I was talking to a friend of mine who is a first time mom. She was worried that she was making mistakes and ruining her wee son. I laughed and told her to relax. I said that I'm sure she was doing just fine and even if she wasn't, the kid won't remember anything before the age of three anyway, so she's good.
I had a friend who lived by those words when her firstborn was little. She said it was the only consolation she had after a long day of parental screw ups. I thought she was nuts ... and then I became a parent. I soon realised that despite your best efforts there are a million things that can, and do, go wrong in a day when you are dealing with the unknown factor of infancy, toddlerhood and childom. Don't believe me? Here are a few Stellar Parenting Moments by Me, The Random One ...
~When Dude was 18 months old we moved him into a 'big boy' bed. It was a hand-me-down bed from a cousin but it did the job. About a week after the big move, Dude was still having trouble adjusting to the change. Almost every night he ended up in hysterics. Frustrated, I finally convinced Mr. Awesome to just let Dude cry it out. We checked in on him a couple of times, and despite all his tears and carrying on, the little guy was still laying down on his bed. It took a while but Dude finally settled down.
When we went to bed a couple of hours later, we stopped in to check on Dude. It wasn't until we were right next to his bed that we realised why he was crying so hard. The poor little guy was sleeping with his head resting against the wall, stuck between the two horizontal bars on the headboard! When we tried to get him out we realised that his head was too big to slip back through the bars so we had to pull the bed out and slide his the rest of his body through the bars. We were laughing so hard but the Lil' Dude slept through the whole thing!
~One morning when Crafty was about four months old I was reclining in bed, nursing her. We were relaxing and enjoying a little peace when Dude started to flip out over something. I carefully laid the sleeping Crafty on my bed, lined the edge of the bed with pillows and went to find Dude. I was gone from the bedroom for less than 10 minuted but when I returned Crafty was gone.
At first glance, the pillows looked undisturbed and I could not figure out what had happened. When I looked closer I discovered one pillow had a tiny indented channel in it. I ran around the bed, expecting to see my infant on the floor but nothing. Nothing was there. I was starting to panic when I dropped on my hands and knees and started looking under the night stand and bed. The first lift of the bed skirt revealed nothing, so I crawled to the foot of the bed and looked again. There she was, under the bed, happily sucking on her toes, completely unphased by her travels.
~Mischief was about three years old the rainy morning we set out to pick Crafty up from school. It was spring and it had been raining for days and their were huge puddles, lakes really, all over the neighborhood. During our walk down the street I had repeatedly told Mischief that he may NOT jump, run or do any tricks in the puddles, it was much too cold to get soaked. When we got to the school the teacher asked to talk to me so I asked a friend to keep an eye on Mischief while I ran inside.
Fifteen minutes later I emerged from the school and asked my friend where Mischief was. She looked around, confused. He had been there just a minute ago. I quickly scanned the playground, focusing on all of his favourite hiding spots. No Mischief. Puzzled but not surprised, I started walking around the playground, looking over and under each play structure, calling his name. Suddenly, I heard a squeaky, "Here I am!" coming from behind the playhouse. I rounded the corner and there he was, my Mischief, sitting in a muddy puddle, water up past his waist. "I'm not jumping!" he declared, so proud of his obedience.
After each of these incidents, and the thousands of similar parenting moments in between and after, I have doubted my ability as a mother. Who am I to be trusted to care for another human being?! Clearly I am not qualified! But once the dust settles and the kids are found, unstuck and bathed, I remember that all parents have days like this from time to time. I tell myslef that it'll be fine, and it always is.
The kids are older now and we have fewer grand scale screw ups than we did when they were younger. It still happens, just less frequently. When it does happen I take a deep breath, and sometimes a picture, and remind myself that these days won't last forever ... for better or for worse.
So, the next time you are knee deep in a stellar parenting moment I just want you to remember this, we all have these moments, all three of my kids survived and ... they remember nothing!
Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed. ~Linda Wooten