It’s all Momma’s Fault

Posted on | May 27, 2010 | 15 Comments

I took yesterday off work to stay home with my miserably sick kid.

And I really took the day off. I didn’t even make the slightest effort to work from home. I never put on work clothes. I didn’t put on make up. I DID take a shower, but mostly because J had a massive poop this morning and the stench was … everywhere. I needed a safe harbor for a while.

I’d like to say that my day was just glorious but it wasn’t. Around 11:30 I took J back to the bedroom to change his diaper. I’ve started using the bed rather than the changing table because he wiggles so much that it gives us both a little more room. His diaper was… gross. He’s been having blow out poops since he first got sick. I like to think it’s his way of getting the germs out. It got all over me, as per usual these days, and I went to put the diaper in the Diaper Genie.

Lest you think I was blatantly neglecting my child, rest assured that the Genie sits about half a step from the bed. It’s really more of a reach than a step. I was actually still getting the words “Let Momma throw away this diaper” when I heard it.

It was a loud cry and I turned around just in time to see my sweet little boy sideways in the air, headed for the hardwood floor.

Oh. My. God. The sound alone made me want to throw up. He hit the ground hard, y’all. Right on his right side. I didn’t cry. He did. I swooped him up before he’d barely had time to think about what happened and to be honest, he was completely fine with no tears at all in less than two minutes.

About the time his tears stopped, mine started. I was hysterical. How could I have been so stupid!? I knew he was mobile! I knew he liked to flirt with the edge of the bed! How could I have let this happen? It took the better part of an hour for me to calm down and longer than that for me to actually take my hands off J and let him have some time to himself. I did what any self-respecting first time mom would do, and called Dr. Bob’s office bawling my eyes out. The nurse was kind enough to a) not laugh at me and to b) tell me that she was sure J was fine. She told me to just make sure he didn’t favor one arm or the other and to make sure he didn’t vomit. Cue me watching J like a hawk the rest of the day. He threw up all over me, but he’s been doing that pretty regularly. I’m hoping it’s the regular kind of vomit and not the “something is wrong with him because I’m a bad mom” kind of vomit. Seeing as how he is happily bouncing away in his chair, I am hoping nothing is wrong.

But his fall really got me thinking. Maybe all kids blame everything on their moms because we blame everything on ourselves. I am still 100% convinced that I am a bad mom for letting J roll off the bed. Even after almost everyone I know has told me it happened to them. Even after my own mother told me I was being too hard on myself. I still believe that I failed somehow as a mom in the 1.3 seconds it took for him to hurl himself towards the floor.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Does it have to do with the whole “creation” thing? As in “I created this little being so it is my sole responsibility to ensure his every happiness and safety?” Is it a control thing? Do we just want to exert some semblance of control over their worlds to establish that we can, in fact, control their worlds? I don’t have the answer. What I do know is that every time my kid gets hurt, I immediately think I could have prevented it.

And maybe I could. Maybe I could put him in a little plastic bubble and only feed him pre-tested organic foods, give him no medicines or every kind of medicine depending, allow him to only wear organic cotton and force him to stay in the shade when he’s outside and wear 80 SPF sunblock. Maybe I can scare him into guarding his heart so he doesn’t let anyone close to him so he never has to have his heart broken. Maybe I can keep him from playing sports, and playing with friends, and playing with water.  Maybe I can teach him that cars are dangerous and walking even more so. Maybe I can just shoot for having an agoraphobic son. But would I want that? Would any mother want that for her son? Would I really want to raise him in a world where I controlled everything? Where I had the power to control what, if anything, ever caused him pain or joy or sorrow or delight?

I can say with certainty that I do not want that kind of power. I want to raise my son to be cautious but not fearful. I want him to be careful, not cavalier, and adventurous without being reckless. I’m going to try to understand that things happen. That people get hurt… even “my” people. And it’s not always my fault.

That’s not to say that him falling off the bed wasn’t my fault. It totally was.

Oh well. Baby steps, right?


15 Responses to “It’s all Momma’s Fault”

  1. parentinginprogress
    May 27th, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

    Hugs, it can be scary when that happens, but it does happen to all of us (if someone's reading this and thinking "ha, not me!" that just means it hasn't happened to you YET) and it's normal to beat yourself up about it for a while. But it really is ok.

    And you're right, we can't protect them from everything in the whole world for their whole lives, nor should we want to. Think of all things that have happened to you in life that made you who you are. Don't you want those opportunities for growth for your child? Of course!

  2. Little Bishops
    May 27th, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

    I know how scary that is. And you are totally not alone…either in being the parent on whose watch it happened or in how you feel about it. We, as mothers, beat ourselves up but I'm learning (after 4 kids ages 4-9) that kids are tougher than we think. My oldest as a baby (maybe 3 months) went down from a HIGH bed to a concrete floor, smacking her head into the floor. I was more upset than she was…and I'm a screamer! And our third went down the stairs (slid really) before she was even crawling…to this day I have NO idea how she got there!!

    Hang in there and try not to be too hard on yourself. Someday you'll look back and be able to tell that story with a smile. I promise! Either that, or I'm just really one psycho mom who thinks it's funny that my kid slid all the way down the stairs BEFORE she was mobile!

