Social media has opened up the door for self righteous moms to judge each other over the silliest things. Strangers give their critiques on anything and everything and have no shame in declaring it for everyone on Facebook to see. These keyboard warriors hide behind their computers and criticize over things they would never say to another parent in person. This puts even more pressure on the difficult job of parenting, and can cause a lot of stress for any mom or dad. I have gotten a lot of negative feedback because my almost three year old isn’t potty trained yet. What those know it alls actually don’t know at all is that study after study shows that rushing or forcing a child to potty train before they are ready can have an incredibly negative impact on their behaviors and habits short term and long time. Regardless, their comments still get to me and I wonder if it’s something I’m doing wrong.
Even without other people’s judgements and negativity, often times we are hardest on ourselves. This is true especially when it comes to parenting fails. I’m in a wonderful chat group with a few amazing moms on Instagram, and just a few days ago, one mom vented to us how she felt like the worst mom ever because her son rolled off of the bed. All of us other moms did our best to reassure her that she wasn’t a bad mom and that these things happen! We each shared our own parenting fail in hopes that she would accept that the one incident didn’t define her as a mother. Now, here I am just a few days later, needing those same encouraging words from my mama friends. After a close call where Roen could’ve been seriously hurt, I felt like I failed him as a mom, and that I couldn’t do one of the most important jobs of parenthood, protect him. A car was backing out of a small parking lot that I underestimated as being dangerous, and Roen’s tiny body was directly behind it. It was the one time I didn’t make Roen hold my hand around cars. My hands were full and the lot was nearly empty, so I instructed Roen to run ahead to daddy who was watching us walk towards him to where he was set up in a parking space catering outside of a small business. One of the few times I needed to react quicker than ever before, I didn’t. It felt like a dream, or nightmare, where I couldn’t make my body move fast enough. Instead of me coming to his rescue, another mom swooped Roen up in time. I was screaming for the car to stop, but it also didn’t occur to me that the car wouldn’t stop. My brain just wasn’t really processing what was happening. Luckily, the car backed out slowly enough for someone to get over there to block it from moving any further. Immediately after, my whole body hurt and my hands got shaky. I was still trying to wrap my head around what happened, how it happened, and why I was completely useless in that moment. Why didn’t my motherly instincts kick in to drop everything and run screaming and place my body between Roen and the car? As soon as I realized how bad it could’ve been if that car hadn’t stopped, I couldn’t stop crying. Roen had no idea what had just happened and kept kissing me to help me feel better. I’ve been a mess all day, so I seeked validation from others in hopes that it was okay to make a mistake, and that it didn’t define me as a mother. Now, as I accept that I can’t change what happened, and that we’re fortunate that Roen didn’t get hurt and that other adults were around to react faster than me, I have to move forward and document it as a lesson learned, and to be even more aware of our surroundings and ALWAYS make Roen hold my hand in parking lots, no matter if there’s 50 cars or zero. And I also probably won’t let him out of my sight till he’s thirty….
All in all, every mom and dad has a story they can tell you where something bad happened, or almost happened under their watch. We have to stop pointing fingers at other parents, and when it is necessary to say something to another mom or dad for the safety of a child, we need to say it with love. As parents, we need to build each other up whenever we can, because it’s a hard job! I’m so thankful for the group of women I have, who lift me up when I’m down and let me know that I’m a good mom. I think every parent needs this kind of support system, for their own sanity! We all need reassurance at some point or another. And in our own heads, we have to remember that we’re human, and while striving to do and be better each day, we must forgive ourselves for when we do make mistakes.