On Accidents

When you’re mom accidents happen a lot and at random, and they are hard, but they teach you a great deal about yourself and about life. 

Sometimes you go for a walk but you accidentally forget baby’s bottle. You’re on a nice evening stroll, breathing fresh air and holding hands with your hubby because life is grand. Then poor little bubba starts crying. You pick him up to provide comfort, but you realize that he wants food not cuddles and that you’re a horrible parent because you have no food. Plus you’re a half a mile away from home and you’re walking, so getting food will take a while, and you feel you’d like to cry along with your child right about now. You swallow hard, hold baby close, and speed walk home, hoping to keep your little love semi-calm, while Husband runs with the stroller, hoping to get home for the milk a bit faster than you can. You avoid eye contact with nosy neighbors who most likely assume you have stolen this baby, and your inner thighs start to chafe, and you are reminded it’s time to start working out again. Then baby screams louder and pitifully, and your heart shatters, and you give yourself a mental slap on the wrist for thinking about yourself and not baby. You begin to wonder where the hell Husband is with the milk, but it doesn’t matter because you’re at your front steps. Husband opens the door just in time for you to rush inside. You burst into tears because baby has stopped crying, and you’re positive that he’s never going to trust you again. Husband hands you the bottle and you pop it in bubba’s mouth, and he guzzles down a few ounces and falls happily to sleep. You have just learned that you internalize blame and participate in negative self-talk and that it may be better to take deep breaths and remain calm if this situation is to ever arise again. You make a mental note to be kinder to yourself and to always check the diaper bag for backup food.

Sometimes your baby’s diaper leaks. It’s 2 am, and your shift with the baby doesn’t end for another hour. You’ve just finished feeding bubba, and he is cradled in your lap dropping peacefully back into sleepyland as you sit drowsily on your bed wishing he’d hurry. You finally lift that angleface off your lap, ever so gently, to place him back in his bassinet, when you realize his diaper is squishy and your legs are all wet. You scream vulgarities in your mind and weigh the pros and cons of ignoring a diaper leak. You feel bubba’s sleep sack, which is soaked through, and decide he must be changed, 2 am or no. Luckily the pup is a champ at quick night changes, so you lay him on his back, sound asleep, and let loose his diaper. He immediately pees and it hits you in the face and gets all over your sheets. You curse your gamble and quickly grab a rag to cover baby up. You complete the change one-handed while blocking more pee, you get bubs into a fresh onesie and sleep sack, and you marvel at his miraculous ability to sleep through a diaper change even this eventful. You lay the sweet boy down in his bassinet and crawl your weary body back into bed. Your head hits the pillow as warm wetness begins to seep through your pj shirt, and you’re too tired to care that you’re laying in baby urine. You have just learned that you cut corners when you’re tired, which just creates more work for later, and it may be better to prepare ahead of time as this situation is likely to arise again. You make a mental note to change your sheets and stain treat your mattress tomorrow.
Sometimes you drop the baby. It’s 12:10pm and you’re heading out the door for your 12:30 appointment, feeling pretty great that you’re on time. You look awesome because you’re wearing the fancy new shoes hubby bought you as a surprise. You get little bubba secured in his carrier, and, rather than wait for Husband to grab baby, you strain with the weight of baby-and-carrier and start down the stairs. You hold onto the railing and lean hard for stability, and you feel your new shoe slip and your balance tip before you’ve even begun to fall. The rest happens in slow motion, except for your terror: you lose your grip on the railing, your toe catches the edge of the stair, you pitch forward, you try to bend your elbow to secure baby-and-carrier in the crook of your left arm but your winter coat is too stiff so the carrier remains perched on the back of your wrist, you cock your left hand to keep the carrier in place, you instinctively tuck your right shoulder and bend both knees, your body crashes to the floor, you try to set baby down gently but the carrier still clatters against the hardwood, your shin knocks a stair step and your shoulder crunches against the ground so you yelp and roll to your back. Baby is silent. Husband yells down the stairs to see if you’re OK but your breath is gone and you can’t immediately answer, so he hurries down to you. Husband again demands a reply, and you gasp your answer and struggle to sit so you can check the baby. The baby coos and smiles in his seat, and you are flooded with relief  like you have never known, and pain, and you cry and wince and rub the knot on your shin. You have just learned that you sometimes try to do too much and go too fast, and that it may be better to slow down and ask for help if this situation is to ever arise again. You make a mental note to ice your bruises later tonight and to scuff up the tread on the bottom of your shoes for more traction. And to try not to drop the baby again.
As in all situations in which you feel you could have done better, you replay these scenarios in your mind, laughing off the absurdities and dissecting the concerns for deeper meaning. You make a mental note to strive to reframe your definition of accidents as “lessons” going forward, and to try to be more forgiving of the lessons baby boy, Husband, and (especially) you are sure to learn in the future. Then you eat some mint flavored Oreos (nom), and pump some breast milk, and move on, because you’re a really good mom and accidents happen.