It’s time to normalize the fact that all moms have mom fails.
Let’s face it: mom fails are a part of mom life.
At Jen Bradley|MOMs, we love this quote by Jill Churchill:
“There is no perfect way to be a mother, and a million ways to be a good one.”
Even though we may understand intellectually that perfection as a mom isn’t possible, the reality is that we may not believe it in our hearts as moms.
The 2021 State of Motherhood survey revealed that 68% of moms want more emotional support as moms. We need more empathy and encouragement too.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of spectacularly fabulous mom fails: to help you know that you are NOT alone as a mom! There are tons of moms out there, just like you, who are looking for some support and encouragement too.
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Without further ado, here are some of our most epic mom fails, so keep on reading to check ‘em out!
Funny mom fails from real moms
One day last summer, I’d just gotten a cute new midi skirt. It was the first new piece of clothing I’d bought in ages, and I was so excited to have something stylish and comfortable to wear around the house and out and about. It fit great, so I decided to keep it on while I ran my errands that afternoon. I was feeling so cute and confident for a change!
When I got home from doing all the things, I walked by my bathroom mirror and saw a big flash of white by my bum. I turned around and realized I never removed the tags from the skirt!
Instead, they were flapping around like a big white tail the entire time I was running around getting things done.
Mom brain is definitely real!
I’ve never really loved cooking – instead, it’s always felt like a chore. Even though I don’t love it, I usually manage to get something edible together for dinner.
Years ago, on the first cold weather day of the year, I decided to make potato soup. I got out my grandmother’s original recipe and worked so hard to make it just right.
I have to admit, I was rather proud of myself for making everything from scratch!
When we sat down to eat, I saw my family dig in to their soup, and immediately heard an odd and unexpected crunching sound.
Soup usually isn’t super crunchy, so I sat back, a little confused. Then my husband asked me if I’d remembered to cook the potatoes before adding them to the soup.
“Cook the potatoes?” I asked. That was something I didn’t even think about doing!
No one was very excited about raw potato soup, so we made macaroni and cheese instead!
The other day we had dinner guests over for the first time in a long time. We were all sitting around the dinner table, including all of our kids.
Someone made a comment about how it’s hard for young kids to keep track of what day it is. Some of our kids shared that our youngest daughter, who is 5, asks, “Is it church day?” almost every day of the week.
To which she piped up, in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, “Wait. I know what day is church day. It’s the day I actually take a shower!”
Everyone laughed, but I felt a little humiliated to have our friends think that we don’t bathe our children very often!
Related article: How to Overcome Mom Guilt for Good
Years ago, when our two boys were younger, they were completely caught up in all the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus. Being 5 and 8 years old, they both had very distinct and ardent Christmas wishes.
On Christmas morning, my husband and I had the video camera rolling to capture the moment when the boys opened their special gifts from Santa.
As they opened their gifts, instead of seeing faces full of delight, their brows furrowed and they looked utterly confused. They’d each received the gift that the other one wanted the most.
Feeling my heart sink, I realized I’d put the wrong tag on each gift! After a long holiday season, I must have been more tired than I realized when I wrapped and labeled their gifts late on Christmas Eve night!
Instead of hearing their squeals of delight, my boys heard a long explanation about how even Santa can make mistakes.
Tired homeschool mom fails
I’ve never been great at making myself go to bed at a decent hour. This doesn’t seem like a big thing, but it does mean that many days I’m pretty tired during homeschool!
One time after finishing our read-aloud for the day, I told my kids I was going to put my head down on the desk for just a few minutes.
I woke up 30 minutes later, drool caked to the side of my face, and not a single child in sight! They’d all given up on school for the day and went to play instead!
Another time, after completing some history reading, I said, “Hooray for the agricultural revolution!” And I put my head down on the desk again to take a short 10-minute nap.
This time the kids did stick around at least. Although I failed big time in making history a fun learning experience that day, my kids remember it because they still tease me about how funny it was when I taught them about the agricultural revolution!
Relatable mom fails
Ear piercing disaster
When my daughter turned seven, she really wanted to get her ears pierced. I wanted to make sure she had the safest and cleanest experience possible, so when I learned our local pediatrician had just started offering ear piercing services, I made an appointment ASAP.
Long story short, it was a terrible experience! After having the first ear done, my daughter was so hysterical the doctor and I could hardly get her to calm down enough to have the second ear done.
I felt like I couldn’t walk out of there with her only having one ear pierced, so we kept trying to help her calm down.
Finally, the doctor got the second earring in, but she ended up putting it really off-center.
