Sharing Time!

When you juggle as many balls as I do, you periodically drop one or two. It doesn’t mean you need to quit juggling, it just means you got a little overwhelmed and one hit the ground. What matters is the importance of that ball. Did you forget milk at the grocery store – something easily rectified by another trip down the road? Or did you forget your 10th anniversary…something you’ll never ever live down for the REST OF YOUR LIFE?

It seems this week that the balls I’ve dropped have fallen more towards the more severe end of that spectrum. And let me tell you – it sucks donkey balls. (OH MY GOD. Why do I keep saying, “balls”?) I have convinced myself somehow that there is no shittier person on the planet than me. And while – logically – I’m fairly certain it’s not true. (FAIRLY…) I still have made myself sick stressing out about my screw-ups this week.

I was wondering if you could make me feel better by telling me about YOUR big screw-ups. I’ll tell you about one from my past so you can appreciate the severity of the similar ones this week: Once, when I was working on my biology degree, I lost the notebook my professor used to keep track of his data in. He was monitoring certain birds near our school and he wrote down his observations in a notebook until he could log them digitally. I lost several weeks worth of his data. Now…think about the severity of that. Luckily, it was a college professor I’d never see again. Imagine the same level of severity with your best friend. That’s where I’m at this week. BIG. GIANT. OOPS.

So…what is your story? What is a mistake you made that had you feeling like the scummiest of all pond scum? I’m hoping your story will help me feel less crappy. Or at least let me know there are other people out there as crappy as I am.

29 Comments

  • Marlene

    My mistake just happened this week! I am back out in the world after 17 years as a SAHM. I went back right after the Christmas Break. I have been beyond exhausted and many, many things are just not getting done. For example? Paying the water bill. which is why our water got turned off on Wednesday. The only bright thing was that I was home sick so i realized it right away and was able to get it turned back on. if I had been at work and then my kiddos game afterwards? we would have had no water until at least the next day:( I felt like a complete failure and screw up. I don’t let these things happen!

  • Heather

    Last night I forgot to put a diaper on Evi because I’ve gotten so used to no diapers during potty training this week, so she woke up soaked…

    • Rachael

      What the heck? Don’t places usually have your resume already by the time they’re interviewing you? When I was in HR, we never expected people to bring anything to their interview unless we specifically asked them to.

      • Heather

        They definitely do have your resume already, but many MANY times when I’ve interviewed I’ve been asked to hand over a fresh copy, especially when the interview is with more than one person. I’ve always thought it was super weird. Fortunately this time when I forgot it turned out to be not an issue.

  • EmilysHollow

    I can’t even think of a specific one, there have been so many. How about this: I’m helping to run an “open gym” type thing for my neighborhood Saturday mornings, where parents and toddlers can come to burn off energy indoors (we’re in the NE, so this is huge because of weather). Sunday night I’m making dinner and realize, OH SH*T, I didn’t even show up on Saturday. Nope. Never crossed my mind. So I left God knows how many parents and their feral toddlers out in the snow while I sat on my ass in my PJs sipping coffee.

    • zoot

      Now that is EXACTLY what I mean about this week. I’ve just completely spaced things. Things that I remembered the day before FINE.

  • Sarah Lena

    I can’t tell you how many times I tell myself this. One of my VPs taught me that it’s okay to drop the balls, you just make sure to catch the eggs, and I literally run through that every time I screw up. “Was this a ball or an egg?” If it’s a ball – meh. There are plenty more opportunities for me to rectify it. The eggs? They’re totally worth stressing over.

    I dropped an egg yesterday because I got confused. I got a weird phone call about a new job task, and it was a lesser task than I had planned to be assigned, and then she asked, “Do you have thoughts about that?” and I didn’t get that she was giving me the green light to ASK FOR MORE RESPONSIBILITY. I kind of just assumed that it would be handed to me. So I’ve spent the last 12 hours kicking myself and hoping I’ll get a chance to fix it.

  • Emily

    I forgot to pay my gas bill last month. It was only a $27 bill, I just compeletely spaced on it. One morning I woke up, got in the shower and realized the water was freezing cold. I thought something was wrong with the water heater. It wasn’t until I got out of the shower and realized the heat was also off that I figured it out. The gas had been shut off. It cost me $250 to get it turned back on.

    • Emily

      Okay, so I posted this morning about forgetting the gas bill and then something ELSE regarding the gas happened.

      I have rented my house out and my renters are moving in tomorrow. They said they were working to get their utilities set up this week. So I went ahead and turned the ones in my name off. She just called saying her gas can’t be set up until the 31st…. and the water heater is gas. So they won’t have hot water. Ugh, I just feel bad because I could have waited until she got a confirmation on getting hers turned on before I turned mine off!

