I Suck At Mom

September 22, 2011

C brought home some sort of homemade play-doh from school today.  Green stuff in a baggie with her name on it.  My thought is, oh joy, something to supervise and keep cleaned up.

C: Can I play with it, Mommy?  Can I?

Me: If you follow all directions tonight and clean up and wait for A to go to bed, then yes, you can play with it.

C: YESSSSSSS!  (This is her new thing.  Picture a fist pump going with it, though she hasn’t added that yet.)

So she did.  Cleaned up everything, obeyed all directions, etc.  So after A went to bed, I had to tell her she could play with it, with the caveat that I DID NOT WANT TO SEE A MESS.

Of course, thirty seconds later when I looked over, it was stuck all over the coffee table.  So I did what any mean mom would do, and grabbed it away and pitched it straight in the trash.

Me: OK!  Done with that!

C: (silence)

Me: Here’s a wipe.  Clean up the table.

C: (face breaking, tears rolling)


C: But… I just wanted to play with it, Mommy, I’M SORRY I MADE A MESS!

Me: I don’t care.  Clean up.

C: (big fat tears rolling)

Sean: What happened?

Me: I told her not to make a mess.  She made a mess.  Done with the play-doh.

Sean: Why don’t you have her put it away?

Me: I trashed it.

C: (heart breaking, silently sobbing)

Sean: She’s been talking about that play-doh for two days and how excited she was about making it at school.

Me: (silence)

C: (weeping)

Sean: …. and how excited she was to show it to YOU.

Me: Oh, no.

C: Mommy… I just wanted to keep it.  I’m so sorry I made a mess.

Sean: (nods) Not to make you feel guilty or anything.

Me: (almost crying looking at the little sad face)…. okay. (Get play-doh out of trash, which is fortunately basically an empty bag.)

Sean: Yeah, she was excited.

Me: And now I feel guilty.

C: (crying)

Sean: Didn’t mean to make you feel guilty.

Me: REALLY guilty.  C, I’m sorry I threw away your play-doh.

C: I just wanted to keep it forever.

So I put it back in the bag and gave it to her to make a mess with some other time.  Can hardly wait.  But… yeah, I was harsh.  She didn’t know it was going to stick to the table, and I didn’t know it meant so much to her.  And then I feel bad for not knowing that and apparently being clueless about what she’s excited about at school when Sean knows everything.  And then on the other hand I’m kicking myself for letting myself be broken by her tears.  I’m mean AND a wuss AND don’t pay enough attention to my little girl.

I vaguely hate myself right now.


2 Responses to “I Suck At Mom”

  1. Deb Warren said

    Um…playing devil’s advocate here…but
    if she’d been excited about it for 2 days, maybe Sean could’ve told you about it so you had a head’s up?
    Yeah, there was no way to know that it was gonna stick, but if you’d had a heads up that it was coming you would 1- know there would be a potentially messy something coming, and 2- know there was gonna be a VERY excited C regarding that messy something.
    Might be useful for future situations anyway. We’ve totally been there….a lot. So don’t hate yourself, vaguely or otherwise.
    (also….you can get the recipe from the daycare, and fiddle with it if you want to, to make a less-messy- or at least less- sticky version. When I screwed up with Autumn’s, I actually did colored Rice Krispy treats and she got to make shapes, then eat them. She forgot about the Dreaded Play-Doh Incident, and while I still felt like crap, I made it back to Hero Mom status pretty quick and had fun)
    *hugs* good luck!

    • Eh, it’s not Sean’s job to tell me everything about everything. He wasn’t saying it to give me a guilt trip either, just to fill me in on the background.

      And I don’t have time to do things like make playdoh at home! I was saying this to another friend chatting last night… I’m (a) not craftily inclined and (b) just plain don’t have time or energy. I’ve gotten over feeling guilty about that since they do plenty of that sort of thing at school, but stuff I do with my kids almost has to have a function in order to fit it in… or be completely restful for me (i.e. laying on the couch with them climbing on me). Full-time job, hour each way commute, and three of them to chase.

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