I’m not writing this so that people will leave comments/send me messages that reassure me I am still a good mother. I thought I would clear that up because I know quite a few very kind people who read this blog, and I am willing to bet that as soon as they read what I am about to write, they will want to cry and hug me and tell me that it’s OK. I have to admit, it is nice to be loved that way, even when I f#$% up.
I was at the pool today, with my five youngest children. It sounds weird to say “five youngest children” in a society where there are normally only two children in a family, but anyhow…
The two little girls, ages 4-1/2 & 6-1/2, were in those black tubes that look like life preservers, swimming around like ducks. I was with them, trying to keep them from braving the deep end. It’s a big pool. We did our usual thing: swim in the kid part for 10 minutes, go into the hot tub for a few minutes, repeat cycle several times, go home.
Somehow as I played with them, swam with them, followed them, I took my eyes off of the youngest and actually turned my back on her assuming she would stay put or follow me towards the other kids. We were right in the middle of the pool by then, where the deep end begins. I turned around, and she had made her way back to the very end of the pool. It is technically the shallow end, but that doesn’t matter when it’s still over her head and she can’t swim. I am well aware of how quickly things can happen.
In my frenzy to get to her, I realized the six-year-old was swimming right into the deep end and there was no stopping her. I called to the older ones to tend to the six-year-old and finally caught up with the four-year-old.
I know how people think. I know that by at least two sets of eyes today I was being scrutinized and roasted for bad parenting, and I totally understand. I definitely deserved it. My baby who does not know how to swim was floating around a pool in a tube by herself several meters from me, her supposed attentive caregiver.
I left with my tail between my legs. Something so basic: keep an eye on your children in a pool (!!!) and I f&%#ed up on it. Royally.
Let me tell you, it feels yucky. Horrible. Bad.
So… I had two choices: let it eat at me, or never let it happen again and move on.
With the second choice comes being far less judgemental towards other parents. I like that idea.
This is part of motherhood, even after almost sixteen years of it with seven children: there are “f%$# up” moments. Sometimes, as in my case today, there are no tragedies or disasters, just lessons learned. Sometimes the very same situations take on a different spin and destroy lives forever.
I choose to be kind, to be supportive, when I see another mum making a mistake, struggling, or having a bad day. I know what it’s like. It happens.
But thank god they have swimming lessons next month…