A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to make snowman pancakes for our kids for brunch after Mass on a Sunday. I had seen the idea on Pinterest and thought they’d love it. I’m no hero, so I bought pancake mix on our next grocery trip, and let the kids know we’d be having pancakes soon! They frequently have frozen pancakes for breakfast on weekdays, so they weren’t that excited – but I was. They were going to be so cute – 3 small pancakes in different sizes with cute chocolate chip buttons for eyes, a nose, smile, and on the body. And last but certainly not least, a whipped cream scarf. Oh and powdered sugar sprinkled on top for a snowy effect. 

So Sunday comes, we get home from Mass, and I start making my snowman pancakes. I get out the varying sizes of cookie dough scoop spoons I have, and I start going to town. I quickly realized I forgot whipped cream at the store, so I panicked and found myself making homemade whipped cream for the first time. Heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar – who knew! But I’m really getting into my winter brunch creations. 

But then… the kids start fighting. I’m poking my head out to see what is going on while trying to not let my pancakes burn. I start raising my voice and threatening to take toys away. Our oldest tries to come into the kitchen and I yell at him to “GET OUT!”. To me, I didn’t want the surprise ruined. But to him, I just yelled at him to leave for no good reason. By the time I’ve made their plates, I’m angry – at the way things were going, but also at myself. I’m in a place where my patience is minimal and my temper is flaring. But I MADE SNOWMAN PANCAKES for… them?

I put their plates down in front of them and watched the surprise light up in their eyes. My daughter squealed. My son said “wait… I didn’t know you were doing this!!” And I walked back into the kitchen, grab my plate of regular old pancakes – not in snowman form – and plopped down at the table. My attitude wasn’t great, but I looked up, and saw my daughter smiling from ear-to-ear staring down at her plate. Tension immediately left my body because her smile is simply one of the best, and we had a very nice meal together. 

So often, I try to create these moments for my kids. Whether it be a surprise, or a tradition that MUST be upheld, or introducing them to something I personally love – and I let the moment be “ruined” because it’s not going how I envisioned. Looking back on the pancake brunch, I see so many places I could have been a “better” mom. I shouldn’t have yelled at them so often – their dad had it handled so why did I feel the need to yell from the kitchen? My son was just curious as to what I was doing – he had no clue I was trying to surprise him. When I decided to make snowman pancakes, while it was definitely for the kids (I really have no desire to eat snowman pancakes so I certainly wouldn’t have made them if I didn’t have kids, ha!), it was also kind of for me… as their mom. 

I wanted that “thank you mommy!” I wanted the shock value. I wanted it to be something they remembered. But in the midst of all that pressure I had put on that moment, I tarnished it because it wasn’t going how I wanted it to go for myself as the mom. This happens a lot to me, and it’s certainly something I’m working on. “Letting it go” is not a strength of mine, ha!

I’m learning more and more that just because something isn’t going how I envisioned, the moment is no less “special” in my kids’ eyes. So if you find yourself continuously trying to make moments but ruining said moment, keep trying. Your daughter is still smiling at your snowman pancake, even if you threw some snow balls in the process.