10 Parental Firsts All Mommies Want to Forget


Anyone that tells you that parenting is filled with beautiful moments designed to melt your heart and make you realize that you’ve done the best thing ever, they’re not telling the whole truth. They’re telling half the truth. Trust me, I have four kids and I felt that when our first was born we’d live through years of beautiful firsts. I even imagined our negative firsts would be much prettier and much more decorative than they actually were. It’s not like I lived in a fantasyland in which I felt that my child would never suffer injury or upset. I just imagined that my perfectly dressed child would fall and scrape a knee, come to me with nothing but a single tear and sad eyes quietly asking for a bandaid I would carefully apply while wearing crisp white 7 for all Mankind skinny jeans and a colorful Lilly Pulitzer tunic, my freshly done hair perfect and my lipstick shining. I’d kiss her booboo, apply her bandaid, wipe her tear and tell her I love her.

She’d kiss me and tell me I’m the best mom ever, and we’d take a moment to write down her very first injury in our baby book – perfectly kept and lovely, of course.

Want to know what that beautiful first really looked like? It looked like a mother and a father pushing their infant daughter in her stroller through the middle of the Houston airport in a frantic rush because our first flight was annoyingly delayed and we had only 30 minutes to get from one side of that monstrosity to the other before our connecting flight took off without us. I’d already learned that white and motherhood don’t go together, but I was in a LP shift dress complete with a large wet spot right on my lap where my sweet daughter urinated right through her diaper and clothes all over me on our flight. I was cursing myself for wearing a pair of 5-inch wedges, and we were so hell-bent on finding our gate before our flight departed that we didn’t even realize that all the people in the airport were yelling at us.


Because we forgot to strap our infant daughter into her stroller and she fell down the front of the stroller and was half dragging the ground and half holding onto the straps that should have been around her waist. Crap. I had no bandaids on me. My dress was a mess, my hair looked like crap and I was far from smiling. And my kid was not calling me the best mom ever. Oh, and that baby book? Yeah, it’s still in the package in her closet. Unopened and unused. Mom of the year.

That was one of those parenting moments, a parenting first if you will, that I’d just as soon forget. The good news is that it can join the growing list of other parental firsts I’d really like to forget.

The first time we fought in front of our child and it hurt her feelings

In our house, we like respect. My parents fought in front of my brother and I growing up, and I hated it. They were not even close to violent or hateful fights, but they argued in front of us. They raised their voices and they were impatient with one another and for some reason I cried every single time thinking that they would divorce. I felt this way for a long time, and I swore my kids would never feel that way. In our house, we ‘discuss’ with respect. That means we either keep our really angry fights for moments the kids aren’t around – which works out because it gives us both time to cool off before we behave in a way that we will later regret – or we work really hard to debate our points and resolve our issues in a manner that shows our kids that it’s okay not to disagree as long as you’re productive about it. But one time, we had a fight in front of our oldest unknowingly. It was a raised voices kind of argument that wasn’t resolving itself, and our oldest daughter heard. She cried and she was hurt by our behavior, and it killed us.

The first time I made up a lie about something and my kid sold me out

Oh yes, kids are tiny little walking vials of truth serum provided the truth isn’t something that will hurt them. Imagine my horror the time I told my daughter’s teacher that she was out sick because it sounded better than, “We decided it would be fun to take a long weekend at Disney,” and my kid ratted me out in person. Here I am telling her teacher that she was sick, and Addison says, “No I wasn’t. We went to Disney World!” If only the floor could have swallowed me whole.

The time I said something to my child completely inappropriate about my child without realizing she was right there

Let’s rewind to last week. We rented a house on Norris Lake in northern Tennessee for a week with friends. It’s a week of boating and water sports and fun with our little families. One morning, while prepping the stuff to take down to the boats to spend the day on the lake, my daughter decided she did not want her milk anymore, so she dumped it in the trash can, missed and ended up with milk all over the floor. I was pretty angry and I was harsh. I thought she’d run off while I was cleaning up and when our friends asked me what happened, I said, “I have no idea what my kid was thinking. What an idiotic thing to do,” and she was standing right there. She was hurt, I was hurt, I was embarrassed. I hated that moment.

