Confession time, I made a mommy mistake that has left me feeling judged and like a horrible mom. As I think about it though, I know I'm not the only one and that I'm not really a bad mom. Here's the story that those of you who don't have kids will sit back and shake your heads and say, "I would NEVER do that with my kids!"
Last month my son took a tumble. A big tumble. A split his head on the bumper of Grandpa's truck kind of tumble. Are you ready for the story that makes me feel like the worst mother in the world? We had just got home from school and my neighbor was outside with her visiting family and young children. While I stood in her yard chatting with her and her mom my son was using her child's new bike. I thought nothing of this, they were in front of our house on the sidewalk and the bike has training wheels. I continued to talk and never noticed that my son had gone to the top of our driveway to ride the bike down the hill. He lost control at the end of the bike and while trying to stop hit his head really hard on the bumper of the truck.
I heard my name called and half turned then his little brother came running up and said "Mom, he hit his head on Grandpa's truck." I looked just in time to see his head start bleeding. He came to me. I tried to get him to look up so the blood wouldn't go in his eye while my neighbor ran in her house to get tissues to wipe him up. When he wouldn't look up I wiped away with my hand the blood that by now was nearly to his eye. I realized instantly that it was a pretty good gash. Been there, done that. Know I need to keep him calm. I assure him that he is going to be fine, grab tissue from my friend to put pressure on the cut. I know in my mother's heart that he needs stitches but try to refrain from saying that in front of him. Neighbor asks her nurse mom to look at it. Nurse mom says he will be fine and if we put a butterfly bandage on it that we don't need stitches.
Older brother goes inside our house and gets Daddy who comes and rescues bleeding child from the talk of doctors and stitches and gets him inside to keep putting pressure on it. I come home and look at it, the bleeding has stopped but the cut is deep. My mommy instincts again tell me he needs stitches. I look at the clock. The doctor's office closes in 45 minutes and it will take me at least 30 minutes to get there with Friday rush hour. Hmmmmm, a nurse did say he doesn't need stitches. Besides if I take him to the doctor for stitches, not only am I currently a self pay patient, I will also get the disapproving looks and words of judgement that my son was on a bike without a helmet.
I don't want to face the pediatrician and admit that I failed as a mom and that we don't even own a bike helmet. I don't want to admit to the her or to anyone else that the reason my kids have never ridden their own bikes is because we have never bought bike helmets and I can't handle the thought of my kids ratting me out to our pediatrician and her judging me as a fit mother so I would rather not teach them to ride their bikes. We chose to go to Target and buy butterfly bandages, ice cream, ibuprofen, and Angry Bird stickers and play doctor at home. MISTAKE!
The next day the need for stitches was still evident to me. I posted the pictures on Facebook and asked my nurse friends about it. Turns out he really did need stitches and it was now too late to get them. I allowed my own pride and fear of being judged to get in the way of what was truly best for my son. I justified it by saying "Well a nurse was there and she said he didn't need to go to the doctor" but really in my gut, I knew all along that he needed to go to the doctor and I didn't take him.
Each time I changed his bandage, each time he talked about his headache (can we say mild concussion?) I thought what a horrible mom I am that I put myself above the needs of my child this time. I spent the week beating myself up. And then days later, that child who I had been certain I completely and totally failed as his mom last month, gave me the sweetest valentine card ever. He made this for me at school.....
Roses are red
Just like you
I love you as much
as cholet (chocolate)
You are so sweet mom
I guess maybe I didn't ruin him after all. I wrote this originally the week after it happened. I couldn't get my pictures to upload properly and I really wanted to show them so I'm just now, a month later posting this. His head has healed nicely though he will definitely have a scar. I smile and tell him that chicks dig scars. He smiles back and says "I know mom." The concussion went away, the cut stopped bleeding, and my kid still loves me..... even though he still doesn't own a helmet.