  • Amanda

    At my old job with a general contractor, one of my regular tasks was to fill in the numbers on the bid forms on bid day (for huge, multi-milion dollar construction projects). High pressure because it has to be accurate, neatly written and usually done quickly/with a deadline. This particular day there was a crazy snowstorm happening and the bid was in downtown Boston somewhere (just under an hour from the office at the time, in good weather) so as soon as we finished writing in the numbers they sent an intern out to take it in. Meanwhile, another intern and I sat in a conference room, double checking our work on a photocopy so we could call the other intern to correct any minor mistakes we might find.

    Except it wasn’t a minor mistake we found. What we found was that I, yes me–the girl who gets assigned this task specifically for her incredible attention to detail, had filled out one ENTIRE PAGE of the bid incorrectly. Every single number on that page was dead wrong and I still have no idea how that happened. I was mortified. I immediately started bawling. Then I had to walk into the other conference room, where all the lead estimators were finalizing the larger numbers we’d (intentionally) left blank, and tell my boss, the man who hired me and loved me because I was awesome at my job, that I had made a huge mistake that might cost us the (huge, multi-million dollar) project. Then I had to re-do the entire page as quickly as possible, double check it (also quickly) so they could send yet another intern out into the snow storm to bring the new page to the original intern.

    Then I had to leave early for a doctor appointment. So I spent the next 18 or so hours nervous as hell that 1. the 2nd intern had been injured or killed in a terrible car accident because he was hurrying in bad weather because of my mistake or 2. that we had lost the bid because the 2nd intern didn’t get there in time so our numbers were all wrong and we were disqualified. I knew if we lost the bid, for any reason, it would be blamed on me until the end of time. It still stands out as one of the worst days of my career. (I feel anxious right now just remembering it!!)

    The only bright note is that 2nd intern did get there in time (and safely) and the company won the bid. And also by that day I had already given my notice that I was taking a new job, so I knew no matter what they wouldn’t fire me (or if they did, it wasn’t a huge deal because I had the next job lined up already). But I still shudder when I think about how badly I messed up that day.

  • Alexa

    I haven’t done anything major this week…but there’s still time! But I have in the past forgotten birthdays, anniversaries and more. And promised rewards to children that we didn’t have or had run out of.

    What is the bird photo of? Is that a quilt? I love it. I hope your week gets better. Forgive yourself just like you’d forgive someone else who had messed up.

  • Kim L

    I think one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made was at my last corporate job. I had recently been promoted and was in charge of the customers’ web site access. The day before I went on vacation, I thought I was fixing something but It took away all web site access to the company’s biggest customers. This resulted in me scrambling to explain myself to the VP on the phone and putting things back where they were while on vacation. It kind of ruined my trip but the new job and bosses sucked and I left a few months later anyway. BUT I still think about it all the time. I am still mad at myself years later for that one.

    As far as parenting related mistakes, I once walked away from my oldest while he was in the back of a shopping cart. A few seconds later, I heard that sickening THUD as his toddler skull bounced off the concrete floor. He was fine though and remained belted in the front after that. Also probably prevented similar falls for the triplets!

  • The Other Laura

    A few months ago, I helped plan a big mom & kids tour of our local art museum and after talking it up to all my friends and getting my own kid really excited about it. I completely spaced it out and got one of those awful “we are all here waiting for you” phone calls.

  • Mommyattorney

    God, there are so many. When I worked as a legal secretary once, I left some files stacked up beside my desk. On TOP OF THE TRASH CAN. I couldn’t figure out where they were the next day. Then it finally dawned on me that the janitors of course thought that stuff ON TOP OF THE TRASH CAN must be TRASH!!! Died.

  • Kathy

    When I was pregnant with baby #4 several years ago, I got a pretty nasty cold. And because I was pregnant, I couldn’t take any cold medicine that actually worked so I felt extra-awful. That same week was the PTA meeting at the older kids’ school. I reminded them in the morning that I was sick and wouldn’t be going to the PTA meeting and that they were supposed to ride the bus home.

    Fast forward to the afternoon… The kids didn’t get off the bus. I asked the bus driver where my kids were and she said that they had never gotten on the bus and she didn’t know where they were. I assumed they must have forgotten that I wasn’t attending the PTA meeting that day so they were probably hanging out with the other PTA kids at the school.

    I raced to the school, my 4-year-old in tow, and found my kids in the childcare room for PTA parents (a regular classroom that wasn’t in use). I was: panicked, very sick, and pregnant. Once I had retrieved my children and we had left the classroom, I kind of lost my cool and dropped the F-bomb when I was instructing my kids to pay attention when I tell them to ride the bus home. I guess the door to the room was still open and someone must have reported my language to someone… And a few days later, I received a letter from the principal reminding me that curse words are not allowed at school.

    I hope that letter didn’t go in my kids’ permanent files. Oy.

  • Katie McCollum

    My most major screwup would have to be in a personal relationship. Small things done over many years that have added up have altered what the relationship is now. What should be easier now and it in it’s stride takes effort because of the past.
    And Kim, with all the wonderful things you do and are, I can’t imagine anything that isn’t understandable. A mom juggling a job, a blog, exercising, a husband, 3 kids, and a major theatre production! I mean….wow.

