Updated: Aug 13, 2019
My daughter's kindergarten class was making Stone Soup. Everyone brings an ingredient, they throw it all into a pot, add a stone and call it Stone Soup. Adorable. Parents bring the ingredients on Thursday and the kids make the soup on Friday - simple. My daughter gets to bring a potato. At Thursday morning drop off I see a mom running across the parking lot with parsley in hand. Stone Soup. She is such a good mom - running to make sure her daughter contributes her ingredient. I hear another mom say, "Oh shoot! Was that for today?!?" Feeling her anxiety, I shout over the parked cars, "It's OK. It's not due until tomorrow." Relief for both of us. We chat while the parsley mom makes it back to the parking lot and we laugh about the pressure and anxiety we feel about Stone Soup.
It's Friday. Stone Soup Day. I forgot the potato. Instant panic and shame begins rising. I'm driving to speak to a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group and realize there is no way to get the potato to school in time. My shame grows as I fear I've shamed my daughter by being "the only mom who didn't give her child a contribution for Stone Soup." I imagine my 5-year old sad-faced, standing in front of a soup pot empty handed. She has to pass by with no offering because her mom forgot the potato. My shame is incredibly dramatic.
There is nothing I can do. I accept the fact that my daughter is potato-less and I'm powerless to change it. I think of the mom convo in the parking lot the morning prior. For a moment I feel like a failure as a mom. Then sanity steps in.
I will not let a potato take me down. I'm a good mom that is allowed to make mistakes. I'm allowed to drop the ball sometimes. I'm allowed to be human.
This may sound simple and easy but it took a LOT of therapy to gain this perspective.
I decide I'm not going to stay stuck in silently shaming myself. I text the parking-lot mamas. "After all the stone soup talk yesterday. I STILL forgot the potato. Sorry your soup will be potato-less. I owe everyone a potato."
They responded right away. "It happens!" with a smiling emoji.
My reply, "Yep, and I'm still a good mom even when I make a mistake. I'm laughing and giving myself grace."
These sweet mamas text back, "Never doubt that."
"You sure are. My son doesn't like potato anyway!"
"Neither does mine."
These precious mamas gave me a true gift. Grace, acceptance, and connection. A gift that is never offered from silent shame or the pursuit of perfection. In the moment, I chose connection over silently shaming myself. In the moment, when I needed it most, they offered grace, acceptance and connection. I think all of us could use more of that. My heart filled with gratitude for their kindness. Shame never offers kindness. Connection with safe people offers kindness.
Hey Friend, if you forgot the potato lately, it's OK. Here is some kindness instead. Offer yourself grace, acceptance and connection. It tastes better than potato anyway.