Within about 3 months of wearing earrings and taking good care of them, I noticed my daughter’s earring hole wasn’t a little round hole, but a long gash, stretching down almost to the tip of her ear lobe.
She stopped wearing earrings immediately, and it’s now been three years that we’ve been waiting for it to heal.
The saddest thing is that she still loves earrings, and will wear one cute earring in her good ear. She says she doesn’t mind, but every time I see her wearing only one earring, I feel so guilty about that terrible experience when she was seven.
I know it wasn’t really my fault, but the guilt still comes.
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Mom fails at the dentist
So many of my most major mom fails have been when I take my kids to the dentist!
Honestly, I think I must be the world’s worst dental mom. Every time we go for a routine checkup, I can feel the anxiety mounting in my heart as I wait for the dentist to check my kids’ teeth and tell me the verdict!
Of my five kids, four of them needed oral sedation for dental work before they were five years old. One of my kids had an abscessed tooth, another needed four crowns in one go, and another has crowns with veneers on her front baby teeth (which we are hoping will last until they fall out!).
There have been multiple occasions where I’ve left the dentist’s office in tears. Not because of what the dentist said or did, but because I felt so bad! It’s so easy to tell myself that I am the cause of my kids needing all of this uncomfortable and expensive dental work.
While I know some dental issues are hereditary, I know there is more I could do to help my kids have better teeth. By the end of the day, I just feel so exhausted and doing a thorough inspection of their teeth usually isn’t high on my list.
Shoe tying lessons needed
Confession: my oldest child did not learn how to tie a shoe until he was almost 10 years old.
In the age of hook and loop everything, and my son’s beloved bright blue Crocs, I always just bought him the shoes he loved – and could put on himself.
Finally, when he joined Boy Scouts and started talking about how hard knot-tying was, I realized he’d never once owned shoes with laces!
First we started out with a shoe-tying method used frequently by occupational therapists.
After that, we moved onto the traditional shoe-tying technique … and he finally mastered it before he was 11!
Honesty at Disney World
When my second son was three years old, we took a trip with my husband’s family to Disney World. My boys loved Star Wars at the time, and were so excited for the chance to take Jedi training lessons.
After waiting in line for ages, we realized that only kids ages 4 and up could participate in the Jedi lessons. My heart sunk for my little guy. He’d had to sit out on a lot already that day while his big brother got to do all the cool stuff.
So I told him that when the line attendant asked how old he was, he needed to say that he was 4 years old. (Yes, I’m ashamed to admit that I told my child to lie!)
When we finally got to the front of the line, the worker asked my boys how old they were. My son looked up at her, then at me, and then back at her, and exclaimed in all his youthful innocence, “I’m three!!”
My heart sank.
He didn’t get to do Jedi training, and I felt like a terrible mother for trying to get him to lie at Disney World. I’m not sure if he remembers his mom’s breach of integrity, and I haven’t ever brought it up because I don’t want to remind him!
Thump in the hotel
On the same trip to Disney World, my daughter was six months old. She was so round and pink and fun. One morning while getting ready to leave the hotel, my husband and I both thought the other was watching our little lady, who was happily rolling around all over the bed.
Sure enough, we heard a big thump and a massive wail – she’d rolled right off the bed! Thankfully she was fine!
But then the very next night, after another long day at Animal Kingdom, I was nursing her in bed. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew, I heard another thump – she’d rolled right off the bed again. Gratefully, she was perfectly fine again!
I still can’t believe the only two times any of my babies fell off of a bed were on back-to-back nights like that at Disney World!
Baby proofing still needed
By the time I had my fifth baby, I thought I was a champion baby-proofer. I knew all the hacks: how to keep drawers shut tight, cleaners up high, dangerous items out of reach, and more.
One day when I was getting ready for church, I was blow-drying my hair in my bathroom when my little lady was playing in my room near my bookshelf. She’d been singing and making a ton of noise moving things around. But when I turned off the hairdryer, I heard only a strange gagging sound.
Somehow she’d gotten ahold of a metal shelf pin, put it in her mouth, and was starting to choke!!
After a few terrifying minutes of trying to give her the Heimlich maneuver and deciding to get her to the hospital, she gave one giant heave and out came the shelf pin – shinier than ever!
I held her and cried harder than I’ve ever cried before, so thankful for her and that she was okay!
Lessons from the Beach (and the CPS Lady)
During one of my husband’s long military deployments, my daughter and I want to stay with a friend in California.
On our first day, we went to the beach.
