Fool Me Twice

I wasn’t going to tell you about this because I’m so consumed with being labeled a bad mom, but then I thought what the hell, it’ll be cathartic. So here goes.

A few days ago the baby crawled down the hall  and into our bedroom. I was doing some sort of chore, finishing up before I chased after her. She wasn’t in our room for more than half a minute. She hadn’t even made it to the hubby’s side table yet — her intended target. Just as she got one little mitt on the table, I snatched her up and we returned to the living room. How I failed to notice she had something in her mouth, I don’t know.

When Daddy got home, he asked what she was chewing on. Had I given her some puffs? Nope. I squeezed the sides of her cheeks, looking inside her tiny mouth. I saw something beige, like a rubber stopper. Freaking out, I put a hooked finger in her mouth and pulled out the culprit. She protested, wanting her prize back. When I saw what it was, I gagged. It was Daddy’s lost earplug! Ew! Ew! Ew!

This was mummy fail #1. Not only was my baby sucking on a disgusting, used earplug but she could’ve choked! I laughed in repulsion and shame.

Take 2.

The next day, baby cruised down the hall in her walker as I cleaned up her room. I heard her playing with the knobs on the small TV cabinet in our bedroom. I wasn’t worried as she was confined to the walker, and can barely reach across the tray attached to the front of it. I should have known better.

When I went to check on her, she had a small bag of screws in her hand, a huge smile on her face, and one screw on the tray in front of her.

Mummy fail #2.

It’s safe to say I freaked out again! But this time was worse because I had no idea if she had already ingested a piece of hardware. I grabbed everything from her, prompting another meltdown, and berated myself for being so stupid.

I know babies eat marbles and pennies and end up just fine. I counted the screws: 2 big pointy ones with washers, 3 small ones, and 1 tiny one with a little bolt around it. An even number would have made me feel better.

I knew that if she ate one, she’d pass it in a few days. So that left me with one thing to do: gross examinations of her poop. This is where my experience working in a veterinary clinic has paid off. Smooshing the contents of my daughter’s soiled diapers to make sure she didn’t ingest a piece of hardware is no problem at all. Scary thing is I’ve done worse.

Good news–no screw yet! And now I know to shut all the doors in the house when that little klepto is on the move!

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Bad Mom Complex

Ultimately, I know I’m a good mom because I don’t smoke crack and I haven’t forgotten my baby anywhere…yet . But there’s this silly part of me that worries, “I don’t want them to think I’m a bad mom.” It’s a phrase I use too much these days. My hubby is constantly flabbergasted that anyone would call me a bad mom, yet I’m always so preoccupied thinking about it.

“Uh oh, we better put socks on her feet or someone will say I’m a bad mom. She scratched her face because her nails are too long. She yakked all over herself and there isn’t a spare onesie in the diaper bag. Shame on me!”

I put a lot of  pressure on myself to be “perfect” at my new job as Mummy. I guess I’m going to have to get over my perfectionist ways, and quickly! I’ve learned that baby + perfect don’t mix unless you’re talking about how perfectly cute she is! Things don’t always go as smoothly as you envisioned, but hopefully everyone survives and maybe you learn what not to do next time. I guess this is probably how my parents felt at one point, and look at me — I still have all of my fingers and toes.

Guilt fuels my “bad mom complex.” Take for instance, this blog, which I love working on. Most days I write while she naps, but other days I find myself typing in between playing with her while we sit on the floor. I should be focusing all my attention on her, yet I’m not. Nothing like a baby trying to eat a power cord to get you to stop working though! Yikes! I try to rationalize my guilt by saying that a mom who works from home would be battling the same issues and since writing is my job (even though I don’t get paid for it) it’s okay. Yet somehow the “bad mom complex” rages on!

It’s so easy to say “The hell what other people think,” but it’s another thing to actually teach yourself this carefree attitude once you’ve been a people pleaser since you were born. I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully when she’s thirty she’ll have all of her fingers and toes.