  • Amber

    I totally spaced on my daughter’s play therapy appointment this week. I had a rare day off and everything! And once I got the call the next day from her therapist wondering where we had been, I remembered very clearly setting the appointment for that day the week before precisely because I had the day off. I set it up on my phone calendar and everything! And now we’re being charged $60 bucks for the no show. Bleh.

  • duchessbelle

    Oh lord, am starting to hyperventilate reading through everyone else’s and remembering my own work mistakes. Am moving and making major changes to basically every area of life possible and I’m sure I’m going to screw up something in the hundreds of things that has to get done in the next few weeks. But as noted above, hopefully it’s just a ball, not an egg. Hang in there lady!

  • Brandy

    Oh where to start…

    Well, I am currently on unemployment due to my layoff last November and am required to go to an orientation. I received the letter in the mail and put it on my calendar for Jan 5th and then completely spaced going. Then I get the letter that my unemployment is going to be suspended because I didn’t go! Blech. Got it worked out but NOT a bright day.

    With working last semester and going to nursing school full-time I spaced so many bills I can’t even tell you about. We had our electricity shut off, as well as our cable at one point. Each was turned on the same day but yes, just like a few people have pointed out that’s forgetting at LEAST 2 months worth of bills for that to happen. Again, not some of my brightest moments. Oh well. We all have them and then just have to keep on a movin’.

  • wwbd

    I’m sure I have a ton, but my ability to repress must be awesome, because I can’t think of any at the moment. I do feel that awful feeling in my tummy, so I know the examples are in there just taunting me from the depths of my repressed long term memory banks.

  • Jessica

    When I was new to my job, I got a call from a retailer telling me that we sent out the wrong product, so I told her she could keep them as a gift and I would send the correct thing. I sent out one bottle of the product without realizing she had over 3 dozen of the other size. So I essentially lost my company a good amount of money on a silly mistake!

  • G.G.R

    Hah, the one screw up that won’t ever be forgotten because my mum won’t let it happen: That time I called her and said I had a tummy bug and made her feel really bad for me… and then she realized I had drunk half of her whiskey bottle in a night. Horrific hangover. I was legal so there were no parental consequences, but goddamn EVERYTIME I see her or I meet someone new with her in tow that story comes up. I see her at least once a week. This happened 4-5 years ago. Let it gooooo.

  • Holly

    Last Sunday, my son was acting up in church so I took him out and put him in time out in a classroom. I walked out, pulling the door behind me, and it LOCKED. I locked my 2 year old in a room at church. And then I had to go pull one of the higher-ups out of the service to come unlock the door for me.

  • Rachael

    I used to work in HR and one of my responsibilities was processing payroll. One two separate occasions, I FORGOT TO PAY a new employee. As in, had to call them in to my office and explain what I’d done, and get a check cut for them… It was horrible.

  • Carolyn

    I completely forgot to pay my car insurance last month. Oh, and apparently this month. I only realized it yesterday and apparently they cancelled it on me on 1/13. Woops. i will now have to pay a *crapload* – a large enough sum that it made me cry – to get it reinstated on Monday.

    And Amanda (above) – I also work for a General Contractor in the Boston Area doing public bids, and OMG, THAT IS MY NIGHTMARE EVERY TIME I DO BIDS. If it’s any consolation, I once dq’d my company from a filed sub bid by restricting our bid to ourselves, when apparently my boss wanted it open (though he signed it after i filled it out and he did not notice when he should have looked, which was my one saving not-getting-fired grace). That was a year ago and i am still burning with shame over it. Hugs to you!

  • lisa

    I once forgot to feed my best friend’s cat for a three day vacation….and didn’t admit to it when she came home and wondered why her cat was so hungry and crazy. That was 15 years ago. I still haven’t admitted it to her.

    I JUST finished filing and shredding bills dating back nearly 8 years. I’ve moved these unsorted piles of paper to two different houses.

    I used to have late bills every single month, until I automated everything. Now it’s just the medical bills, which I don’t count, because everybody pays them late, right?

    I am a teacher, and a strict one, but I routinely let my own kid skip her Friday homework, and I never make her do her boring (semi-optional) math packets. I attend my work PTA meetings and raise a fuss, but I’ve never been to one of my daughter’s school PTA meetings. I still haven’t turned in all of her registration paperwork (I have a few months until the dental records are “due”).

    I nearly risked letting my credential lapse and losing my job because I missed a few training classes during my second year of teaching. It was my professional duty to know about these, but I didn’t know I was supposed to know. I had to make them up the following year, and it all worked out okay, but at the time I was a pregnant breadwinner, with a husband and toddler at home, and I was pretty positive my family was going to be out on the street because I was the stupidest teacher ever.

    Those are only the ones that pop to mind right now. When I get on one of my “I am the worst person ever” trains of thought, I can come up with so much more.