My Convertible Life

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday's Five: Motherhood is Hard

Today's Friday's Five takes a different approach -- not favorites this time, but still a list of five things you might need to hear. Or that I, at least, need to get off my conscience.

A friend called me a few weeks ago and I knew the minute I heard her voice that something was wrong. Long story short, her 1-year-old daughter had fallen down the stairs, she was panicked about what to do and immediately called me. Why me? I'm not a nurse, pediatrician or doctor of any sort -- but I am a mom who had done something we moms don't do often enough. I had admitted to my friend, about a year ago, that Pippi had fallen down our stairs -- so I was the first person my friend thought to call.

In our ongoing efforts to be Super Mom (and Super Wife, Super Friend, Super Daughter, Super Sister and Super Employee, all rolled into one), I think we often forget (or are afraid) to confess our disasters to friends who need to know that we're not as perfect as we're trying to be. But the truth is, none of us is alone in these failings -- and it's so much easier to bear when we know that.

So when Pippi fell down the stairs that day -- after she had stopped crying and I had recovered from the agony of watching her tumble and bounce 14 times onto the (faux) wood floor, racing behind her but unable to catch her -- I called my friend, told her the story, and said, "One day, this, or something like it, is going to happen to you and Baby L. And you will cry and gnash your teeth and think that you are a bad mother. And then you will remember this conversation, you will remember that it happened to me, and you will know that babies with very good mommies still sometimes get bumps and bruises."

It turned out that Baby L, just like Pippi, was fine -- and it took both of us moms much longer to recover than it did our daughters. But after the fact, Baby L's mom reminded me what an important gift of friendship it was to know we are not alone in our less-stellar parenting moments.

And now, in the spirit of friendship, five failings in my 4+ years of motherhood so that maybe you'll feel less alone in yours:
  1. Pippi fell down the stairs: I think we've covered that story, but it was totally my fault and I can still see her face as she fell. Thank goodness she has such a hard head.
  2. Junius fell off the bed: He was probably about 18 months, jumping on my bed. I reached to grab him, he thought we were playing chase and tumbled off the side, hitting his head on the table on his way down. A heart-breaking sound.
  3. Pippi fell off the couch: She was less than 6 weeks old. I don't know how she wiggled off, but she did. Face plant on the hardwood floors. Even as a second-time mom, I was terrified that I had broken her forever.
  4. Junius rode in the car unbuckled: He was a few months old, riding in his infant car seat snapped into the stroller through the mall. I unbuckled him to nurse while we were shopping, then put him back in. When we got home, I realized I never clipped the seat belt back and had driven home that way. The "what-ifs" nearly drowned me.
  5. Pippi ran into the parking lot: We were at the N.C. Farmer's Market with friends, all four kids playing so nicely. Suddenly, my friend shouts Pippi's name and I realize she's somehow about to step into traffic. Don't know how she got there, but I nearly broke my ankle racing to snatch her out of the road. Took hours for my heart rate to slow back to normal.
I am so thankful that all of these disasters had happy endings. I'm touching, knocking and pressing on wood now in hopes that I haven't jinxed myself. Feel free to leave comments of your own moments to share, but find solace in knowing you're not alone.


  1. Yep. Done all of that. And thankfully we're all still alive. Me with more wrinkles and just a couple of grays ;-)

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Honestly, I have tears in my eyes. How many times have I failed to be the super _______ (fill in the blank) that I so desire to be!? Even as I write this, I am late for Jeffrey's soccer game. The game to which I volunteered to bring snack. This post was just what I needed to hear.

  3. Great post. 4 out of 5 for me, but it's only a matter of time, I think.

  4. I too am guilty of several of these and of course I often stress about all the emotional scars I am creating. However my mother assures me that she yelled at us and I don't remember that at all.

  5. Okay, true confessions. I dropped baby daughter #2 on her head. Yes, head first. The good news is she survived and went on to graduate from college (21 years later).

  6. Great post! This is something my Sister In Law and I talk about (she's a Life Coach that specializes in new parent coaching). No one tells you how hard it is and that you will not be perfect. It's hard because you want to be SuperWoman but that's unrealistic. We all need to support each other in this crazy mommyhood journey!

  7. Agreed...this is a great blog post and should be distributed far and wide.

    I'm only 4 months into this parenthood adventure, but have already pulled the "unclasp the car seat straps and forget to re-clasp for the ride home" maneuver.

    As for the head bumps...please tell me you have seen the new ABC sit-com called Modern Family. Last week, the gay brother and his partner plowed their adopted baby daughter's head into the ceiling while dancing to disco with her. The parental panic, self doubt, and rush to the doctor's office were so true and yet SO very funny!


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