Days like this are the kind of days
that have me questioning everything, mostly myself. I have come so far, and
just about the time I think I’m gaining momentum, I hit a speed bump emblazoned
with the letters…. FAIL. I envision them painted in bright, neon green for some


It started at around 4 a.m. I was
having a dream that I needed to go to the bathroom. It was the kind of dream
where you are awake enough to somehow tell yourself , “Don’t wake up and go to
the bathroom because you’ll have a hard time falling back asleep and the alarm
is surely going to go off any minute now. You need sleep.” The dream won. Sure
enough, it was 4:12 a.m. I did my thing and realized instantly….the dreaded
UTI. Sorry guys, but it’s a girl’s worst enemy. Nothing can ruin a day’s plans
quite like this, short of getting hit by a bus. I rummaged through my stash of
expired medicine to see if there was anything left to take—nada. I tried to
fall back asleep—double nada. I downed water hoping to flush it all out…more
pain. I was literally counting the hours until the kids woke up so I could take
them to school and I could get myself to one of those doc in the box type
places for some drugs, stat.

This little illness follows the
Fifth Disease diagnosis my pre-schooler had last week and the little bladder
infection she had herself right on top of it. It’s been fun times around our
house for certain. Oh, and off topic – speaking of pee…the “sweet” kitty cat I
got for my daughter out of guilt for giving her dog away three years ago (which
she hasn’t forgotten and reminds me of almost weekly AND writes about in school
every chance she gets) is in perpetual heat. Since there are no male cats to be
found, she “releases” herself all over the house by marking her territory every
few inches along all of the baseboards. Pee sucks, especially around this
house. I hate pee.

OK, back on topic….I continued to
do my work, writing profiles and the like while trying to ignore my little
illness, praying the drugs I scored earlier would kick in. They never really
did. Finally, I gave up around 4 p.m. and called my personal doctor  who said she could squeeze me in at 5. She had
a feeling this had gone to my kidneys or I just needed stronger medication. She
was right on both points and by 7 p.m., I was in a much better place. Still in
pain, but nothing compared to earlier in the day when it was so bad I was
nauseous with chills.

I managed to get some things done
around the house while tuning into Idol and called the kids in from outside to
get ready for bed. The oldest child came in on the first call, but I don’t know
who it was that tagged along behind her. It was a child that looked like
Olivia, but certainly didn’t act like her.

“I’m NOT going to bed and YOU CAN’T
MAKE ME!” (Said in an almost laughing/almost crying hysterical whine.)

(Insert howling wail/moan/mating
call from cat as she humps the laptop.)

Then, she pushed me. Not the cat –

I did the whole “you are on thin
ice, missy” routine. It didn’t affect her one bit.

So she pinched Kate.

“OWWW! Did you SEE that Mom?”

Kate takes off running with Liv
right behind her, kicking her whenever she gets the chance. Kate is yelling
while Liv is laughing, watching me with these daring eyes… “So, lady, what
are you going to do now?”

By this time the noise is at a
deafening level right when the phone rings. Kate recognizes it’s her dad’s
ringtone and immediately picks it up to tell on her little sister. The drama
escalates as Olivia takes a full glass of iced tea and proceeds to dump it out,
looking right at me, all over the coffee table as I watch it drip—wait, make
that pour—down onto the rug, creating a nice tea stain that will be impossible
to remove. Olivia laughs, delighted and proud of herself for making me scream
out in horror at what she had just done. Kate is giving her dad a play-by-play,
much to my disdain as I’m sure he’s reveling in the “I told her it would be
like this” glee.

Unfortunately, the pain pills haven’t
kicked in yet, and I’m feeling just about as bad as I felt earlier in the day,
but there’s no rest when there’s a spilled iced tea emergency and an ex-husband
laughing at your failure as a parent. I had to stop Liv from her rein of pre-K
terror. Kate keeps talking to her dad while I simultaneously clean up the mess
and deal with Olivia. Then I hear a WAIL, almost as bad as the cat’s, coming
from Kate’s room. Olivia had taken a large cup from the bathroom, filled it
with water, and dumped it right in the middle of Kate’s room, just to see what
would happen.

This is what happened: It ruined
the art project she had been working on since December – colors bleeding
everywhere off of the poster.


SLAM. And then she cries to her dad
on the phone. I’m tempted to listen in, but I have bigger problems.

I continue to deal with Olivia –
grounding, stern voice and face, go to your room….all of it. She runs from me
and locks herself in the bathroom screaming at the top of her lungs, “I WANT A

By this time, I’m on the phone with
their dad talking about this new phase Olivia has entered into, which
apparently she showed off for him on Saturday night as well. He tells me to
ignore her. That’s what he did, and according to him, worked.

