Monday Dare: guilt trips? i run the travel agency.

Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Try, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made before The Project started and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please, feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”

This week: Learn to forgive myself.

Since Chhichi came into our family last week, I’ve experienced a deeper love and a greater sense of peace. I used to look at Cal and wonder how I could love anyone as much as my amazing daughter, but now, I know that the heart has enough love for two.

Wait, are you still with me? Did I just compare buying a doll to birthing a second child? Did experiencing a hiccup in my Project psychically shatter me?

I’m feeling a lot of guilt.

I haven’t felt this much guilt since I took Cal for her one week check-up. The doctor gave Cal a thumbs up for her health, and he gave me a pat on the back for being such an amazing mother. I mean, I had managed to keep her intact for a whole week. As I left the office, I broke into a huge grin and decided to treat myself to a milkshake as a reward for my awesomeness. Parenting was a cinch. When I got to the car, I realized that something was missing. I patted my pockets down for my keys. I checked to make sure I had my purse and my baby bag. What was it?

I forgot my baby, yo.

I set Cal’s carrier down to make her next appointment, and I forgot to pick her back up. Good thing I remembered my keys. Lordy, I hate it when people are irresponsible and leave their keys all over the place.

I felt like a failure. Even now, I think about that incident. Thankfully, I am not agile enough to kick myself in the ass, but don’t think I haven’t tried.

I’ve decided not to return Chhichi. I feel a deep sense of guilt that I goofed, but I’m pushing forward.

Thanks for all of your kind words, compassion and support. Y’all are a bunch of enablers. Bless you.

Have you ever left your keys, er, baby anywhere? At the very least, someone’s got to have picked up the wrong kid from daycare. Or forgotten to pick up their kid at all? This actually happens to other moms, right? Right?!

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  • Debora

    Dude. I once got home from a conference with my daughter’s preschool teacher (where we were discussing her antisocial classroom behavior) and went to remove my infant son from his carseat…only to realize that I had left him sleeping peacefully in his stroller right outside the preschool door. EPIC DOUBLE PARENTING FAIL. Yeah, it can only go up from there.

  • Khali

    While I’ve never lost a child, I do lose my keys on a regular basis. I also don’t have said child to lose. Some mysteries solve themselves.


    You’re a terrible person.

    Just kidding. I’ve left Adrian a lot of places.


  • Miranda Kaye

    haha i love the “You’re a bunch of enablers, thank you.” Man alive. It’s ok, dont kick yourself, or your baby, in that fact dont leave her anywhere again :) lol.

  • Corrine

    You are not the first person that has called me an enabler…truthfully I kind of like the title, so thanks. And I have been called so much worse anyway. :)

    I don’t think I ever left my kid behind that I recall (but really I could be blocking it out) however he often nominates me for that special award of Mother of the Year…usually it is after I have destroyed his life in some way.

    Please don’t feel guilty…I mean if you had gone the whole year and done your project perfectly then I probably wouldn’t want to be friends anymore…I really don’t like perfect people. Then where would I go for cheap internet entertainment that makes me lol…for real??!!

  • RollerScrapper

    Since I don’t have any kids, the most major thing I have forgotten is the sunscreen. No biggie,i just buy more. When I moved I decided to organize, I found at least 15 tubes and then forgot my moisturizer so I bought more and my husband asked me in an accusing tone, “did you just buy MORE sunscreen?” I blubbered, “but this is moisturizer with spf, totally different!” And of course I will put it with its 5 or 6 moisturizers that I have in the cabinet :)

  • Jennifer Clark

    I’ve never forgotten a baby, but I have totally forgotten to pick up a kid or two after activities. However, my mother-in-law tells a story about a time right after my husband was born. My in-law’s decided to to go get ice cream and actually had their coats on and were heading out the door when someone said, “Wait….”

  • Staci

    Totally not my fault. I was working 8-6pm 4 days a week so that I could have Fridays off to pick up my son and prove that he really did have a mom.
    My now estranged sister took him home the other days. She left work early one day and forgot him. (Did I mention that she was his classroom teacher assistant??) He was sooo mad at me and let me know over and over again that I left him. Thanks goodness I got a job at his school the following year.

  • Karen 6th Sister

    I’ve never left a baby, haven’t got one to leave. BUT, when my husband and I were first starting out, I used to take our grocery money out for the week and put it in this special little purse. Which I accidentally left in a grocery bag, with nearly all the money for food for the week in it. By the time I realized it, the dumpster had been emptied…I was prepared to search the garbage truck for my tiny purse of money but the trash guys wouldn’t let me. Something about a crusher, and me getting smushed or something. Scum! Ramen Week was born.

