Forgiveness

I really appreciate the comments and emails regarding the last few posts. A lot of this is easier for me to write than it is to say out loud, but getting feedback on it is the hardest part. It’s like, you think you have something figured out and then someone comes in and completely sets your plan on its head. Or just gives you a perspective you didn’t have and makes you feel a whole different way about everything. It’s tough, but ultimately good.

A lot of you suggested, rightly, that I need to forgive myself and remember that accidents happen. And on many levels, I agree with you on this. But I think one of the reasons I can’t brush Eli’s injury and this most recent tumble off is because they weren’t really accidents.

To me, there’s a difference between an accident and a mistake, and it’s an important distinction. Eli falling off the bed was a mistake. He never should’ve been on the bed or anywhere near the edge. I put him there, knowing the potential consequences. It was a mistake. Eli falling down the stairs was another mistake. I should’ve been watching him, especially in a house with that many easily accessed stairs. I dazed off for a few seconds and it happened. Those were mistakes. They were preventable and predictable, not the work of chance, but the work of poor decision making.

This doesn’t mean that I’m going to beat myself up for all eternity (at least not intentionally) for those mistakes, but I also can’t just shrug them off as if they were not a big deal. And distinguishing them from accidents does make it easier for me to punish myself in a way, but it also makes me feel like I’m not doomed to have these things happen over and over again. If what happened to Eli was a mistake, then I can do better next time. If it was an accident, then there’s nothing I can do.

I realize I’ve been too hard on myself, that I’ve been very negative toward myself and my parenting skills. I think a big part of it is because when I thought of what a good mom was, I thought of something that didn’t exist. In my mind, a good mom is loving, sacrifices everything, keeps her kids safe and sets good boundaries. They do everything right and nothing wrong. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that this kind of mother doesn’t exist. She just doesn’t.

I love this child more than I have ever loved anything, and with an intensity that I didn’t even know was possible. I would walk to the ends of the earth for him, there is literally nothing I wouldn’t do. And I think that is what should really be the definition of a good mother. I am going to make mistakes, I know this, I have already made many, but I’m guided by love for my child and I am learning each day from these mistakes.

I know that I need to be gentler to myself, to be more positive and more forgiving, and I want to, I truly do. But I’m finding it much harder than it sounds. Even when I consciously decide to try harder to be positive and gentle with myself, my subconscious doesn’t always get on board. I know that all of this is going to take time, and it really is something I’m working on.

I want Eli to see a mother who is happy, healthy and who loves him dearly. I don’t want him to see the worries or regrets. I think I’ve done an okay job of keeping those things from him, but I know that as he grows older, I need to try harder. I need to do better and be better and if I can’t do it for myself, I am going to have to do it for him.

4 Responses to “Forgiveness”

  • This place, where you need to be gentler, more positive, more forgiving to yourself – you will get there. You will. Eli knows how much you love him. And you’re a wonderful mother. There is no such thing as a perfect mother, you’re right. But you ARE the perfect mother for your son, no matter what mistakes and accidents have taken place in the past. Your intense love for Eli shines through in your words. Keep believing that you will get to that “better place,” because you really will find a way to get there. Many hugs your way, Katie. You’re doing great.

    [Reply]

  • Jamie:

    Keep on trucking, Katie <3 The more often you're gentle on yourself the more it will become a habit and your go-to inner voice.

    I sincerely hope that while you're learning from the things that have happened that you don't need to have such a stringent outcome the next time. As in training my puppies, lol, set yourself up for success and not for failure. Keep things realistic. Love that kid, which by the way he looks like he all the sudden got super tall O_O

    [Reply]

  • Flea:

    YOU. ARE. A. GOOD. MOM. You are. And trying harder doesn’t always mean better. Sometimes we wear ourselves out trying so hard. It’s easier to say it than to do it, but relaxing helps, too. You’re doing a fine job. You are.

    [Reply]

  • Accidents happen, yes. Mistakes, too. And sometimes you only find out you were making a mistake because there was an accident. Or an almost. Each of my kids has almost fallen off the bed, one head-first. Luckily, I caught one by the leg, the other with my hip. Yet? We still continue to change them on our bed, get them ready on our bed. Dash to the nursery to grab the diaper cream while they’re on our bed. Don’t call CPS, but we don’t have a gate at the top of the stairs yet. Are we tempting fate, or just making a series of calculated risks we can (hopefully) deal with because they make our lives easier on a day to day basis.

    When the babies were infants, we’d let them sleep propped on boppies on the couch, wearing regular clothes. Does a newborn know a nap from nighttime sleep? No. The clothing is all emblazoned, “Not for sleepwear”. The Boppies have a big “NO SLEEP” tag on them. And of course, there’s the “never leave child unattended on X surface” warning I didn’t need tattooed into my retinas. We can’t coat them in bubble wrap, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to live my life in a padded house, so I live with calculated risks, and childproof as we go.

    [Reply]

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Welcome!
I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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