Last Sunday morning I found my 11 month old, Annabelle, eating toilet paper… out of the toilet (I know), and on Tuesday she fell off the changing table while my head was turned and broke her collarbone. Layer on Marshall’s seemingly relentless tantrums and refusal to go to sleep at night, and I’m feeling like a seriously bad mom.
Of course I can take a step back and see that accidents happen and toddlers will be toddlers but there’s no denying the emotional pain of that nagging voice inside your head that berates you for every little thing you’ve done wrong.
The truth is that I’m still in it and I’m sure I will have a lot to say on this in the future, but here’s the first three steps I’m taking:
- I’m owning that I don’t want to feel like a bad mom. This is not necessarily the same as being a “good mom”. I am dedicated to finding that mix of striving to do my best and honoring that f**king up is a big part of the ride. And I want this to go beyond intellectual understanding and really getting this in my core.
- I reached out to my peeps and was honest. I told them not only about what happened but how I was feeling. I outed myself. The more I heard myself say I felt like a bad mom, the louder the part of me that knows I’m great became. My friends told me stories about how they swore at their kid the night before or how their parents put them on the counter at a young age only to have them fall off (and they survived! and still love their mother!). It’s funny how we can easily see other people’s foibles as understandable and yet we rarely extend the same compassion to ourselves.
- I’m learning from my kids. Annabelle was a mess right after she fell, not wanting to let go of me for a second. Even though it was hard to tell what was wrong and part of me thought she was just rattled and not hurt, I took her into the ER later that morning to get her checked out. Once we left the hospital in a little mesh tube top to keep her arm still (no cast needed), she was all smiles. I of course, was a wreck and being hyper protective, but she kept squirming out of my arms wanting to get on with her life. Without the use of one of her arms, crawling was nearly impossible so she got to work figuring out how to get around. The next day she was scooting around on one knee and one foot. Here’s a video of her getting around.
By Thursday she was teaching herself how to walk. And now, just one week later, she is fully walking. I’ve always been told that kids are resilient, but to watch it in action has been so humbling. I feel like I’m watching the raw magic of the human spirit: feel your feelings, let it go, and make life even better than it could have been before. I’m taking serious notes.
So I’m here, loving myself through the ups and downs and wishing you the space and understanding to do the same.
And because we can never hear it enough, you’re a great Mom, and I hope you take pride that your kid didn’t eat toilet paper out of the toilet this week.
When was the last time you felt like a bad mom? What did you do to make yourself feel better? Please tell us in the comments.
And if you know a mom who struggles with this, or needs a community of women who will take her exactly as she is, please forward her this email. I’d love to welcome her to the fold.