I have mentioned before that I am a Stroller Strider. Make no mistake, this is no stroll. The trainers here mean business and as much as I vocally complain during class, I totally love it for the camaraderie, the fitness example I can set for my children and the less jiggle in my jeans than would otherwise be there post babies.
During a recent class, we had several new moms to the group. The day’s trainer came up with a fun way to distract us from the push-ups and step-ups and lunges and ab work by asking an endless number of get to know you questions. We spent the class learning each other’s favorite junk foods, movies that make us cry, trend we just can’t pull off, teen heart throbs and list toppers (you know, that list?).
Towards the end of class, she benignly asked, “What’s your worst mommy moment?” The answers started with some of the moms of the youngest babies. Cute answers emerged like, “I totally scratched my baby putting him in the car seat.” Or “I forgot to change her diaper and then wondered why she was upset at dinner.” Or “I let him cry in the exersaucer for a few minutes so I can check my email.”
I shot a look to my friend who has two kids about the same ages as mine and with whom I share my truly bad mommy moments and we giggled to each other quietly, “Just wait.”
Just wait until you yell at your child. In public. Just wait until your child is choking on a grape you gave him and you’re on the phone with 911 waiting for the paramedics to arrive. Just wait until your 5 month old falls off the bed while you’re trying to put your older child in time out. Just wait until you snap at both your kids that mommy needs quiet time. Just wait until you wonder if all your mommy moments are bad mommy moments.
But they aren’t. They happen. To all of us. And we survive them. More importantly, our children survive them. We aren’t perfect, as much as we strive to be. Our children, as much as we wish they were or expect them to be, are far from perfect, too. And that’s okay. If everything was so perfect all the time, would we laugh as hard at the malapropisms of a four year old at dinner? Would the slimy, squished avocado all over a naked baby belly and elbow and cheeks and hair be as endearing? Would the moment of quiet that descends on the house after bedtime be as peaceful? Would the glass of wine taste as delicious as it does after one of “those”days?
I like my life a little messy. I’ll own my bad mommy moments and try hard not to repeat them. God knows there will be plenty of new ones to meet me down the road.
There is a reason that people don’t pull you aside at your baby shower to clue you into the sheer number of moments you’ll feel like bad mommy. It’s because the good mommy moments are that much sweeter because of them.
So all you new moms who are feeling guilty for accidentally clipping that pesky baby nail too short or not checking on that weird cry in the middle of the night only to find your son covered in dried vomit the next morning, don’t worry. It gets worse. And it gets oh so much better.