  • areyoukiddingme

    I have forgotten to buckle my daughter into the carseat. I also couldn’t get the carseat base secured properly, and so my daughter was sliding around the back seat of my car for a little while. Fortunately, my brother-in-law showed me the trick so she didn’t have to slide around the backseat for the 5 hour drive home.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    Debora- shhh, he was sleeping. none the wiser. see? it, never happened.

    Khali- welcome! tidy solution to such a complicated problem. awesome.

    Noa- Let’s leave him at a male strip club when I come to Dallas, I say.

    Miranda- it’s getting harder and harder to leave her anywhere. she can walk and insists on following me around. who is this kid?

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    corrine- no, thank YOU for enabling me. yes, you SHOULD feel a special pride in that. that’s why i like that. never forget that. also, i’ve been called cheap before, but the way you do it makes me feel special and good about myself.

    roller- 72 sunscreens is a lot cheaper than skin cancer, mister (that’s for your husband, by the way)

    Jennifer- not picking up kids here and there is bound to happen. i mean, like, this parenting thing is supposed to be a daily thing, and sometimes….well, sometimes, it’s just not a good day for that, knowwhatimean?

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    staci- and that’s how she became estranged? i sense some juicy stuff here.

    sister-seriously, who cares about a smushed body part or two when there is money involved. i’ve risked far more for far less. those guys, sheesh. also, ramen week is awesome.

    areyoukiddingme- an improperly fastened car seat is like a free ticket to a ride at an amusement park, i say. all bouncy at no cost! seriously though, those car seats need a special degree to assemble correctly. thank god for wonderful friends and family who are there to guide us.

  • Amanda

    I’ve never “left” one of my boys somewhere, but I have locked one kid in the house and myself and the other kid out of the house. The kid in the house was strapped in his carseat and precariously perched on the counter while multiple cats and dogs roamed the house. My cell phone was also locked in the house. I was finally able to flag down a guy driving down my road and used his cell phone. The husband came home from work to open the door for me. The kid in the house slept through the whole thing. And do I remember which kid was which? Yes, because I had the heavy kid on my hip while I was a crazy woman knocking on my neighbors doors and walking up and down the street. There are times when I probably shouldn’t be let out of the house.

  • Staci

    Nah! DS is 16 now. That happened when he was 6. She’s the when you see crazy coming, cross the street that I speak of.

  • Elle Case

    A year ago, almost to the date, I dropped the kids off at the library & went to run a few errands — dull ones, yk, Stap[les, the Rite-Aid, the bank. I finished up & realized I could not remember at which branch I’d left them. I mean, I figured it out after I applied myself, like reconstructing a blackout, but I didn’t *know* where I’d left my children. But at their ages, it mostly felt liberating, not scandalous.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    amanda- this is, like, the best case scenario ever for “leaving a child” somewhere. let’s just say you went out for a walk with one of your babies and decided to talk to a few neighbors and make a new friend and use their phone and you missed your husband so badly that he had to come home early.

    staci- *gasp* it comes full circle…when i first met you, you taught me to walk away from crazy and now I UNDERSTAND the significance. wow, it’s like we just hit up the bar together and i learned something new about you. love it, lady.

    Elle- children have legs. give them a few pieces of bread next time. that way, if you can’t find them, they can just follow the trail home.

  • TheBabyMammaChronicles

    Oh no! At least you realized before you got far! I haven’t left Kaia anywhere but I suck in other ways.

  • Kristyn

    You’ll love this one: Erin that u and I know, who just had Cooper, went to Target the other day and bought a shitload of stuff, went outside, put Cooper in the car, got home, and realized all the effing bags were still in the cart in the Target parking lot!! Hehe!

  • Karen

    One day my kids had a half day at school. Dismissal was at 12:30. Around 1om, I was just sitting down to eat lunch when the phone rang; it was the principal, asking if I’d frgotten that it was a half day. LOL She said I wasn’t the first parent who’d forgotten (thank God!).

  • Audubon Ron

    Confusion say:

    “Remember, not matter how pizza you eat in the morning, it will never soak up all the alcohol you drank last night.”

  • GlamorousArmy

    We locked our children in a running car in Alaska. They were about 1 and 3 and we pulled up outside the entrance to Sams Club to load groceries. We closed the car and realized the doors were locked (damn automatic locks!) and the kids sat and waved at us until the locksmith arrived. Thank god they didnt start crying.

