Kathy, a work-at-home mother of three, remembers dropping her daughter: “This is one of those memories I relive in slow motion because I can’t quite believe it happened! It was at that time of day when everything falls apart. My daughter was tired and cranky and so was I. I was holding her, trying to get dinner ready and to talk to my husband at the same time. My daughter kept hitting me in the face, trying to command my attention. I dropped her. I just let go. She landed with a huge thud and I just felt sick. I think I meant to loosen my grip and slide her down to the floor to get her to stop hitting me, but I was so annoyed at the time, not to mention distracted.”
Amy, business owner and mother of one, remembers forgetting her daughter: “I’d been working long nights, trying to get a project done before my deadline. My daughter, then in Grade One, wasn’t due to be picked up for a few hours. I’d finished the project, so I decided to lie down for a few minutes. I set my alarm – I thought. When I woke, it was DARK! My daughter, still in her snowsuit, was screaming at me by the bed. She’d found her way home, but the front door was locked. Crying hysterically, needing to go to the bathroom and scared, she said a passing ‘mommy’ helped to take her to the back door to try it. Luckily, it was left open. I don’t know who that ‘mommy’ was, but thank you so much for picking up the slack when my guard was down.”
Janice, mother of a five-year-old daughter, remembers the mistake she regrets the most: “My daughter was
newborn. I’d been suffering with mastitis so I pumped some milk and asked my husband to feed the baby while I went to nap. I really was exhausted. Both my daughter and I slept through the afternoon. When she woke, I grabbed the bottle of milk that had been left out and, without thinking, gave it to her. I guess the summer heat had turned it, and she started vomiting over and over. I swear, I wanted them to take away my licence to parent. I felt so ashamed, I’ve never told anyone before now.”
Have a ‘safety zone’ available: Put your child in their room with a book or in the playroom with some toys to have time for yourself.
Walk away: Take a quick shower. Go outside and take deep breaths. Scream into your pillow. Do whatever you need to do to get rid of the negativity.
Call someone: Call friends or family and ask for help. The ability to ask for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Talk to other parents: Get feedback. Get reassurance. Most important, remember that you’re not alone.