There's always someone doing way worse of a job parenting than you.... Last week, Pen tripped and fell into the side of her toy box. She hit her face just right and it broke the skin near her eye. Thankfully, it didn't need stitches, but the blood, it gave me a mild heart attack. I knew it was only a matter of time. I was standing right there; walking right behind her as we headed to her room to read a few books before bedtime. I felt like I could have caught her, or done something to prevent it. I didn't cry, not at first, but eventually the severity of the situation caught up to me. Not only that it could have been worse, but that it's going to happen again. That next time will be worse, and that I just have to come to terms with it, because there's always someone doing a way worse job of parenting.
This is a sentence I tell myself daily. Some days I may be mentally and emotionally exhausted. Some days dinner is takeout. Some days I just can't move after my butt has molded itself into those couch cushions. I think we can put an unrealistic expectation to be at the top of our game in the journey of parenting. Sure, we're trying to do a million and one things this year, so my brain works overtime even when I'm asleep, but a part of me felt let down.
Just when I was starting to accept that feeling overwhelmed was ok, she took another tumble. This time she somehow fell behind the couch and it was like I was watching it in slow motion and when I saw her feet sticking up from behind the couch and heard the crying, I threw the food that was in my hand and super woman-ed her from between the wall and the couch and expected to see blood, because, it's just been one of those weeks.
She stopped crying the moment I pulled her out, and I was more shaken up than anything. Especially after last week's toy box conundrum. I asked her what on Earth she thought she was doing, and she answers "see babies," which means she heard these really bad 10 year-olds running outside. That's an apartment tale for another day.
I pulled one of those insane mom movies and kept insisting to myself that she had to have some sort of a cut, a bruise, a scrape, from the fall. There was nothing, but I continued to pick at her head like a chimpanzee for the next few hours. The evening continued with some typical toddler behavior. Joshua and I were both worn down. We managed to team up, I bathed her, he helped her brush her teeth and washed her hands, and the three of us crowded around her toddler bed.
She loves reading, but she had been very mean to both of us, so I told her she only got one book tonight instead of the usual 5+. We read, and as I gave her good night kisses I obsessively searched her face, head, and arms for lumps, bumps and bruises. Then, out of no where, she started singing "Hello," by Adele, and Joshua and I just lost it. I mean, clearly she was fine. We kissed her goodnight, did a few shadow puppets in the light of the night light, and closed the door.
I looked at him for a second as we both tirelessly plopped to the couch. We have such a happy child. We're trying to buy a home for her. Where she has a yard. Where she has space. We're thinking ahead and looking into school systems and parks. We're doing all of this and more and I let myself feel like a bad parent, because my child is wired to be accident prone? For real, she has no fear, that's bad. There is always someone doing a worse job at parenting their kids, and it's ok to not have a home cooked meal and linens on your table every night. It's ok to feel like you're losing it and ok to have no idea what day of the week it is sometimes. It's all too funny to me now, as an adult, because I remember my parents this way. I remember them sleep deprived, young struggling parents and that's what I have become. We learn. We grow up. We move toy boxes to other sides of the room and push couches closer to the wall. Like my parents, Joshua and I got this.