember that Angelina Jolie has six kids, seems to have her proverbial sh*t together despite a double-barrelled mastectomy, and still manages to look amazing. I have five kids, have my health, and yet I can barely remember to brush my hair. I just gave the teachers at school their Hanukkah presents. Yes, Hanukkah ended a month ago. I’m aware.

I got home, pumped out my breasts so as to be symmetrical, and bundled up the 1-year-old to take her to her gym class. She was excited as could be. Since the new baby has been born, she is basically under house arrest. This is one of her weekly treats.

Carrying the 25 lb 1-year-old up an epic flight of stairs (have I mentioned that LinkedIn will soon tell me that it is my year anniversary of not going to the gym?), I flung open the door of the class triumphantly. Heads swung around to look at me. I looked down at myself. Boobs were both covered by shirt. I was wearing pants. What were they looking at?

Then I noticed the bubbles. See, at the end of this gym class, the teacher blows bubbles, which the kids respond to like us adults would if someone were tossing $100 bills into the street. “That’s funny,” I thought to myself. “Normally, they blow bubbles at the very end of class, just before it’s time to go home.”

You see where this is going, right?

I forgot what time the class started. Possibly I had confused “start” time with “end” time.

The only thing I could hear over my daughter’s wails of discontent at being bundled BACK into her coat and shoes was the Loud Mom. You know her–she’s been in your class, too. Or you’ve seen her at the bookstore or the supermarket. It’s that woman who must have a hearing problem because she speaks at an INSANELY LOUD VOLUME as though she is trying to broadcast her parenting skills to Mars: “TRICIA! Did you do a SOMERSAULT all by yourSELF??” (No, lady, she outsourced it to India.)

And now, Loud Mom was talking to/about me, under the guise of being friendly to my daughter: “You MISSED CLASS! You came SO LATE! Why did you come SO LATE? We MISSED YOU!!” I gave my most benevolent smile and said nothing, pretending I didn’t speak English or, alternatively, was some sort of saint. You may recall that Jews don’t believe in saints. There’s a reason for that.

We got back in the car, with me talking a mile a minute like someone crazy on cocaine: “Don’t you worry! We are going to have a GREAT TIME! We are going to go somewhere AMAZING!” In doing so, I broke my two cardinal rules of parenting toddlers, which are as follows: a) NEVER mention something that is GOING to happen if it is not going to happen in the next 10 seconds, and b) NEVER talk out of your ass. Somewhere amazing? Um, like where?

The Bank of America ATM, ladies and gentlemen. Yeah, she wasn’t impressed either. And she let everyone know about it. And was the lollipop jar there by the ATM today like it usually is? Take a guess.

Then I get the phone call that a chest of drawers my husband ordered is at my house. As I press down on the gas pedal, I call my husband to ask where it is supposed to go.

“That’s funny,” he said. “Usually they call in advance to tell you they’re coming.”

I hung up the phone and immediately was struck with a vision: the vision of myself, a few days before, answering the phone while pumping my breast and happily writing down on a post-it note that this chest of drawers was going to be delivered this morning. Where was that post-it note?

I called back to fess up. He laughed.

“Maybe you need one of those organizational calendars or something,” he said. “Oh, and while I have you, when you get a chance, can you remember to…”

I don’t remember what else he said, but I’m sure it was important.

If you have some sort of amazing organizational ideas–or alternatively, Alzheimer-combating dietary ideas–please feel free to send them my way.

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Jordana Horn

Jordana Horn is a contributing editor to Kveller. She is a journalist, lawyer, writer, mother of six, travel aficionado, and self-declared karaoke superstar. Before her life got too crazy, she was the New York correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. She has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Forward and Tablet. She has appeared as a 'parenting expert' on NBC's TODAY Show and FOX and Friends. She enjoys writing about herself in the third person and, one far-off day when everyone is in school, hopes to get back to work on her novel.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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