How a broken printer had me feeling like a horrible mother.

27. February 2024 Gina DeNicola 0
How a broken printer had me feeling like a horrible mother.


I know it’s been a long while since I’ve written anything that didn’t have to do with contracts, emails, or a grocery list, but the broken printer in my office sent me down a video rabbit hole that I was not expecting. Once again, I found myself apologizing to my children for being an awful mom—my adult children, my adult children who will tell you they had a fantastic childhood. When I called both my kids, one of whom was on vacation and the other at her grown-up job, both told me that I didn’t need to apologize and once again confirmed their seemingly idyllic childhoods. Let me explain.

Our printer at the office has been broken for a few days, and I needed to print out some UPS labels, so I dug around my road case looking for a jump drive. Once I managed to find a jump drive, I put it into my computer, and it, seemingly innocently enough, told me there were two sets of videos on said drive. One was labeled “Alison’s preschool graduation,” and the other was labeled “Raym and Ali.” So I did what any mother would do: I clicked on the files. Alison’s preschool graduation was self-explanatory; however, as I looked at that sweet preschool face, I remembered my fight with her that morning over what she had to wear. It was an adorable sailor dress, but to say my sweet daughter hated dresses would be an understatement. Hindsight, I wish I would have let her wear whatever she wanted; that lesson wouldn’t come until later in her tiny life when I realized she and I would just be happier if I let her dress herself, and mornings were so much smoother when I learned that lesson.

The other video was a bunch of videos of their tiny lives, from birthdays to swimming lessons and t-ball games. As I sat at my desk, reliving the ’90s, my bad hair, and “mom” jeans, I could feel the stress like it was yesterday. For those new to my blog, when I was around 28 years old, and my sweet little chickens were just 3 and 4 years old, I divorced their dad. Life was hard for me, really hard. I didn’t know who I was, and I didn’t understand how to raise two little kids on my own. I did know I had to make a conscious effort to do things differently so my kids would have some normalcy, but I didn’t know how, so for the most part, I was just winging it. We would have dinner at regular times because they didn’t at their dad’s. We would walk in the front door and literally fling our shoes anywhere (which was a BAD plan and made mornings a little more complicated) because they had to be lined up in a row at their dads. You get the picture. Basically, I parented the complete opposite of their dad.

I wish 29-year-old Gina knew to be kind to herself as 57-year-old Gina does. I wish I had given myself the same amount of grace that I would give myself now. Being a parent is hard, really, really hard, but it’s even harder when you’re a kid yourself. I’m thankful my kids remember their childhood with fondness and happiness, even if I think it’s misguided. I would like to think every mother feels, for the most part, that they are winging parenthood; after all, there is no playbook or instruction manual. As parents, we are just doing the best we can. If we can remember to give ourselves a little Grace while doing it, we will hopefully look at videos from that time and smile, not feel like we have to apologize to our 33 and 32-year-old children who don’t remember history the same way. I appreciate that my sweet chickens told me I didn’t need to apologize when I called them today. I appreciate that I managed to fool them into thinking I was okay and a good mom. I appreciate that they are both in happy marriages and still want to have breakfast or lunch with me on any given Tuesday. Most of all, I appreciate myself and that I learned to be kind to all the phases of my life that have made me into this 57-year-old woman with happy kids, a happy husband, and a good life that 29-year-old Gina didn’t even know was possible.


*Picture of me and my little chickens at the height of me being clueless

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