My friend had 2 energetic boys that my young daughter wanted to follow everywhere. Even up the abandoned lifeguard tower ramp.
I stood at the bottom of the ramp, slowly walking behind her and the hoard of rowdy kids we had attracted.
When she got to the top, I was a few feet behind her. Two bars wrapped around the building, the lower one was about the height of her torso. She used this bar to steady herself while the bigger kids ran by. It all happened so fast, but one of them bumped her. She wobbled a bit, then, as if she were jello, slinked beneath the bottom bar, and turned to lead. I watched helplessly as she dropped 10 feet, hit a metal crossbar, then fell another foot.
It was like a nightmare I couldn’t wake from.
We spent the next 3 days in the hospital.
While accidents happen, this totally crushed my confidence as a mother.
CPS came to check on us in the hospital room, and I was mortified. I thought for sure my daughter was going to be taken away from me.
When the agent asked how I was doing, I started sobbing. I told her that I love my baby so much, and I was only feet away, I was trying to keep her safe, but also let her explore! I ended by telling her that if she thought I wasn’t a good mom, then she needed to help me be better, and if she had to, help find one for my baby.
This sweet CPS woman told me she knew I was doing the best I could, and that I was a brave and strong mother. Her words went straight from her mouth to my heart.
She said that she thought the best way she could help my baby, was to help me. I told her I hadn’t been able to tell my husband what had happened yet, because I RAN straight from the beach to the hospital. I didn’t have a charger, so my phone was dead. And I was still in my bikini, with sand still on my toes!
She got us moved to an observation suite that had a shower, crib, and attentive nurses. She even let me borrow her phone charger!
Long story, but it wraps up well. My baby recovered like a champ, and is now 5!!
The “mom-fail” in this, is that I thought I had to do everything on my own. I didn’t trust anyone else, so I never asked anyone for help. The CPS lady helped me realize that the best way I can care for my girl was not by doing it alone, but by surrounding her and me with people who we care about, who could help care for us.
-From Sherry O.
Lost child – the quintessential mom fail
Years ago, I worked part time as the high school cheerleading coach. Thankfully, the school allowed me to bring my 2-year-old along with me.
It was actually adorable to watch him try to learn all the cheers! We had a small gym all to ourselves, so he’d often go over to one corner with his books and toys or play with the basketballs.
One day though, I looked over to the corner area where he’d been playing as I got things set up for practice… and he was gone!
I couldn’t find him anywhere. School had just gotten out, so the first girls arriving at practice helped me look for him. He wasn’t in the gym closet or immediately outside the gym.
As the awful, panicky feeling set in, my mind started to imagine all the terrible things that could have happened to him.
The cheerleaders and I spread out further, with me frantically yelling his name as loud as I could, not caring one bit about the crazy looks I was getting from the high schoolers passing by.
Finally, as I made my way down toward the track, I saw one little pair of legs mixed in with all the big kids. There was my son, just nonchalantly following a crowd of teenagers!
I ran over to him in total relief, crying, and telling him to never wander away again.
That day I learned two things: never to take my eyes off my toddler and that the love I felt for him was even deeper than I’d known before.
Pin the image below if these stories have helped you feel better about being a mom!
What to remember about your personal mom fails
We’re all human
Sharing your mom fails doesn’t make you a bad mom – it only makes you human!
No matter how hard you try to keep your kids safe, healthy, and happy, opposition and challenges will come from time to time. It’s part of the human experience.
When you put a few other humans that you are responsible for into the picture, there are sure to be more tough experiences to weather together.
But one thing you can constantly teach your kids is that we are all human! In fact, letting your kids see you make mistakes or deal with adversity can be one of the most important life lessons you can teach.
You are loved, no matter what
No matter how many times you feel that you fail as a mom, just remember that your kids DO love you.
When you look in the mirror, you may see all of your shortcomings, insecurities, worries, and failings.
But when your kids look at you, they see a woman who cares for them, who protects them, and who loves them more than all the stars.
Their devotion to you isn’t based on whether or not you are perfect. It’s based on the fact that they are yours and you are theirs.
Why sharing mom fails is important
Finally, we have to offer a giant thank you to all the moms who have contributed and shared their mom fails here!
At Jen Bradley|MOMs, we believe that being vulnerable is the best way to bring real connection.
And if there is anything that can help this motherhood journey feel less lonely or difficult, it is definitely found in connecting with other real moms who are doing their best.
That’s all we need to do after all: forget the goal of being a perfect mom and keep working on the millions of different ways we can each be a good one.
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