on guilt and learning to be imperfect

Last week was rough for me (Claire) in terms of work.  It left me longing for time at home with my guys.   Whenever I have a tough work week, I wallow in it.  I'm tired, I'm moody, I'm selfish and I'm far from my best self.  I tend to focus on what I'm missing and my failures as a mother.  It's definitely not always rational, but I think all women can understand.  

 I spy with my little eye, 4 little scratches and it's making mama cry!

I spy with my little eye, 4 little scratches and it's making mama cry!

On Monday, Ro had a scratch on his nose.  He sleeps with his hands by his face, so we knew it was from his fingernails.  I told Bobby I would clip his fingernails during our bedtime routine. Of course, I forgot.  On Tuesday, Ro had a couple of more scratches on his nose.  I said I would definitely clip his fingernails that night.  You can guess, I forgot again.  On Wednesday, Ro had around 4 to 5 scratches on or around his nose.  I didn't remember to finally do it until Thursday night.   I don't think it bothered Ro at all, but I felt like crap.  He had scratches all over his face (that even bled!), and it was my fault.  This is a little thing, a tiny moment in his happy, healthy existence.  It doesn't really matter.  But when I'm feeling worn down and stressed about everything else, it feels big.  When it's combined with a lot of other little moments, it feels even worse.  

This morning, Ro was crawling around in the den.  I saw him stop and touch the floor with his fingers.  I didn't see anything on the ground, so when he then touched his mouth, I knew it was nothing.  He continued crawling into the bedroom.  He played with Bobby's dresser and then all the sudden burst into tears. I picked up him, made sure he didn't pinch his fingers on the drawers, and nothing seemed amiss.  But he wouldn't come down in my arms.  Something in the back of my mind, reminded me about the thing on the floor earlier.   I laid him on the bed and opened his mouth and found something along the lines of a piece of green bell pepper or jalapeno.  WHAT.   After I took it out, he started to calm down and was fine.  But all I could think was how in the world did I miss that? I'm pretty sure I was watching him when he actually found it. Why didn't I look in his mouth right when it happened?  Why was I so sure he didn't pick up anything?  AND why did I leave food on the floor in the first place?!?

I know this happens to everyone.  I know it's all a learning experience.  I know my baby is fine.  But I also know myself.  I know it's difficult for me to adapt to things out of my control.  I know it's difficult for me to fail and deal with that failure (even in the small scale sense). It's hard to deal with the guilt of being responsible for Ro almost eating a pepper and then having to immediately leave for work. 

But sometimes my guilt isn't also the result of an actual event.  Sometimes it shows up when I just need a minute to myself.  Sometimes after a terrible day of work, all I want to do it lay on my heating pad, and I think for a second maybe I should ask Bobby to give Ro a bath tonight. Or on a Saturday morning, I think, it would be so nice to sleep in today. But then when Bobby says something like, "Do you want to sleep in and I'll give him a bottle?"  I immediately jump out of bed and say "No!"  My time with Ro is precious, I never want to waste a minute, and I think I've done a pretty good job in that sense.  But when I actually consider sleeping in, I punish myself, even know I know it's unnecessary and unfair.

How do I deal with all my guilt about not being a perfect mother?  I'm not entirely sure yet. So far, it usually starts with having Bobby tell me "it's fine, he's fine, you're so great."  But that is easier to hear than to actually believe.  I think it will be constant, forever-type of work for me.  Telling myself that there is no way I'll do everything right.  There is no way I'll be perfect in this job as a mother just like I'm not perfect in my job as an attorney or a wife.  I'm trying to not wallow.  I'm trying to avoid letting my guilt linger and instead trying to embrace my imperfections and let it all roll over me.  I'm trying to tell myself, it's ok to sleep in.  I'm trying to learn from my mistakes and be a better mother for Ro.  Here's to a new week and a fresh start :)