Kinda hard to do, but I try. I
continue to clean up and do things around the house while she continues her
rant. She tries to go into her sister’s room but realizes it’s locked. So she
starts kicking it and ripping the papers down that had been carefully taped up.
She finds me on the floor, sopping up spilled tea, and proceeds to kick me
square in the back and grab my shirt telling me she wishes I would go away

I sternly and rather forcefully
take her and sit her down right on my lap telling her that I know she’s tired
and doesn’t always like the rules but that she has lost all privileges for a
week, including coloring, play time, outside time….. I go on and on and talk to
her about apologizing to me and her sister. She runs to Kate’s room and screams
“I’M NOT SORRY!” She sees one glass of water left and throws it on me. And
laughs. I cry. I just start to cry.

Fine, go ahead. Tell me how I lost
all control at that moment and let a five year old defeat me. I was tired.
Sick. Nauseous. Earlier in the day, I went through all of my bills, paid them,
and realized yet once again that I work like crazy for pennies and every penny
goes to the house that I can’t sell. The same house, apparently, that both kids
hate and look at as the reason they aren’t in their “real house” anymore. I
hate this house. I really do. (Gee, I wonder where they get it?)

Off topic again. This house is too
much work. It’s too big for us. The rooms we don’t use are too big, and the
rooms we do use are too small. It’s a crappy floor plan. And speaking of
floors, they have cat pee on them in most every corner. EW. The yard is way
bigger than we’ll ever need. And guess what that yard does? Yep, grow. Guess
who sucks at using the lawnmower? Yep, me. It dies every few feet and I kill
myself starting it back up. Up until last week, the weeds were taller than Liv.
The HOA has killed countless trees sending me certified letters warning me to
fertilize and weed-eat my lawn. A lawn is a single working mom’s nightmare.

OK, sorry….back on topic. So I
continued with the bedtime routine. Helped her into her nightgown as she
struggled to fight me. Consoled my oldest daughter while she got into bed,
crying herself to sleep that it was “the worst day ever.” Turned off the light
while the youngest kicked and tossed and turned in her bed reminding me in her
loudest, yet broken with sobbing tears voice, “I hate you. You are the worstest
mommy ever, and I am not going to give you what I am making you in school for “modder’s

I calmly told her that it’s too bad
we had such a hard night and that tomorrow morning she needs to apologize to
her sister. That she has lost story privileges for the night and mommy’s going
ME!” I, of course, remind her that while I’m very disappointed her behavior tonight,
I love her very much. I pray it sinks in, but it doesn’t seem like it.

As mad as I am at her, my heart
breaks for her. She’s five and she’s beyond tired. Beyond upset. She realizes
what she’s done and doesn’t know what to do next. I tell her than when she
calms down I’ll come lay beside her. “You won’t. You always say you do and you
don’t. You lie!”

I remind her that I lay with her
every night until she falls asleep. She argues that point, but I let it go.

The tears dry and the
cry-breathe-thing slows down. She’s, at last, asleep.

I check on the oldest and she’s on
the floor, still in tears. Her bed is wet. Apparently, we missed it when Olivia
poured water on the bed as well. She looks at me with the “please let me sleep in
your room tonight” eyes. So I just say, “Come with me and go straight to sleep.”

We don’t really discuss anything.
She asks if I think there’s any way to save her poster. I tell her I don’t
know, but that we’ll try. And I remind her that it’s hard to be the youngest
when it seems like everyone else gets to do everything and you’re always “too
little.” She’s going on 9 ½, so she understands, even if she doesn’t like it.

I don’t like it, either.

When I finally sit down to finish
up some work, I realize I’m exhausted to the point of not even being able to
sleep…yet. And the tears just start to fall. First, a little here and there,
and then a floodgate. I thought maybe writing about it would help. It usually
does. And it already has. Not sure why, but it works. And whatever works,

I hate it that he got to literally
hear my FAIL tonight. He even got a play-by-play as it happened. Nothing I can
do about it now, but it admittedly bothers me. I thought abut calling my mom,
but I know she would just worry. There’s only so much your parents can do for
you when you’re a month shy of turning 38. This is my bed, and I’m all the way
in it.

I took some more medicine and
noticed that the pain has noticeably faded. I don’t know if it was because of
the medicine or because I was so incredibly distracted. As I wrap this up, I’m
happy to finally be tired enough to sleep and just annoyed enough to realize
the cat (MEEEOOOOWWWWWW) is going to keep me from it until she realizes that
there is no late-night bootie-call delivery service for male cats.

To my left is a pile of work which
is just going to have to wait until tomorrow. I think I need today to
officially be over. But before it is, I’m going to go check on the little one
and pull her covers up…make sure she has her ducky. I’ll keep telling myself
that this would be happening at this stage no matter where we lived or what our
life circumstance, but I have my doubts.

Today sucked – for me, for my
bladder, for Kate, for Liv, and yes even for my revved up, over-sexed cat.

Guess that’s why God gives us
tomorrows. To try again. I failed today. I’ll be feeling pretty good if I can
just get a C tomorrow. Extra credit for a smooth bedtime, too. A girl can
dream, right?

