It was late July 2011. My husband, my five week old son, and I went to the Home Depot to pick up some things for my mother in laws house. As we were browsing the aisles to pick up the supplies my husband need to work on his mother’s house, our son started to cry. It wasn’t a hungry cry. It was a whiny, uncomfortable, irritated type of cry. I looked at his pampers swaddle diaper that have the blue line to tell you that the baby is wet. What did you know, there was the blue line going down his diaper. I had my small diaper bag and looked inside. I had a bottle of milk but I forgot to pack the diapers in the bag. I told my husband that I’ve forgot the diapers. He’s responds was, “How could you forget the diapers? The poor guy is sitting in his own piss. Look how miserable he looks. How could you forget?”
“Well you were with me when I was packing the bag you could have made sure that I had the diapers. You’re the parent too.” I told him.
Then what my husband said to me stung me like a finger getting cut by paper.
He said, “You’re the mother!”
I couldn’t respond when he said that to me. The angry words I felt from the pity of my stomach rising towards my mouth and ready to spit out something vile couldn’t come out. In essences, he was right…I am the mother. What I didn’t like was the implication which translated, “You’re the mother, you should know better.” During that hour or so shopping trip, my son peed about two more times. My son sat in his stroller in his pee filled diaper looking so sad and uncomfortable and it was nothing I could do until we got him home. I will never forget that look my son had on his face. If only I remembered the diapers.
While my husband was right about me being the mother and I never forget to bring diapers everywhere I went from that moment on, I am also human as well. Fathers need to realize that just because a woman becomes a mother doesn’t mean that we can’t have mishaps or missteps in taking care of our children. We don’t give birth and all of a sudden that we are on point in everything we do in taking care of our children. This is very true for first time mothers.
There are other issues that play a role in our mishaps that you may want to refrain from asking “How could you?” Things you never thought of that can contribute to our mishaps. In my situation as a new mother, I lack a lot of sleep. I had to get up every two to three hours to nurse to make sure that my son was getting enough milk to bring his weight back up to normal. I couldn’t sleep when the baby slept because my son at the time would only nap twenty to thirty minutes at a time once or twice a day in the daytime. So I was getting three to four hours of sleep during the first three months of my son’s life. I went through a horrible third degree episiotomy that had a slow time healing which was painful and sore. I had to be careful how I sat because it would bring pain. I had to take ibuprofen at least three times a day for the pain. I didn’t have help from anyone in the beginning months that my son was born as far as watching the baby so I can sleep or get chores done. I was suffering from postpartum depression in the first few weeks after my son’s birth because I was tired, in pain and burned out.
We look at our mothers and we say to ourselves, “Mom knew everything. She knew when something was wrong. She knew how to make things right. She took care of things. Mom was on point.” But how do you think she got that way? Do you think that she was on point at the start of your life? Your mother had years of experience under her belt that make her efforts in taking care of you look flawless. For the experienced mothers that judge other mothers on the mistakes that new mothers are making in taking care of their children; shame on you! I doubt you were perfect with you first child; you didn’t know everything either. Experience is a great teacher.
Unless you become a mother and understand that things just don’t go as planned when you have children; whether it’s a forgotten diaper bag, a lost shoe, forgotten winter hat, forgotten blanket, or a misplaced pacifier, you will only see your mother in those rose colored glasses. The next time you seen a woman in the store or on the street with small children and start to ask “How could she do this or that”, realize she is not your mother. She a mother who is learning how to handle her children the best way she can. As long as she’s trying her best, what’s the big deal? Give her a break. She’s probably feels bad enough as it is.