Thoughts On Being A "Pro" Mom

"Mom's got this," the pediatrician told the nurse, smiling at me confidently. "She's a pro now!" 

I grin, thinking to myself: If you'd seen me just a little bit earlier, I'm not sure you'd be saying that...

For the most part, I'm pretty confident in my ability to take care of five children at one time. I have an 11 year old, 7 year old, 3 year old, 18 month old, and 5 month old. (I also have an older stepdaughter but she wasn't here on this particular day.) Having a new baby is always a challenge but we've adapted pretty well. I've whisked my way through certain ventures out and about, and made it through another sports season. I've started to get a system down that works, for the most part.

However, sometimes things just don't go as planned. A month or two back (yes, I'm just now getting around to writing about it...) I looked at the calendar and saw that one of the kiddos had a well-child checkup. I thought why not make a day of it? We can go to the Children's Museum! The kids have been dying to go there. Then we can get a bite for lunch and round it out with the checkup before we go home. What a fun, super terrific day for myself and my kiddos. (Well, the checkup might not be the highlight of that child's day...but you know what I mean.)

So we headed out that morning and after an initial hiccup - I had parked in the wrong parking lot and had to go move my van before it got towed - we spent a lovely couple hours exploring, playing, and having fun. It was a little busier than we like but it was field trip time and two different classes were there visiting. As we made our way to an exhibit where you can build structures, I got a whiff of something. 

Ah, my littlest had filled her diaper. Never fear though...for I am Super Mom! I am prepared for diaper changes! AND we're at an exhibit that is right next to the convenient!

I tell my oldest the situation and entrust him in keeping an eye on the other three kiddos while I'm in the bathroom, telling them to stay right outside - the bathroom has an open entryway so I can hear and see the very corner of the exhibit. It's also nearing lunchtime so the crowds have lessened.

I grab my stuff and head to the bathroom with baby. I get in and see it is an even bigger mess than I thought - baby has pooped completely up her back. Her outfit is ruined. It's a gazillion wipe job. Luckily, I brought another outfit with me! Wait, where's the diaper?! I was sure I brought it! What to do? I try calling out to the kids but they aren't listening apparently.

I can't leave baby here by herself. But she's also not fully dressed. I can't put the disgusting poop covered clothes back on her. So I wrap her bottom half up in the blanket I brought with me and carry her back out to the stroller. I sit her in the stroller so I can grab the diaper I forgot. Suddenly she begins to pee - all over the seat, the blanket, and the outfit I just put her in. Greaaaat. I grab the diaper and begin searching for another such luck. I only packed one extra outfit. I finally find a onesie that is my toddler son's. She is going to be SWIMMING in it, but it's better than having a completely naked baby. It will have to do. I rush back into the bathroom, quickly get her changed, and dry off the stroller seat as best I can.

Whew. Crisis averted. Super Mom is a bit frazzled but still Super. The kids have had a great time today and...wait...1, 2, 3...I only see three kids. My 3 year old is not here. Where is he? I ask my oldest and a look of panic crosses his face. "I-I don't know! I was watching the baby!" I respond angrily and he gets teary-eyed. I then begin looking around the exhibit, sure he's probably having fun hiding from mommy.

I search the whole exhibit to no avail. Well, there's lots of other exhibits near by...maybe he just saw something on one of them and wandered a bit. I gather the children up and we begin quickly checking the nearby exhibits. I'm starting to panic a bit. I can't see or hear him - and he's a pretty loud little guy. We search the entire first floor, and he is NOWHERE TO BE FOUND

Complete panic mode sets in. I start imagining all of the awful things that could have happened to him - oh dear Lord, what if someone snatched him up?! He's not one to go to strangers but maybe they offered him something! Oh dear Lord...I can't even think...sweat is pouring down my face, I'm shaking, and I start looking for the nearest museum employee. My oldest asks if we should check the upstairs and I think, surely he wouldn't have went upstairs? By himself?!

We rush up the stairs as fast as humanely possible and suddenly I spot him - sitting at the tractor exhibit, happily pretending to drive a tractor. I run over and scoop him up, as he stares confusedly at me. "Don't EVER run off again! You can NOT go off by yourself!" I reiterate over and over and over as he bursts into tears. 

By this time, I know I have been beaten. I tell the children we are leaving. My oldest is still sniffling, my 7 year old starts whining about leaving, and my 3 year old is STILL crying. I get another whiff of something and realize that the toddler has now pooped. Super Mom leaves the museum in defeat with her charges - some of them smelly, most of them crying, and all generally unhappy.

Feeling like the WORST MOM EVER, I hurriedly get my children into the van, change another diaper, and then drive my (now) stinky van through the Chick-Fil-A drive thru. I apologize to my oldest for snapping at him and then mull over my failures as we sit in the parking lot outside the doctor's office, the bigger kids quietly eating while the littler kiddos nap.

And now we're back to the beginning of my story - the pediatrician assuring the nurse that I am a "pro." Ha! What a laugh, am I right?

So what exactly is the point of this long tale, you may ask? I just wanted to illustrate that even if we have a giant disaster of a day, a horrendous #MOMFAIL, or some other kind of failure, it doesn't mean that WE are failures as mothers. 

As mothers we often feel that we must do everything, be everything, take care of everyone, and never do anything wrong. That is a lie. And I think that lie is often perpetuated by seeing everyone's cropped and edited Pinterest-perfection photos on Facebook and other sites. We see everyone's brags & milestones & good stuff, and that's not necessarily bad! I love reading about my friends and family member's accomplishments, their families, and their lives. But those little snippets on our feeds don't always show us the real, the gritty, the dirty, and the not-so-great.

And what about the children? We are supposed to be the perfect mom for them, right? Were mine scarred for life on that fateful trip? When I've asked my children about that day since then, the only thing they've mentioned was the new exhibit they got to see and how they want to go back!

To some, it may seem like I have it all together and that I know exactly what I'm doing. Some days things do go really well. But not every day. I started this blog many moons ago so I could share things and I do my best not to sugar coat them. What you see on here is just a little bit of our good stuff and our not-so-good stuff. All moms have our bad days and times where we make mistakes. We aren't perfect and that's okay because:

"Real moms are never perfect and perfect moms are never real." - Wondermom Wannabe

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