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11 Responses to FAIL

  1. Tina says:

    I think my blood pressure went up just reading that, and I feel tense and stressed… I can only imagine what you must have been feeling while it was happening! That was a day from hell, to be sure! I have had days that my oldest acted the way your Olivia did and Oh. My. God. It\’s hard to believe their level of defiance and testing the limits, and they almost seem to know when we aren\’t feeling well and try to test us RIGHT THEN. I feel for you, mama. Hang in there.And as for the "Fail" grade you\’ve given yourself, remember….no one is grading you other than yourself. While it\’s natural to imagine your ex-husband grading you in his mind, he doesn\’t have that power. Don\’t give it to him. If you\’re doing the best you can do on any given day, then give yourself an "E" for Effort, and and "A" for not completely losing your temper and doing something you\’d later regret. You did well. There\’s always tomorrow. Oh, and on the days you think you\’re doing a terrible job, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! The heavenly Father will remind you of His unconditional love for you, even on your worst days, and give you strength to do a better job tomorrow. I\’m sure His grading system for you is much more forgiving and loving.

  2. April says:

    I\’m so sorry you had to go through that! – I\’m just glad you don\’t have to go through that all the time. Unfortunatley I do – that\’s how my daughter treats me almost every day! I would not wish that on my worst enemy!!! Oh and don\’t think the husband has all that control about getting her to mind (by ignoring her) for some *hi*ty reasons – kids alway do what dad says!!! which always sucks!!!I\’m so glad you wrote again – I miss reading your stories! Hope you are having a good day!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I had my breakdown moment on actual Mothers day, nice timing eh? I was literally crying asking my girls to get their laundry out for me. A week or so prior, I\’d had a rough day and my youngest said "what\’s wrong with you?" I said I\’d had a bad day and she responded with "why should I care". Yes my 9 year old made me cry that day.I kind of had an ephiphany the other day, or however you spell it 🙂 While I may feel like I struggle with everyday life, between trying to finish school projects and school meetings and trying to get everyone showered and to bed at a decent hour. I stopped and realized the bigger picture the other day. My youngest who wasn\’t expected to pass 4th grade this year has EXCELED like nobodies business, out scoring 2/3rds of her class on a state test, getting a 97 on her times test, etc. My oldest just tested into AP math for next year and had her honor choir concert. So while I feel like I\’m miserably losing those everyday battles, when I look at the big picture, I think my girls and I are winning the war.When I was still married it was me doing the yard work, so when I got divorced I moved into a 2 bedroom townhome. Yes my girls share a room and yes I\’m throwing away money on rent. But when my waterheater needed replacing last week, I called maintance. I have a tiny little yard for my dogs that I spend 5 mins raking and I\’m done. My goal since my divorce was to simplify things. So far it\’s working. Yes I live in a rented smaller place, but I am happy there. Yes, like you I work for pennies and all those pennies fly out the door as soon as they come in it seems. So instead I have movie nights on the couch with my girls. I may fail somedays, but I think I\’m doing ok. I think you\’re doing ok too. We do the best we can.Hang in there and sorry for commenting a book! 🙂

  4. Texas T says:

    I know right now seems like an endless stream of days that include "FAILS" all tied together but honestly, you\’re doing a great job Jen! Overwhelmed yes, but keep your chin (and most of all, your FAITH) up. It will get better! YOU CAN DO THIS!!

  5. TexasGirlJen says:

    Wow! I haven\’t been back here in awhile and I had five comments! Woo hoo! I don\’t get very many anymore! I know people still read because I see it in the stats, but I miss hearing from everyone. Sorry I was gone for awhile, but I\’m back! Thank you guys, as always, for the support. I\’ll be writing soon with more updates. I always feel like I\’m coming across as whining, but I also know that people seem to take something away from my "being real and out there" and if I can do at least one thing right in all this craziness, then it is worth it. There are some big changes going on with me – AGAIN — right now and I\’ll be sharing them soon. Thank you for sticking around and taking the time to read my writing. It means so much to me. Makes me not feel so alone in this crazy world! Be great — j.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Alright Jen, you put it in print (no deleting!) so we\’re gonna be expecting you back soon! 🙂 The way I see it, even if no one reads it, at least you got it out and sometimes just that helps.On my ephiphany, my girls both brought home stellar report cards, further proof we\’re winning the war!See you soon!

  7. Ian says:

    Jen, it\’s not whining. That\’s what a blog is for. This is your blog. You write how you feel. If anyone doesn\’t like it, they can choose to not read it. You don\’t have to do this for anybody\’s approval.~Not-so-secret reader~

  8. Patricia says:

    I am really late on reading this and commenting. However, I wish I could have been your next door neighbor. I could have cleaned some stains and poured some wine.That is one hell of a bad day!

  9. MyFrogs says:

    Hey! Donde esta the new post? It was here! I know it! Hoping the move has gone well and you’re enjoying your new girls club. Hugs lady!

  10. MyFrogs says:

    Wish you were still writing here. Hit a speed bump in my world. Hope yours is good.

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