I failed at motherhood and lived to tell about it.

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Not surprisingly, motherhood is packed with an assortment of learning experiences. You learn that you can function on roughly twenty minutes of sleep. You learn that actually, no, four diapers is not enough to pack for your first long outing with an infant.

You learn enough about this tiny new human in your life to fill several books.

But you learn a lot about yourself, too. Sometimes it’s great. (“Hey! I am pretty good at X!”) Sometimes it’s not.

Recently, I learned that I am incredibly uncomfortable with failure.

I don’t feel like that sentence adequately describes the emotional turmoil I experienced when I had this revelation. Let me back up.

A couple of weeks ago, we attempted potty training. Yes, I heard from all the people that this was probably crazy. Yes, I realized that I was also packing for an out-of-state move, so, in hindsight, I should probably have predicted a few bumps.

But Vivi is so smart! She was already exhibiting all the traits of a toddler ready to potty train! She had even successfully peed in the potty a few times! And I had read a book! (Because I have always read a book.) I was so prepared to power through a week of intense training and emerge proud, victorious, and diaper-less.

And then real life set in.

I’ll spare you the gory details, but the essential details of this training method say your kid needs to be naked until they start to get the concept of going in the potty. Obviously, this leads to quite a few accidents. Meaning I was cleaning up a lot of pee. And, yeah, some poo. To be fair, Vivi was actually making really good progress. She went from being totally clueless about what her body was doing to being able to tell me about a second before it happened that she needed to potty. But a week after we started, I hit a breaking point.

For one, I was out of time. I had blocked out one week, and I simply couldn’t dedicate the rest of the month to this project because of the aforementioned move.

For another, my nerves were shot. It’s almost embarrassing how frazzled needing to catch Vivi peeing left me. But every night when I could finally put a diaper on her to go to sleep, I felt like it was the first time I exhaled all day.

One night, every time I would start to drift off, I would fall into a dream where I would be looking at Vivi just as she started to pee on the floor. I would wake up literally lunging to grab her, adrenaline pumping through my already exhausted body.

In short, I was a wreck.

It probably didn’t help that my life was completely turned upside down. We still didn’t know where we were living post-move, I had so. much. packing. to do, and we were beaten out on a house that we wanted to buy. Plus, I hadn’t really left the apartment for five days. Nothing felt like it was going right, and every time I would have to get on my knees to wipe up a puddle of urine, it felt like a personal insult.

That night I kept having the horrible lunging dream, I finally got out of bed around 3 a.m. to read the part of my book about troubleshooting. In short, it said that if your child is 18-20 months, they are capable of being trained, but they are most likely going to need more time. Time I didn’t have.

So, at 3:32 a.m., I made a deal with myself: I would give it two more days, and if Vivi didn’t show serious signs of picking it up, we would put it off until we were settled in our new place. A bunch of people had also warned me that moves can cause even well trained toddlers to regress, and the thought of taking steps backward was literally bringing me to tears.

Two days later, Vivi had improved, but not to the point where I felt like I could comfortably leave her unattended or even leave the house with her diaper-less. So I called it. The diaper went back on, and life continued as it was. (Except that now Vivi tells me whenever she’s peeing in her diaper.)

It was then that I had to face the music: I had failed.

Granted, no one likes to fail. But I realized that it embarrasses me on a deep, dark level. And, having realized, this, I felt embarrassed that I was so embarrassed. Because this wasn’t really failure, right? It’s a set-back. It’s bad timing. Why do I care so much? But I found myself in a position that, no matter how much I tried or focused on the problem, I had to admit defeat.

Defeat is really not my forte.

But, in happier news, this experience has also taught me how to let myself off the hook. Yes, things didn’t go according to my (arbitrary) plan. But we’ll try again, and Vivi will probably pick it up quicker with this experience under her belt (and once she’s in an environment where everything isn’t topsy-turvy). Vivi doesn’t hold it against me (or maybe she does? Guess we’ll have to wait for her memoir to know for sure…), so I can let it go too.

Parent readers, tell me about your own parenting “failures.” Did you beat yourself up as much as I do?

The 7 steps of the insanity that is packing with a toddler.

1. Buy a bunch of boxes weeks out from your move date whilst smugly telling yourself, “Gosh, I’m so on the ball! This will be done in no time.”

2. Spend the next week staring at boxes with remorse because #momlife.

3. Two weeks from your deadline, start attempting to pack at least five boxes a day when you first get up.

4. Promptly abandon this plan because your toddler keeps taking things out of the boxes or demanding to be held while you pack. Nap time packing it is!

5. Spend half an hour debating which toys she won’t notice if you pack now. Spend subsequent half hour asking yourself why you even have those toys. Deal with subsequent meltdown when she asks for packed toys the next day.

6. Repeatedly stub your toe/smack your funny bone while chasing toddler through growing towers of boxes. Consider burning it all for the insurance money, but stop because, well, you’re setting an example.

7. After bedtime, pour some rosé in a plastic cup (because the glass ones are packed) and tell yourself this will all be over soon.

The break-up.

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New York is the first boyfriend I never had.

That sounds weird to say because, obviously, I had a first boyfriend. But that boyfriend was Joey, and we always dated a little more seriously, with a little more direction. What I mean to say is, New York is the first boyfriend I would have had if I had been a high schooler in a movie in 1997.

We met through friends while I was in school, and my crush was immediate. After a couple years of long-distance flirting, we made things official. The drama was almost immediate (“You make it so hard to be with you sometimes! I mean, have you seen these broker fees??”), but New York always made it up to me.

First roommates
First roommates

New York took me on some of the best dates of my life. New York made me cry. Like all best relationships, New York introduced me to some of the best people now in my life.

I fell in love here. I got married and had a baby here. My daughter’s birth certificate will forever read “New York City.”

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But, like most first relationships, I always knew it wouldn’t last forever.

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I’ve always said I would give New York ten years. It has been almost eight, but, honestly, New York years are like dog years, and I feel like I’ve been here 20.

And as the years went on, the flaws in our tenuous love affair became more and more glaring. I found myself using the word “hate” more often. “I hate how hard it is to get your laundry done!” “I hate how hard it is to find parking!” “I hate how everything is a little bit more challenging here!”

“I hate it here.”

The words fell from my lips so easily, but they still came with a pang of guilt.

Because I’ll always love New York. The way you always think fondly of your first love, maybe not in the same way, but always.

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Eventually, I became that girl who knew it was over but was still holding on. I held on because there were still occasional good times, there were still reasons to stay, but in my heart I knew New York would never commit to me.

Because at the end of the day, that’s what it came down to. I wanted commitment. I wanted consistency. I had aged out of New York, and I was fully okay with that.

I’ve been thinking a lot about New York and me because, well, we’re leaving. After eight years (as of May 23rd), I’m officially packing my bags and getting out of Dodge. I’m not going to lie, I’m super excited about having a new state and new home on the horizon, but, like any good first boyfriend, nostalgia still beckons. New York will always have eight of some of the most important years of my life. And (once I no longer have to deal with the traffic, the people, the schleps to the laundromat) I know I’ll always think of it fondly. I’m proud of each one of those eight years.

But I’m ready for a new adventure.

Also! As blog readers (if you’ve stuck through these numerous dry spells of posting when I was waiting, waiting, waiting to have something to tell you guys), this is actually great news for you. Because a move and a new house are sure to be rife with blog post ideas. I know, I can smell your relief from here. So stay tuned, friends!