"Today marks an anniversary that's painful to remember. Two years ago, I dropped my baby. And he fractured his skull," begins Liz Mannegren in a vulnerable post to Facebook alongside a photo of her and her son, Alistair.
What began as a typical day turned into every mom's worst nightmare when, "with all the strength and speed of a tiny acrobat," her son flipped out of her arms and onto the living room floor. Like that, she went from Cheerios in the kitchen to X-rays in the emergency room. Liz shared how that scary and emotional day changed her perspective on motherhood so profoundly, and her takeaways are a must read for any parent.
"As a tiny hospital band was slipped over my son's wrist, the nurse assured us that they saw this all this time. 'I dropped my baby once,' she said with a sympathetic smile, 'except I dropped my baby on a concrete parking lot.' That nurse had taken one look at me and seen the crushing weight of mom-guilt I was struggling to carry," Liz wrote. "While there was some small measure of comfort found in the fact that I wasn't the first mom to drop her child, it didn't relieve the feelings of failure that washed over me."
Angry at herself and feeling like the "world's worst mother," Liz came to the realization that as much as she was beating herself up over not preventing this accident, sometimes motherhood means accepting that you can't do it all.
Try as we might, we cannot protect our children from everything. There will be days when we fall short. . . . Today we might feel like a failure-of-a-mother, but we are more than our bad days. These miserable, distressing, all-round-awful days serve as not-so-gentle reminders to savor life. Accidents happen. Life is fragile. It's moments like these that remind us to never take these days for granted but to soak up each and every snuggle, each breath, and each precious laugh.
Motherhood is not defined by any single action, but rather, by the whole. I look at myself and see a woman who failed to grab her son in time. My son looks at me and sees "Mom" — the one who comforts and holds him when he falls.
The mom ends her thoughtful post with an important message for other moms in the throes of a day filled with mom guilt: "So to all the mothers struggling with a miserable day of your own, and to the mothers fighting feelings of inadequacy and inescapable mom-guilt — you are MORE than today. Today does not define your motherhood. Today may be horrible, but that DOESN'T mean that YOU are."