  • EmilyZ

    I just found your blog via The Bloggess and LOVE IT! I am not yet a parent but was a nanny for a number of years…I don’t remember ever forgetting them. Probably because I was being paid to ensure their safety. If I was doing it for free…probably wouldn’t have been quite so conscientious. P.S. I totally just had to look up how to spell conscientious. Thanks, degree in English Lit.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    babymamma- you are not sucky at all, just awesome.

    kristyn- i have a new respect for erin. this is hilarious.

    karen- you left the kids there out of love. any extra time at school is time well spent.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    audubon- you crack me up. also, you are right.

    glamorous- you CARED enough to leave it running before you accidentally locked the doors. if that isn’t love, i don’t know what is.

    emily- welcome! money helps. maybe i should ask my daughter to pay me. also, you spelled conscientious correctly twice. that was totally the degree working right there.

  • MOV

    Forget a child? Never!!!! Forget to brush teeth, work-out, sleep, turn in homework assignments, do dishes, do laundry, meet a friend at a scheduled time, husband’s birthday– oh yeah. ALl of the above. Sometimes all at once.
    loveya, keep it up! (the writing, not the forgetting)

  • Dead Cow Girl

    I have yet to forget Monkey anywhere! At this point, that is my claim to fame.

    I did trip while wearing him when he was about a month old though. And landed on him. It was his first ER visit.

  • Kendahl, Stepmom Extraordinaire

    I may not count as a whole vote since I’m only a part-time Mom but I’ve nearly forgotten her places before. I’ve started the car with her still on the outside and put it into gear, only to hear her giggle because she thinks I’m only pretending to forget her. Thank God kids have imaginations.

    I never had to do the baby part so I dunno about that. But I get the feeling I would be the leave-my-baby-behind type of Mom. Now, whether it was on purpose is debateable…

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    MOV- hey mama! well, none of those seem that bad to me *wink* even if they are all at the same time.

    deadcowgirl- no way! you lasted a month before tripping…that’s some true excellence right there. i kept on banging Cal into stuff when I was wearing her, so that was the end of that.

    kendahl- but, and here’s the important thing…you didn’t even drive away. clearly, you’ve done nothing wrong yet.

  • mommie2lea

    It actually makes for a great story (despite the vaguely sickening feeling that you describe when you think about it), and you still have her no so no harm, no foul!

    And about Chhichi, remember that the perfect is the enemy of the good. Even if you don’t really believe it, just tell yourself that you do when it comes to her.

    Thanks for commenting on my *zexy* party dress. Had I been able to hold my liquor a bit better, it would have been a beautiful night. When you have to do damage control on Monday morning that starts with “Too little food and too much alcohol on Friday, I’m afraid. I think that I may have sworn at you but do not know why, and if I did I am sorry….”

  • Anonymous

    We have early release days in our school system two times a month and it was my daughter’s first year in school and I forgot to pick her up from an early release day, not once but twice…parenting fail!! It happens! :)

  • sophie

    I do not have children to leave (a blessing for them and for me). However, I was left as a kid. My aunt and cousin were in town and we were headed to Stone Mountain (oh yeah, when are you going to visit?). I think the total in the car was 2 adults and 4 kids. We stopped to get gas and I got out of the car to get some candy from inside the store. When I came out, the car was gone (I think I was 10 or so). I didn’t freak, after all, I had candy and I was in walking distance of home. Mother realized I was missing several minutes down the road when she asked me a question and I did not answer. They did return to get me. Very small amount of damage as far as the therapy jar was concerned–and I was old enough to remember it. No harm, no foul. :-)

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    mommie2lea-thanks for your kindness.=) also, i think EVERY Monday should involve some sort of explanation about swearing, drinking, lack of food, mercury in retrograde….

    anon- twice? see, at least you were consistent. that’s also an excellent parenting trait to possess

    sophie- and if i come, will you go with me to SM? =) “they did not return to get me”- HA! i like this…i like this a lot.

  • onlyiamallowedtoyell

    I’ve never forgotten one of my kids, but I understand how it can happen. At first, when my second came along, I drove myself crazy thinking I was going to forget one or the other.

    Not that this was the reason for leaving your’s, but I felt at risk for leaving one (or both!) because my functioning had basically come down to “Going to Car. Car needs keys. I have keys. Okay.”

  • Elizabeth – Flourish in Progress

    onlyiamallowedtoyell- maybe i need a simple mantra like that. keys, kid, car, keys, kid, car.

  • Amy

    Elizabeth, you are so fun to read! I’m glad that you have room in your heart to love another child. :)

    I show myself to be the slacker mom of the neighborhood on many, countless occasions. Not to worry!