  3. Dr. Mommy
    May 27th, 2010 @ 2:34 pm

    How about this one? I'm a pediatrician and I left my 5 month old on the changing table and ran across the room to grab an outfit for her, leaving my 3 year old with her hands on the baby to prevent her from rolling off. Of course, as I bent down to open the drawer, something told me to look up and I saw my baby flying head first off the changing table toward the hardwood floor. My 3 year old had no idea what to do and I shouldn't have left her in charge (she's a good kid with a good head on her shoulders, but that was stupid of me). I bounded across the room and caught her by the leg as she pretty much hit her head on the floor. I was a mess, and my poor 3 year old was upset thinking she had done something wrong. The baby was absolutely fine, thank God. And if your son made it through the day and overnight without any issues, he should be fine too.

  4. Diana
    May 27th, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

    I'm glad he (and you!) are ok. Your post made me think – where IS it ok to draw the safety line with a baby? You know? It has to be done, we can't possibly protect and shield them from everything, but when do we draw the line and say, "Good enough?" And then if something happens because of that, we are ok with it.

    I don't know. I feel like because I'm home with Bella everything has to be perfect otherwise I'm a failure and a lazy mom. It's nervewracking.

    J will be ok, you've got a sturdy little guy there. ((hugs))

  5. Nikki
    May 27th, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

    And I think sometimes hearing the "it happens" makes it worse, because I just want to scream, but it doesn't have to, when knowing, it does happen and will happen. When the babe got a staph infection, I went crazy with quilt thinking I was a bad mother, that I had a dirty house and worse, that I didn't clean my kid. There is only amount of blame we can take on for ourselves. Too much will cause us to go insane. You're a great mother, don't forget that.

  6. Karen
    May 27th, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

    First off, a big hug to you. I am so sorry, it happens to the best of us. I am glad to hear everything is OK though. Please try not to beat yourself up, it happens.

    I am glad I found your blog, it is adorable. I am one of your newest followers and tweeters!!! If you get a chance, please check me out, I love meeting new Mom's through the blogging and tweeting world!

    Take care and hopefully you are having a better day.


  7. Steph
    May 27th, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

    As I told you yesterday on Twitter, that has happened to me. My son did it TWICE once to me and once to his dad! We lived in an apartment with threadbare carpet and no padding. I about died. I beat myself up for months over it and he was fine. He didn't even really cry.

    Right around the time Elizabeth turned two she was playing on my bed. I am happy to report she never fell off the bed, BUT she was playing on my bed and I told her to get down and stop jumping on the bed twice. It was clear she wasn't going to listen so I went to reach for her and she went to move out of my reach and she bashed her mouth on my husband's chest of drawers. The screaming was immediate as was the blood. (Mouth injuries bleed like a mother just in case you didn't know that yet). After I got her settled down I got a good luck and she'd put both her front teeth through her lip. Off to the ER we went. It took three stitches on the outside of her lip and 6 inside. I cried for a week. She's my second and it really was an accident and I still could not get over it.

    Joey's worst injury happened at school, not on my watch but that didn't make it any better.

    Anyway, my point is, all kids get hurt, some worse than others and all moms blame themselves whether we were even there or not. Feel bad for a while because you're going to anyway no matter what we say, but then forgive yourself because NO mom is perfect even if she plays the perfect mom on TV.

  8. Tiffany
    May 27th, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

    It happens to everyone at some time or another. Do not worry about it. He is okay, you are okay and that is what is important.

    For me, I am much more laid back with my second than I was my first. I'm not sure baby-proofing will even happen in this house. We will watch closely and she may fall…

    You are an amazing mom. Seriously amazing. xoxo

  9. Not There Yet
    May 27th, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

    My Mom tells us that all of her kids, at one time or another, has fallen off the kitchen island! There are four of us. We are all fine. It happens. Perhaps it is what we all have in common!

  10. KLZ
    May 27th, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

    Terror is what makes us do it.

    Because if we can't protect them when they're two inches from us, how can we ever protect them?

    Terror, not control or being a failure. Terror and love.


  11. karma-dee
    May 27th, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

    Of course you feel guilty, it's a survival instinct. If you didn't your baby would be rolling of the bed left and right. It happens to all of us one way or the other. Don't feel guilty about feeling guilty.

    I don't think there's a right or wrong way to protect your kid (or not) as long as it doesn't translate into gross neglect or recklessness. Each of us has to find our comfort zone with this. We'll all slip up here and there, learn from our mistakes and move on.

    I'm glad the little guy is okay!

  12. Alexmommy626
    May 27th, 2010 @ 8:58 pm

    Totally not your fault! and like you said, he was done crying in two minutes so he was fine. Its more the initial shock of having fallen that makes them cry than anything; And Yes, its completely normal for you to cry, he is your little guy after all, but remember you are an amazing mommy! Lots of Love!

  13. Megan (Best of Fates)
    May 27th, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

    Don't feel bad – you're clearly an awesome mom. And I fall off my bed all the time, with no real consequences!

  14. Emily
    May 27th, 2010 @ 11:54 pm

    I know just how you feel. I'm glad J is OK!

  15. metta1313
    May 28th, 2010 @ 4:36 am

    So glad J is ok…but yeah, I don't know if we were close friends in another life, but I totally have that whole feeling responsible for everything/needing to control thing going on. I think it's part of the "mommy" thing. So yeah…lots and lots of hugs to you!

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