What Am I Doing Wrong Here??

There are so many days where, as a mom, I feel completely unequipped. I am often looking around and feeling like I am the ONLY mom fumbling this much and in so much chaos. I am the mom who forgets water bottles at playgroup, who forgets sunscreen at the beach, who forgets to pack lunch for preschool, who forgets the helmet at the skate park. I try very hard to overcompensate for this by being "intentionally organized". I know my weaknesses, and try very hard to plan for things well ahead of time. I set things out, I make lists. I prepack. I mapquest. But then there are some days where even with good planning, I feel like a doofus. Today was one of those days.

My kids and I like to walk a certain bike path that leads to the beach. There is another post where I outline the 47 things I need to prepack in order to make this a successful endeaveor. Lately, Jafta has been wanting to ride his bike on the path instead of sitting in the stroller. Sounded like a win-win to me. So we got him a new bike, and it's great. He's happy. I'm happy. Let's do this every day!!

We set out for this routine today, and I came prepared. The kids were suncreened, I remembered the sand toys and helmet, and I even brought some snacks. But our walk takes a very bad turn about a mile in, when Jafta rides his bike through a HUGE pile of dog poop. There is now dog poop covering his bike. It is caked between every ridge on each wheel, and it's kicking up as he rides, and covering his seat and legs. I am mortified. I try to get it off by running the wheels through the sand, or by hitting it with a rock, but this poop is staying put. We have no choice but to keep going. Maybe it will come off as he rides, I think.

Well, yes, it does come off as he rides. In very small pieces that kick up from the tires and hit both India and I in the face. My walk is now a frogger game where I am trying to avoid being hit by a hailstorm of dog feces. But we carry on, because damnit, we're going to the beach. (And I know the demon-possessed 3-year-old tantrum that would ensue if we turned back now). We arrive at our destination, where I realize I've forgotten the bike lock for Jafta's bike. So I hide his 5-day-old bike in the bushes and hope that the poop will deter any would-be bike thieves.

We head down to the beach and there are tons of little tide pools. Now, I have a strict "stay away from the water" policy on these walks because I don't like being outnumbered by two non-swimmers near the ocean. But the tidepools looks so welcoming, and my kids are so excited, and . . . what's the harm?

So my kids start playing in the tidepools and I suddenly realize they are getting soaked and we have a 2-mile walk back to the car and no change of clothes. Oops. Naartjie clothes may be made of amazing cotton but boy it does not dry well. As we finish and load into the stroller, I realize I need to take the kid's dripping clothes off. So I have a diapered baby in the stroller, who was only sunblocked according to her outfit. Her pasty white stomach and legs are now unprotected. And I have a 3-year-old ready to ride a bike in his underwear. And I think to myself, surely this kind of thing does not happen to other moms.

Fortuntely the bike is still there, unfortunately still covered in poop. Which is now compounded by the fact that Jafta has on wet underwear (only) and about 1/3 cup of sand stuck between his butt cheeks. He is not liking this sensation at all, so halfway down the bike path we have to stop while I take his underwear off and try to remove said sand from his butt crack. By spreading his butt cheeks and wiping with my bare hand. In front of approximately 20 people. I am just wishing for a pressure hose to appear from the skies at this point, to hose off this sand and poop. We have another mile to go.

Jafta gets tired and doesn't want to ride his bike anymore. Starts crying. Loudly. I start yelling. Loudly. "KEEP GOING, JAFTA". He starts falling on purpose, because he doesn't want to keep going. This gets more poop on him. Every time he falls, I chastise him. We are a mess. People are staring. I have two children in their underwear, and I am only thinking about getting back to that car. I practically cattle-prod Jafta for the next mile, with both kids screaming, and seriously wondering. . . . what am I doing wrong? Do other moms have days like this??

The grand finale is realizing that I have to somehow get the poop bike into the back of our SUV to get it home. I seriously think about traumatizing my son further by leaving the bike in the parking lot, but finally decide to suck it up and load the bike in the back. I dry heave the entire ride home, as the smell of fecal matter permeates the car.



