We all know no mom is perfect, and that each of us have our struggles, but sometimes I am pretty sure that if there were a checklist for good parenting, I would probably fail it.
A few minor examples: I give my kids ‘baths’ frequently, but only actually clean them with soap maybe once a week. I often forget that I have a second one when I get distracted dealing with the oldest one and then have to go running around trying to find kid #2. And once or twice we have had sandwiches or toast for all 3 meals in the same day. Oh, I also let my kids play with pretty much anything, including this pipe, apparently.
However, there may even be other parents nodding their heads as they read this, saying, “Oh that’s not so bad.”, so please allow me to share this list of the extra terrible parenting choices I have made in just three short years to assure you that I am, in fact, a terrible mother.
1) I hip-check my child every single time I bend over. I don’t know what my problem is, but somehow my baby always wanders up right beside me without me noticing, and I bend over pick something up and knock him over with my ever-widening backside. This honestly happens several times a day, every day. You’d think one of us would learn but so far we’re ripe to be picked for natural selection.
2) Last week, my son was standing outside the bathtub holding soaking wet facecloths that were dripping all over the floor. I only had one hand free so attempted to just knock the facecloths into the tub in one quick movement, but instead got my 3 year old and sent him tumbling backwards into the bath. Once he got over the initial shock, he wasn’t too hurt, but I had to assure him that I was going for the cloths and was in no way trying to intentionally drown him. I am unsure if he was convinced.
3) When my first son was maybe 10 months old, I was walking my dogs along a dirt road surrounded by a drainage ditch with a foot of water in the bottom of it. (yeah, you can see where this is going, can’t you?) My dogs were running in the wrong direction and I stopped the stroller and took about 5 steps away from it to call them. I didn’t put the brake on because the ground was flat and the stroller wasn’t moving. When I turned around, I discovered the ground was not actually THAT flat, because the stroller had rolled not just toward the ditch, but actually directly into it and had flipped so my child was upside down with his head hanging above the water. I ran to him and turned him upright, convinced he would be drowned, but he was totally dry, and laughing hysterically. Thank goodness for the 5 point harness on the BOB Revolution! (I love that stroller with all my heart. The brake is super easy to use, I just didn’t realize you should use it EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU STOP.
4) My 3 year old started having raging tantrums that ended up with him in tears, barely able to squeak out, ‘I. Can’t. Stop. Crying.’ through his ragged, gasping breaths. He was having 2 to 5 of these a day and I literally could not calm him or console him. He had hardly ever had a single tantrum this bad, let alone so many all at once, and I started feeling like I actually had a completely different kid on my hands. Now, that should have been a warning sign, but as you know I’m a terrible mother so I just assumed it was a new developmental phase called, ‘The Worst Thing Ever’. My only saving grace is that I was gentle about it because I had no idea what was happening. I would just hold him and rock him and eventually turn on the TV because unless we were outside and he could be distracted by something cool, TV was the only thing that I could settle him with.
I had no idea what was causing his behaviour but after the second week I was really starting to wonder if it was normal. Somewhere in there he had a mild cold. As in, a runny nose. There was no fever, and it didn’t seem to affect his mood that I’d noticed (ha!), but at the end of the 2nd week he woke up with super gunky eyes. Not pink eye, but it looked like an infection. So I took him to the Dr, who informed me the eye gunk was because his sinuses were so congested the snot was basically oozing out his eye sockets, and that he had a raging ear infection. One day after starting antibiotics I had my normal-level-tantruming 3 year old boy back and I felt awful that he must have been in such severe pain for 2 weeks that he literally couldn’t stop freaking out about existing.
5) When baby #2 was just over a year old, he woke up just before 3am screaming his adorable little head off. He had no fever and didn’t seem to be teething, so I thought it might be gas. However, all the usual settling tricks weren’t working and he was miserable. I took him downstairs trying to soothe him and was wondering if he perhaps had an ear infection because of the incident mentioned above. I had a bad cold at the time and he was slightly sniffly so it seemed possible. As it was the weekend and the following day was a holiday. I wondered if maybe I should just take him to emerg to get meds rather than wait days for a Dr’s appointment. I called 811 (our super handy Canadian nurse’s hotline) to see if there was an easy way to diagnose an ear infection in a baby, and they actually mentioned that if he seemed happier being held upright (which he did), that could be an indicator. Also, they said if a baby was crying hard for longer than 2 hours without cause I should head to the ER.
By this time, it was 5 in the morning, and so I decided a trip to emerg was in order. I took the baby upstairs to change his diaper knowing we may be in the waiting room for a long time. It was then that I saw he had pooped at some point, and the poop had caused his poor bum to be so red and raw it was actually bleeding. As soon as I cleaned him up and put some cream on his poor backside, he stopped crying and went back to sleep.
I felt AWFUL – it was a combination of having a totally plugged nose so I couldn’t smell anything and not even considering it as a possibility because he never poops during the night. Until that night, when he totally did. Still, though, the fact that I almost took my child to the hospital because he had a dirty diaper haunts me.
6) You probably should never put kids on the counter but I do it all the time because they ‘help’ me bake and cook. When they are little, I always stay right there beside them so they can’t fall off… Except for that one time when I didn’t. My son was probably only 13 months old and he was on the counter. I turned my back to drop a knife in the sink and then for some reason decided to do my dishes. I completely forgot the baby was sitting up high and just merrily went about scrubbing pots.
Then I heard him cry. I turned around and saw him sitting on his bum on the kitchen floor. At first I was confused. Had I taken him off the counter? Further thought made me pretty sure he had fallen, but how could he have landed on his backside?
Turns out that he had tried to climb down properly by turning around and lowering his feet down til they hit the ground… which worked fine til his feet didn’t touch the ground and he had to fall the last bit of distance.
See? I am a terrible mother. My saving grace is that I feel bad about all of these instances, which proves I love my kids or at least that I don’t enjoy their pain.
Please don’t call child services on me.
Have you done anything terrible that you need to confess? Let me know in the comments below.