The time I poured rum into a cup and gave it to my kid thinking it was water

Need I even elaborate on this one? Actually, yes, I’d better explain this one. You see, Disney is the happiest place on earth save for the fact that you have to go there with a million other people and their whiny kids and you can’t even have a cocktail. So one enterprising family once taught us that you can put rum in a water bottle, stick it in the diaper bag and spice up your diet coke in the park at your leisure. Except that one time I didn’t check the bottles and accidentally poured our toddler a cup of rum instead of water. I could not figure out why she would not drink it until I tried it for myself. Oops. On a good note, she definitely did not like it!

The first time my child uttered an embarrassing statement in public

Remember that time we were celebrating our twins’ first birthday this year and our 4-year-old walked around the entire party and happily told every single adult present that, “My mommy and daddy like to get naked in bed together,” with a bright smile? Yeah. Awkward. Also, how come we never considered the fact that she might notice we sleep in the nude?

The first time my child had a fit in public

So far, we’ve been pretty fortunate. We have four kids and we go out a lot. But we’ve only had three major public meltdowns. Our kids are pretty good behaving in public and we never worry. But the first time that my kid had a meltdown in public turned into me telling an elderly woman to “Eff off” when she would not get her nose out of my business and let me handle my child in my own manner. Which, by the way, was ignoring her completely, checking out and not giving her back the shoe she was screaming for after she’d already thrown it at me twice.

The first time I lost my own control in public

Please see above. After being stopped 78 times in five minutes asking what’s wrong with my fit-throwing 2-year-old (If I knew, I’d fix it) and being given advice (unwanted) repeatedly, I just wanted to get her in the car and get home. But one more person had to stop me and proceeded to tell me that I was behaving like a bad mother for not giving my child her shoe back (I’d taken it from her after she threw it in my face twice) to calm her down (um…she doesn’t calm down. She throws that junk in my face. Pass.). And I lost it. I told this older woman to ‘eff’ off. Not my proudest moment, but at least I didn’t lose my cool on my kids.

The first time I hurt my kid’s feelings out of anger

Sometimes kids are really annoying little monsters that make you wonder why you ever wanted a second (or third that turned into fourth) in the first place. It happens. My kids are pretty good kids, but even they are not immune to the fact that sometimes kids suck a lot. And when they are, parents sometimes lose to their anger. I did, and I’m sure it will happen again. I remember the first time my kid made me so angry I began yelling at her at the top of my lungs, causing her to cry and causing her feelings to hurt. I knew she was upset and her feelings were hurt, but I wasn’t done – and I was going to finish even though I knew she was hurt. I’m not proud. I still feel sadness and shame when I think about that moment.

The first time my discipline didn’t work in front of other people

So embarrassing and so annoying. This is especially true when you’re sitting there all gloaty and proud because other people’s kids are total jerks and can’t behave, but yours is an angel. And then she’s not, and then you discipline her, and then she ignores you and then you look like an idiot in front of people and you really want to lose your cool, but you can’t. Kids make me crazy sometimes.

The first time I really dropped the ball

Parents are not perfect, no matter how much we’d like to think that we are. So the first time that you realize you dropped the ball and could have really hurt your kid is a big moment. Thankfully, your child was not hurt, but that doesn’t change the fact that you could have hurt her. The first time this happened to me was when my first daughter was only 10 days old. We went to have family photos taken about an hour from our house. When we were done, we tucked our baby girl into her car seat on the stroller, put the blanket over her and took a nice long walk through the downtown area. She slept most of the walk and drive home. When we got home, we removed her car seat from the car, took her inside and went to take her out. That’s when we realized that beneath her blanket, she was not buckled into her car seat.

Worst. Feeling. Ever.

So many ‘what ifs’ ran through my head in that moment that I cried, and I felt like such a failure. After all, how could I ever be a good mom when I put my baby’s life in danger when she was only 10 days old?

Photo illustration by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images


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