A Mom Fail and a Button Shamrock Shirt


Last Friday was like every other day. We raced around getting ready for school, packing lunches and guzzling coffee (me), being completely silly and taking forever to get dressed (them) and just going about our normal routine.

But as soon as we pulled into the school parking lot I realized something was wrong. I saw these kids getting out of their parents’ cars in costumes. It was the 100th day of school. And in my daughter’s class they were celebrating by dressing up like a 100 year old.

 And I had forgotten.


Button Applique Shamrock t-shirt from atthepicketfence.com

All of the other kids were dressed up. The teacher was dressed up. And there was my daughter. Not dressed up.

Oh sure, she looked as adorable as she always does but she wasn’t dressed like a 100 year old. It was a ‘Mom Fail’ moment.

Of course it wasn’t the first. And it won’t be the last. But standing there holding her little hand as she glanced around the room I could physically feel her awareness of the situation. And my heart broke. Oh, I know it’s not the end of the world. I hope and pray know that she won’t end up in the therapist’s office someday bemoaning the fact that when she was in the first grade her mother forgot to have her dress like a 100 year old for the 100 day celebration at school.

But, it still hurt to see her feeling left out and to know that I could have prevented it. I offered to go home and grab some dress-up stuff and bring it back to school for her but she said, “it’s ok Mommy”.


5 minute craft graphic

In the grand scheme of things, the times I’ve forgotten about 100 Day Celebrations and to pack snacks in backpacks and sign permission slips and create the most perfect teachers’ gifts are only a blip on the page of my children’s childhood. At least I hope it is!

And I know that I’m an imperfect mom raising imperfect kids in an imperfect world.

So, I give myself grace.

And I decide to get a jump start on things by making something fun for her to wear for St. Patrick’s Day.


button shamrock shirt supplies atthepicketfence.com

Because I wouldn’t want her to get pinched for not wearing green!

tracing clover shape onto shirt

We moms sure are hard on ourselves aren’t we?

We see that mom who is doing crafts with her kids and is perfectly fine with play-dough being stuck in the carpet or flour being tossed up in the air and we wonder why we can’t be more carefree like that. We’re certain that her kids will ‘rise up and call her blessed’ for her anything goes attitude and that she would never ever tell them that play-dough is from the devil.

We attend those impeccably planned birthday parties with handmade party favors that perfectly coordinate with the chosen theme and we wonder if we will ever be able to just buy invitations at WalMart again.

We see the “look what our family had for dinner tonight!” updates on Facebook with a picture of a pile of something that you are fairly certain is kale or some other thing your supposed to be eating all the time now but you know that last night you counted ketchup as your ‘vegetable’.

gluing buttons onto shamrock shirt

When I look back at my childhood I don’t remember the time my mom forgot to sign my reading chart or didn’t remember to pack me a snack or turn in a field trip permission slip. I’m sure that they happened though. Because, well, she was a mom.

No, I don’t remember any of those things.

I do remember her pretending to be Mrs. Olson so that I could pretend to be Laura bringing in the eggs to the Mercantile/Kitchen.

And I remember her walking me to school each day and stopping long enough to let me jump up on the bus stop bench and sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at the top of my lungs.

Last weekend we celebrated my birthday at my parent’s home and we watched slides (yes, slides with the projector and screen and all!) of when we were little. I saw images of my mom playing in the snow with us and catching us at the bottom of the slide in the park and hosting birthday parties and volunteering in our classrooms.

And suddenly I felt my love for her taken to a whole new level. Because in those pictures she was my age.

She was just an imperfect mom raising imperfect kids in an imperfect world.

button shamrock shirt atthepicketfence.com

Would she have remembered to have me dress up like a 100 year old for the 100th Day of school celebration? Maybe. Maybe not.

Would she have made me a Shamrock Button Shirt? Maybe. Maybe not.

Would I remember whether she did or didn’t. Nope.

Because I knew that she loved us deeply.

St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Button Shirt from atthepicketfence.com

And that’s really the best memory to have after all, isn’t it? :)

Vanessa signature

Looking for some more great ideas and inspiration for St. Patrick’s Day? Check out these!

50 Green Ideas 


P.S. Heather is sharing her FAVORITE ROOM  with Kim over at Savvy Southern Style today! Be sure to head over and say “hi” and give her your opinion on  a couple of decorating dilemmas!


  1. says

    LOVE this post, Vanessa! You are such a good mom–even if you’re as imperfect as the rest of us. I’m so glad for you and Heather that you still have your mom with you on this earth–what a blessing for you to get to be with her as you walk the same paths that she walked many years ago.

    The shamrock button shirt is adorable! You get “mom points” for that!
    Richella @ Imparting Grace recently posted..Grace at Home No. 95My Profile

  2. says

    What a beautiful post. Boy, we’ve all had those moments. It’s how we respond to them that counts. Love this… the perspective you took. Great reminder even for this momma of Middle-School aged kiddos. Happy Friday!

