Whenever I make a parenting blunder, two of my colleagues try to make me feel better by sharing tales of their parenting mishaps. They said they had an ironic Mom of the Year competition and welcomed me into this club. Previously, I didn’t feel like I truly earned this title because my missteps seemed small, but that changed recently when we found ourselves headed to the hospital and it was my fault.
We were rushing out the door to school/work and I accidentally slammed my toddler's fingers in the car door. With my mommy hat on, I swept him up and showered him with kisses, hugs, and apologies. With my doctor hat on, I assessed the damage and decided that he needed an x-ray. As we drove to the hospital, he put his ice pack on his fingers and repeated “my boo-boo,” making my heart break even more. Yes, mommy gave you a boo-boo. Mom of the Year, I thought.
Luckily, nothing was broken and we left the hospital with 2 stickers and a smiling toddler. I, however, had fractured my mommy confidence. It helped that when I arrived at work, there were plenty of other mommies who shared similar stories and reassured me that even good moms make mistakes. When I picked up him up at the end of the day, he seemed completely recovered and I breathed a sigh of relief. He stroked my hair and said, “my mommy,” and I knew that whether Mom of the Year or not, I was his mom and he loved imperfect me.
[A version of this post appeared previously at Mommy Call on 3/6/13.]