I am writing this blog post today to put it out there. I feel like things like this happen to the best of us moms, even though we try our hardest to be the best moms possible and not let anything bad ever happen to our kids. I am writing this so I can get it on “paper” and out of my head because the event I am about to describe keeps playing over and over in my head and I couldn’t sleep last night because I kept thinking about it. I’m also hoping that by putting it out there, some of you who may read this, will give me some sort of reassurance that I do not suck as a mom.
Let me begin by saying that when I was pregnant with my first child, I knew that I would love all of my kids and I was so excited to be a mom. I knew that they would be my world and my every day would be so much better because I had created these little beautiful creatures. What I did not expect was the toll having kids would take on the levels at which I was able to feel emotions and empathy. I used to be able to watch a movie, tv show, or news story, or even read a detailed book, that included a part about a kid who’s gone missing or had something even more tragic happen to them. I would feel bad and get emotional (I still had a heart back then), but it wouldn’t really affect me. Since having kids, this has TOTALLY changed. I cannot watch or hear about anything happening to any kids now without having a total panicky emotional response. I cant even explain it. I get too anxious, feel too much for the parents, and internalize everything happening about what I am watching or reading onto myself and my family. It is nuts and it is one thing I did not expect to happen once I became a mom. SO MANY FEELS! For example, I had to stop watching The Walking Dead because any time Judith was in a scene, my heart couldn’t take the fact that she might not make it. I just couldn’t.
To layer on top of that, all of the anxiety and emotional parts of being a mom have been exaggerated during this pregnancy. I have been even more cautious about my kids getting hurt and even more anxious when we go anywhere or do anything. I’m worried about someone swooping in and taking them while we are at a splash pad, or they are going to have a freak accident and something horrible is going to happen to them. I want to wrap them in bubble wrap and never leave the house.
Last night I was having a really great night with Jacek. He was being so silly and cute and a snuggle bug. I brought him up stairs at bed time and we settled into his room. I was so excited because I got him the cutest new pajamas that were washed and ready to wear! I laid him down to change his diaper, tickled his belly a few times, and began to undress him. Once I got his diaper off, I noticed his bottom was a little red. I had some baby balm in my room that I knew would do the trick and soothe him! I left him in his room, shut the door, and quickly ran to my room to grab the balm. I was literally gone for like 15 seconds. As I was running back to his room, the little bugger had opened his bedroom door, and ran over to the steps. I didn’t shut the baby gate when we came up. Then, in slow motion, he took a step down the stairs. I tried launching myself to grab him (as much as a pregnant woman in her third trimester can launch herself), but I was not quick enough. Jacek fell down the 17 stairs right in front of me as I watched helplessly. And he did not just like stumble down. He flipped, went airborne, got caught on his neck on one step, flipped more, over and over again. All I could see was his scared face one second and his little bare bottom tumbling over again and again. It was like my heart stopped. I rushed down crying. Then Mark, MK, and Harlow ran to grab him at the bottom. Jacek was crying inconsolably in Mark’s arms, and Mark looked at me and shouted, “Why didn’t you shut the gate!?!?” Ugh, another dagger into my already broken heart. Why didn’t I shut the gate? I kept playing the what if’s over and over again in my head. I should’ve shut the gate. I was a horrible mom. My beautiful boy could be hurt physically; emotionally scarred for life that his mom didn’t protect him and shut the damn gate.
We checked Jacek over, and he seemed fine. Nothing looked broken, he could move his neck just fine, and once he calmed down, he was acting like his fun silly self. I, on the other hand, could not stop crying. And, when I cry, Harlow cries. She kept asking me what was wrong, and I had to tell her that I felt so sad that I didn’t shut the gate and it was my fault Jacek fell down the stairs. Here is where Harlow stepped in and made me feel like I must be doing something right with my kids. My sweet Harlow, grabbed my hand and said “Mom, tomorrow, you can put Jacek to bed and shut the gate. Then he wont fall down the stairs and everything will be ok! Don’t cry, you can do that tomorrow!” So much wisdom and compassion from a 3 year old.
Mark and I ended up putting Jacek to bed together once everything calmed down. I don’t know if Mark came up to help because I was still crying and he wanted to lend a helping hand, or if it was because he didn’t trust me with our kid anymore. I ended up snuggling with Jacek extra long and reading him extra books because my mom guilt was at a record high. He was going to be fine, but was I? I try my best to be a good mom. I will never say I am perfect, but sometimes being imperfect sucks and makes me cry.
****PS. Mark apologized this morning for his comment about not shutting the gate. I told him I probably would’ve asked him the same thing in that moment of panic.****