  3. says

    What a fantastic post that all Moms should read. Glad to know I’m not the only one who is forgetful sometimes and… Ketchup as a vegetable? It’s happened. lol You’re so right – they won’t remember these little “Mom fails” but all of the things we HAVE done. That shamrock shirt is adorable! Pinning now and thank you so much for including my 50 Green Ideas here! xoxo
    Claire @ A Little Claireification recently posted..Easy Cheesy Potato Corn Chowder & A Surprise Virtual Baby ShowerMy Profile

  4. Victoria says

    We do have Mom fails all the time and beat ourselves up over it… because we are good – no GREAT Mom’s! I feel for you! Been there, done that! In retrospect as my kids have gotten older they have never said to me… I’m still upset that you forgot 100 day or that you forgot you were to bring cupcakes to school etc… They usually remember the good.
    The shamrock shirt is very cute! I enjoy reading your posts girls.

  5. says

    My heart sunk reading this, we have all been there more then once. The funny thing is I don’t remember those fail moments as a child either, I only remember the times my mom went on field trips with us, volunteered in the classroom, drove us to school and I can guarantee she had those moments as well while trying to raise four of us. Thanks for this post
    Oh and I love the shirt :)
    kristins recently posted..Kitchen hardware and more progressMy Profile

  6. says

    Vanessa dear, you made me cry with this post… I have an only child and am often blaming myself for not doing this or that, or worse, for doing it all wrong (according to WHOM?) But you are certainly right, in the end we don’t even remember our mom’s little fails, but all the time and effort and LOVE she offered to us in daily life! Thanks so much for reminding this to me… perfectionism is poisonous!
    Hugs and blessings,
    Kassandra recently posted..El mayor premio es COMPARTIRMy Profile

  7. says

    I am so glad that Pinterest wasn’t around when my kids were little! I have two (now 21 and 25) with Dec. birthdays so we always did a half birthday party in the summer where they could invite friends. One year was inside out party and I have lovely pics with my clothes inside out. One years was a homemade slip and slide that the kids just loved. We always tried to do something different and fun but it certainly wasn’t Pinterest worthy. My kids, however, haven’t forgotten that we TRIED and we were PRESENT. That’s what I cherish.

    Great post, Vanessa!
    Marty Walden recently posted..New Paint Color for BedroomMy Profile

  8. says

    Vanessa- I don’t know what it is about this post but by the time I finished reading it I have tears in my eyes. Maybe it makes me think of my daughters and hope that is what they will remember about me….that in spite of all the screw ups-they were loved and cherished….and now they are MY age with kids THEIR age. Life certainly moves us along….xo Diana
    Nana Diana recently posted..Happy Birthday Sweet Little RiaMy Profile

  9. says

    Girl, we have all been there. For me,more times than I care to recall. Now, Jack my younger one takes charge, he reminds me of things coming up and leaves it out on the counter, even then I may still forget, and he gently reminds me. Oh and don’t kid yourself, they will all need therapy LOL..it’s not a bad thing and I’m sure there will be a long line.
    debbiedoos recently posted..Faux wood beams in the KitchenMy Profile

  10. says

    Sending a vintage mommy hug your way from a mother who is on the other side of the story looking back and hoping that she did “enough” right in that imperfect job of raising imperfect kids in an imperfect world. You wrote a lovely post that tendered my heart so much. I get it. I’m sure we all do. (Or we should…)

    And the button shirt is precious! She’s been the cutest one there that day. (Note that I refrained from saying that she will be as cute as a button. It was difficult. I thought it.)
    Debbie recently posted..Of Noggers and Taupe-LiftsMy Profile

  11. says

    Great post, Vanessa. Now that I’m at the grandma stage of life and take care of my daughter’s children while she works, I find that I have ‘grandma fails’. It’s a phenomenon that never goes away! lol You’re so right when you say those are not the moments that your children will remember.

  12. Carol Reddin says

    Thanks for the reminder of all the good times, Vanessa! it is a joy and privilege to be the mother of your sister and you! Love you!

  13. says

    This was beautiful…hit me on all levels..as a daughter, a Mom…we truly are so hard on ourselves as Moms (as daughters too) today. I know that “sinking” feeling of forgetting something for the kiddos, and actually almost contemplating running for it. We are about 7-8 years ahead of what you are going through. Val (12) came down stairs for school this past Monday after asking if she could get up earlier (6am) to get ready-I thought no way will she get up! HA! She had her hair all pulled to one side and had a tiny bit of mascara on. Totally not her normal routine. It was one of the toughest mornings I’ve had ever. Not because she was wearing mascara. Not because she was concerned about her appearance (i think that’s normal & okay)…but because she is going through the transition before my eyes, and there’s really not that much I can do to “make her feel accepted” accept to give her my love, guidance, etc. and then set her free! She’s becoming a young woman…my baby..my last born. It’s bitter sweet. Enjoy it all the way, Vanessa, which I know you will. You are wise…and your Mom did good!
    Julie recently posted..Gypsy Ruffled Curtain PanelsMy Profile

  14. says

    You have an amazing way of making me feel better about myself. Reading this post was the reality check I needed today. Everything you wrote is so absolutely, totally spot-on. God bless :)
    Michele recently posted..My mate MarmiteMy Profile

  15. says

    I love, love, love this post for many reasons….I love how you write about “real life”…the imperfectness of it…However, in your children’s eyes, you are perfect…as you love them dearly and unconditionally…and love the Shamrock shirt…as St. Patrick’s Day is so special to me (in more ways than one too)…as one of the reasons is that it is my precious granddaughter’s birthday…..and I would have loved to see you sing the Star Spangled Banner on that bench!!
    Shirley@Housepitality Designs recently posted..Spring Dishes in the Hutch {Noritake Summer Estate}My Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge