What’s my Mom Return on Failure?

titanicSince quitting my full-time-mostly-in-the-office-send-the-kid-to-daycare job, I’ve been working here and there with some freelance gigs. One of them is writing social media content for a couple of small businesses. This has changed my daily reading.

I once spent time combing Agile Software Development blogs, posting comments to Reddit discussion threads on Project Management, or following fellow AgileRoots buddies on Twitter. (And laughing at gifs from Imgur, too. The important work stuff.)

I now search the sysadmin sub-Reddit for blogging inspiration and follow the Twitter feeds of CIO.com and Harvard Business Review. I’m such a sophisticated mom.

Oh, and I also still laugh at important Reddit posts such as this:


Because cats.

And internet.

Okay so let’s get to the point of my blog already. On HBR, I read a great article, “Increase Your Return on Failure”, which got me to thinking about my Mom Return on Failure.

In business, a risk-averse culture won’t foster innovation. Projects are labeled successful when they’re built on predictability and efficiency. So people don’t want to mess up, they don’t try new things, and therefore, there ain’t no innovation going down.

HBR argued that there are three steps a business could take to raise their return on failure, which would help foster innovation instead of shunning risk-taking.

I’m taking HBR’s three steps and applying them to my MOM Return. Here goes:

Step 1: Learn from Every Failure

Okay. So I start by reflecting on failures. HBR stated that this doesn’t come naturally because people don’t want to review past problems in the business world, but guess what?

We moms are excellent at remembering our failures!

We may be the most talented group at remembering every last detail of personal failures. We own the market. That’s why it’s called Mom Guilt.

“I’m a failure because…”

Start filling in the blank and try not to get carried away rattling off a list longer than the text of Les Misérables (the unabridged).

The real trick with mom failures is to avoid turning them into guilt and instead, list the positive side effects gleaned. Let’s try this.

Some of my Mom Guilt and some of my positive side effects from it:

  1. Postpartum depression after Dom’s birth—I realized the love and support of the women in my life who picked me up and brought me to the doctor.
  2. Struggling for weeks to successfully nurse Dom—I developed empathy for the moms who nurse, the moms who pump, and those who give their babies formula: they can all be incredibly hard!
  3. Delivering via c-section and not following my birthplan—I learned that there is no easy way to bring a baby into this world, whether it’s vaginal, surgical, through adoption, etc.
  4. Being a working mom—I watched first hand as my son developed incredible skills from being in daycare, interacting with other care takers, being around other babies, and all of the love that surrounded him.
  5. All of the French fries Gabbi has eaten—I know there is no nutritional value in a “fake” McDonald’s French fry, but I don’t know how many she has already eaten in her little life, however, I will take pride in the fact that when we aren’t crashing at the PlayPlace for lunch, she’s tried everything from tofu to sushi, so have some greasy fries, girly!
  6. Yelling at my kids—I’m learning to apologize at the same time I am trying to teach Dom (and eventually Gabbi) how to genuinely apologize so perhaps they will learn from my imperfect example.

Step 2: Share the Lessons

We Moms need to share more and it shouldn’t be the manicured social media posts we feel best about posting. I’ve found some outlets for the sharing of “real”, but I should work on doing this more because sometimes I just use those outlets for complaining.

To be honest, though, this is a step that I’m simply not sure about. How do I share my Mom failures and keep the emphasis on *learning*? Who do I share them with?

I have my walking buddy, my sisters, my mom, my FB moms group, my high school buddies, and on. Do I share with them? Do I ask them to share with me? Does anybody want to experiment with a weekly Mom failure respective? Does any Mom have time? I don’t want it to take away from my after-kids-go-to-bed-long-hot-shower time! And can I share them without coming off as some pompous mom trying to brag that I know how to do it better than you?

So many questions on step 2.

Step 3: Review Your Pattern of Failure

For this step, I’ll tell you one thing I do know for sure: raising children will never let you get too overconfident. No matter how good your kids are, they will always keep you humble. I will never feel like I have this Mom gig down, no matter the grades or citizenship or sports accolades or whatever accomplishments my kids snag. And no matter the number of times we stumble and fall—both myself and my kiddos. If I have a pattern of failure, I do not know it, but I’ve never looked for it. So perhaps I will try to now.

I’ll let you know if I find that I yell at my kids when it’s been too many days since my last Dr. Pepper!

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