  1. Been there a million times, it is lonely when its you. One thing I have chosen to do now, is offer my help to other moms, even ones I don't know when I see they are in distress. At first I was a bit embarrassed being someone they don't know, but then I realized even if they passed up my help, I could give them the comfort of my words. I always say, "I have been there, can I help you." My kids are older now, and I figure it is the least I can do now, but I wish I had done it more when they were little too. Everybody just stares, and sometimes I wonder what is wrong with people, would it be too hard for someone to offer to help. I think I would've offered to look for a bathroom with paper towels and bring them back. Lets face it, with kids, its always unpredictable. Sometimes they are happy as clowns and behaving awesome, and then when you are at a social function, one of them decides to have a complete meltdown. Its truely a roller coaster ride. I did develop one trick over the years that may help you. You are never going to be fully perpared, especially being a busy mom, however, there is one thing you don't want to forget, ever! Take lots of their favorite foods. In meltdowns, I find even a little treat goes a long way with kids. The experts will say don't bribe. And for the most part I don't. But food is my ally, and I pull it out in emergencies. It works everytime. It changes the subject, gives them a moment of comfort, and often prolongs a meltdown. Always take the food and drink, and trust me, you will probabaly be allright till the car. I wish you the best and remember you are not the only mom, it just feels that way.

  2. You have NO idea how much I needed this post this morning! I have been feeling like I am alone in my failings as a mom...this post made me laugh and feel a little more "normal". THANK YOU!

  3. I read this while listening to my seven-year-old scream bloody murder in the basement because I told him to clean up the playroom.

    You are not alone.

  4. oh my goodness. As I was reading this I was laughing so hard, I know it is not funny but I too remember these kinds of situations when my 3 kids were little. They are now all growned up with kids of their own....so 25 years from now you too will remember this day and laugh, and say to yourself how in the heck did I do this???
    Don't be so hard on yourself, you are doing the best you can and kids survive. Enjoy them when they are little. Have a great day !

  5. that made me laugh so hard!!!!!! i've been there, for sure! you gotta love the rawness of motherhood, where your loyalties are honed in and total humiliation is a weekly activity. i'm totally the mom who never brings the snack, water, sunscreen, my daughter is a total seagull and i'm constantly apologizing to all humans nearby. oh, by the way, baby powder in the butt crack works miracles! the sand brushes right off! not that either of us pack it..... but i do leave a bottle in the car. thanks for the laugh!

  6. Here's to looking forward to the future-- when your kids are grown and you will retell this story and laugh (hard and loudly. :)

  7. Cheers to you for sharing! Seriously I think you must been slinking around my house and all our little outings that go CRAZY...I've been there more than enough times. And I'm a very organized person, what I've come to realize is that you can't control family life PERIOD! You can only control your reaction to it all, in the end many of these will be the funny stories you share as your kids grow and they'll laugh with you - at least that's what I hope when I feel like the wheels are falling off the wagon for the hundredth time!

  8. OMG that is so hysterical. ONLY because this is something that would totally happen to me!! I once went to the Ocean of the Pacific Aquarium with a 2 year old wearing her brothers "baby size" diaper because her diaper leaked and got her only pair of pants wet and I forgot to bring HER extra diapers.. yes, thats me. ALWAYS forgetting something... but I'm sure I remember something that wasn't important.
    Thank you for the fond memories of all the things I "screwed" up. SO you are not alone... or we are alone together!! :)

  9. This made me laugh...and feel just a bit better knowing other moms go through this kind of craziness too!!! Kudos to you, I would've called it a day after the dog poop got on the bike!!!

  10. Thank you for sharing this! I am a mom of 3 toddlers and there have been days when I wondered why I was such a failure. It's good to know I'm not the only mom who had those moments or days. Congratulations on your little man coming home!!

  11. hi! this is my first visit to your blog, but not my last. i love hearin other mother's stories of how they get through the day. im a stay at home mome of 1 year old twins and a 3 1/2 year old. life gets so tough sometimes. ive been there, like you, loading a bike into my suv with poop on it. seriously! lol

    keep up the good work!

    and to kristen, i'm so happy youre home safe with your son! blessings!

  12. How come I have not found you sooner....I so needed this today! I am laughing so hard. I just had a morning like this..I was cattle prodding my 2 year old!

    So great to read about another sweet baby from Haiti in a mamas arms...praying now.

  13. I have never laughed so hard at a blog post. Thanks for keepin' it real!

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  15. That's sorta comic in retrospect. Are you laughing yet?

    I can completely relate. I had my daughter stripped down to only pants in the grocery store check-out lane despite my best planning. I swore I was never going to be one of "those mothers". Ha, ha.


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