The Story of An Average Day at My House
I’d never seen my either of my kids’ blood, minus a few scraped knees, until last week. I was working on one side of the peninsula in our kitchen, making dinner, while my son Kai sat at the counter and Sylvie was playing on the other side.
Suddenly, she was crying—a piercing “something is really wrong and it HURTS” cry that made me drop my spoon mid-stir. When I picked up my little one-year-old, I couldn’t see any obvious reasons for her pain, so I just held her while she cried for a second.
Then I noticed the blood dripping down her chin from her nose. It was starting to pool on my shirt where she’d buried her little face. She must have toddled right into the back of Kai’s chair.
Kai saw that I was momentarily FREAKED and was excited in that “something dramatic is happening!” sort of way. I tried to tread carefully in answering his questions about the unidentified substance that was coming from his sister, but it turns out he’s not afraid of blood. He now happily chatters about it while he plays, shouting things like, “Goat has BLOOD!!”
But even this little mishap wasn’t the worst thing that happened this week. Sylvie had put one of Kai’s small toys in her mouth, one that can come detached from a bigger toy and was the perfect size to get lodged in my baby’s throat.
She walked up to me rather proudly, with a small smile that was obscured by the effort to keep her mouth closed around the toy she was sucking on. (Yes, she was SUCKING on it!) I found myself yelling “SPIT IT OUT!!” as I pried open her jaws and pulled the now-forever-banned thing free. I was close to tears after that one.
For the record, I’m not making my own soap or decorating holiday-themed treats. (For St. Patrick’s Day, we got shamrock shakes instead of the delicious key lime pie bars I wanted to make.) I get really excited on days when the laundry is done, meals are made, and my kids are relatively happy.
Battle Mom Guilt with the Truth
The Bloody Nose Event (as it shall be known) got me thinking, because in that moment I couldn’t help but feel awful about missing her tumble. Even though every mom goes through these mishaps, when they happen I feel somehow like I’m the only mother on earth able to make mistakes.
I miss a few seconds when the toddler is out of sight, and in the instant something goes wrong the thought “I’m a bad mother” flits through my mind so quickly, I don’t stand a chance to stop it.
For us moms, the pain our kids go through in those moments is nothing compared to the stabbing in our hearts that bears the message we’ve failed our little ones.
Well, I’m here to remind us all that those are bold-faced LIES.
Let me just spell it out for all of us.
You are a good mom.
You love your kids.
You put their well-being first.
You are amazed at what they learn, you are dazzled by their talents, you feel a physical sting when you see them fall.
You watch with faltering strength when you leave them at church or day care or preschool.
You count every new tooth, wipe away every single tear, and clean up every last crumb.
You sing cheesy songs, dance like a fool, throw imaginary tea parties, run wildly around the house, and play endless rounds of patty cake.
You are brave for them, you cheer them on, you teach them, you pray for them, you correct their mistakes.
You do your best, and it may not be perfect, but it’s not supposed to be.
You are a good mom.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Your kids actually think you’re a good mom too.
When I see my baby’s blood, well…Newton’s Third Law is at work. My baby’s blood = moment of terror. And that’s okay, as long as every perceived failure ≠ “I’m a bad mom”. There are more of those moments to come, I know.
So I’m thinking of just fighting fire with, you know, water. Instead of adding up the small moments, I’m going to add up the great moments. Because there are a lot of those every day.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
I think if we keep repeating this, if we hold on to God and his word, maybe those brief moments of fear, guilt, and failure won’t even touch us. We’ll remember we aren’t experiencing anything new as a mother.
We’ll hold on to the truth that God gave us these little ones on purpose. And because we’re clothed with strength and dignity, we’ll be able to laugh at the smiles and tears, and the joys and mishaps to come.