Last weekend, my four year-old son Shane broke his arm, and I felt responsible. That Saturday morning, Jason and I had decided to take a class at our gym. We arrived that morning, signed the kids into child watch and headed to our class. As we were finishing a grueling HIIT spin class, the child care staff came to get us. My first thought was that one of the kids had to use the bathroom; I didn’t expect an injury. We quickly got to the kids and found Shane crying hysterically and clinging to his left arm in pain. To make a long story short, he fell (or was pushed according to him) and landed on his arm.
We made our way to urgicare and it was determined that his arm was broken: a non-displaced fracture at the elbow. One soft wrap and sling later and we made our way home with instructions to schedule an appointment with Orthopedics on Monday. Shane handled the whole ordeal so well for being so little. Meanwhile, Jason and I were just a little frantic. We had Shane’s birthday party that same night and now we only had a few hours to get everything done that we had planned to do earlier that day. There was no way I was going to cancel that party on Shane after that terrible morning so we busted hump to get everything in order. It all worked out in the end, Jason and I engaged our teamwork superpowers and got everything completed just in time (including showers…mind you we had spent several hours sweaty and gross at urgicare). The party went well and Shane was happy in spite of his broken arm.
When I finally had a minute to sit down and reflect on the day, a tremendous amount of guilt rained over me. As a parent, we all know these things will happen. It comes with the territory, and honestly I am surprised in the nearly seven years of having boys that we haven’t had a broken bone sooner. Accidents will happen no matter how cautious we are, but I couldn’t help but feel responsible for Shane breaking his arm that morning. Irrational as it may sound, I felt guilty for lugging my kids to the gym that morning so that I could get a workout in. I thought to myself, if we would have done our normal morning routine that Saturday, and I had just worked out during the kids’ nap time…this would never have happened. I know this all sounds ridiculous, but this is honestly what was going through my head.
As parents, we try so hard to protect our kids and do what is right for them. Far too often we blame ourselves when something happens or when things don’t go exactly as we had expected. I know this is true for me. Parenting is hard…..like seriously ridiculously hard, and I have found that as the kids get older, it gets even harder, but in different ways. Sometimes I feel that I am failing them, and that day was one of those days.
When we feel this way, we need to remind ourselves that we are just doing our best. That morning, I knew our day would be busy so I decided a quick morning workout would be the best option. I was just doing what I thought made sense for that day plus the kids love going to child watch at our gym. It was intended to be a win-win for everyone. I also reminded myself that my kids are active little kids who like to play, and that they are bound to fall. They are going to get hurt, and there will be trips to the emergency room. It will happen…we hope it doesn’t ever happen, but it probably will. As long as we are doing everything we can to protect our kids and keep them healthy and safe, then we need to give them the space to play and make mistakes and fall down (and hopefully we all have decent health insurance). So today, cut yourself some slack. Accidents will happen, and remind yourself that we are all just trying to do our best.