Need a dose of ashamed-mother relief?
The hilarious Tori Hoffmann muses over the high expectations we place on ourselves as mothers.
"I spent most of January trying to work out why the council was letting me keep my three kids but why I wasn’t allowed to adopt a kitten" (iStock)
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Yesterday, while the Cape Doctor was in full force, I sent my daughter to school in a lovely long dress without her panties on. And once I realised what I’d done, I was utterly mortified.

Not only would she remember this one day – she’s 4 now, and I clearly remember being sent to school at the same age with a broken leg – but I truly thought that after a decade of this parenting gig, I was starting to get the hang of it. Maybe even a little bit better? Alas, it appears I am only getting worse. 

Of course, she didn’t mind being a "pantiless princess" (as her teacher so perfectly put it) on the jungle gym for an hour or two. Because word on the street is that she’s used to going to school without her knickers on – and has done it on more than one occasion.

What a relief! My little darling wouldn’t be scarred for life (and has a party trick that I didn’t even know about).

Plus, rather than let her prance around pantiless all day as in previous years, I actually realised my Mom Fail as soon as I’d finished my quiet cup of coffee, and drove ALL the way to the preschool to drop her panties off at reception. See? I’m not getting worse. I’m getting better! Hooray! 


Also see: You’re not “just a mom”: Motherhood is like working 2.5 jobs – fact

What are your biggest Mom Fails? Share your story with us, and we could publish your letter. Anonymous contributions are welcome.


"Maybe word had travelled all the way out of the Southern Suburbs as to what a useless mother I am"

This, of course, has come as a huge relief to me. Because after I was denied a kitten by an animal shelter shortly after Christmas I thought maybe word had travelled all the way out of the Southern Suburbs as to what a useless mother I am, and my mom morale was quite low.

To be honest, I spent most of January trying to work out why the council was letting me keep my three kids but why I wasn’t allowed to adopt a kitten, for cat’s sake!  

But in retrospect, I think what happened is that a little bird must have told the rescue shelter that I made my oldest son, who is now 10, cry it out once. He never actually fell asleep and broke out in hives the next day, and only started sleeping through in Grade R, and the “sleep” exercise was never again repeated… But that must have been it.

Someone must have told someone who told someone and they must've mentioned it to the owner at the cat shop. And she obviously thought I was going to adopt the Miouw It Out Sleep Method along with her fur baby.

And decided I wasn’t fit to raise a cat.

Either that or she heard that I forgot to fetch my son from his first day of Grade 1 and then did the same for my other son on his first day of Grade 2.


Also see:Worrying about being a perfect mom makes it harder to be a good parent


"I think that setting the bar that low was a blessing in disguise"

I honestly feel that children should always be treated equally, and what you don’t do for the one, you mustn’t do for the other. Seriously though – I was only an hour late (actually, I was on time, school got out an hour early and I missed the tiny memo) and I think that setting the bar that low was a blessing in disguise.

Well, it was for me, at least. It really did lower everyone’s expectations of me and the high expectations we place on ourselves as mothers. Because after I also accidentally missed my (other) child’s Very Important Race once because I was at the, erm, gym, it was confirmed: Anything I did from there on out would be deemed incredible by both my kids and fellow parents.

For example, no one minds that I don’t know what the score is (ever) at cricket matches or any other sports events for that matter. Because at least I’m there, right? At least I’m there! 

And finally, I think it makes the other moms feel (much) better whenever they forget to send their kids to my kids’ parties – yes, it’s happened twice.

I just tell them not to worry. Once, I forgot to take the lid off my son’s asthma pump for three years. And just like that, you can almost hear the collective sigh of ashamed mother relief…

Chat back:

What are your biggest Mom Fails? Share your story with us, and we could publish your letter. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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