A Mother’s Guilt

Poor Cooper. He’s had a really rough day. He got up and played in his bed like usual. I gave him his sippy cup of milk and got ready for work. At 8am, I started getting him dressed. As I leaned over to throw his jammies in the hamper, he leaned forward and flipped head-over-heels off the end of the changing table (the opposite direction of where I was leaning). He landed partially on the diaper pail before rotating further and landing on his back and shoulder (well, the rest of him hit the floor, but that’s what landed first). Even though I had one hand on him, that one hand wasn’t enough to stop him. As I watched that 5-minute-long split-second where my baby was tumbling onto the hardwood floor, the phrase “ohmigod let him be okay!” went through my head about 16 hundred times. I couldn’t go after him fast enough…and although I’m not even sure his legs even hit the floor, it seemed an eternity passed before I could get him scooped-up into my arms where I did a quick check for blood or bones sticking out before bursting into tears, too. I tried soothing him with his binky, a snuggle against my bare skin, his sippy cup, and even his magic blue blanket. Nothing seemed to work…he’d calm down a second, then start up again. I thought for sure that he sustained a serious injury and started bawling again, whimpering “sorry” over and over in his ear, thinking surely if I called the pediatrician one more time this week, they’d commit me to the psych ward and stamp Munchausen-by-Proxy on my butt.

I carried him into our room to get the phone to call the doctor. As I re-situated him in my arms and tried to dry our tears a little, he spied both of the dogs (who were hovering) and started laughing. And I mean belly-laughing. What did I do? Started crying again. Then, while he was occupied with laughing hysterically at dogs doing nothing but sniffing him, I poked and prodded him really good to see if he flinched or showed any signs of pain…none. I eyed him suspiciously to see if he’d vomit or if his pupils were dilated or not reacting correctly to light (or the lack thereof). After a good half-hour, and with a heavy, guilty heart, I brought him to daycare. I let the teachers know of his acrobatics and that if he even seems slightly fussy or anything to call me that very second.

I never got a call and when I picked him up, he was proclaimed “fine” and “happy” and “begged mercilessly to be walked all over the infant room”. I was warned, however, since he seems to be pooping the rest of that roseola virus out of his system, that he has one.wicked.diaper.rash. I looked at his daycare summary sheet and saw that between the hours of about 9am and 6pm he pooped FOUR TIMES! And it wasn’t diarrhea. Add in that he pooped first thing this morning, too. And yesterday he was also a crazy pooping machine…from 3am (when he got me up Sunday night) until 8pm on Monday he pooped 6 times…three of those were between 3am and 9am. Even though those wonderful ladies that love my baby were extremely diligent with the Desitin ointment, since he kept pooping over and over and over, it was never on his butt long enough to do anything.

So we get home, we eat (I won’t post about how Gavin and I had Cheerios for dinner…yeah, Gavin Trauma, except that he loves brinner). I start getting Cooper ready for bed, and when I opened his diaper I was shocked at how red his poor bottom was! He’s always been more prone to rashes, ever since we had Thrush, but this was bad (and I have to admit, when I sent him, his bottom was looking a little rough, but I was more concerned about his head to get too crazy over a simple diaper rash). Take a box of Crayolas, find the red crayon, and there you have it. Poor baby. This rash is so bad that when I wiped him, he screamed in pain. I tossed him in the sink with some baking soda in it (it works on yeast/thrush rashes…totally safe for baby), but he wasn’t having it. Even though I made the water a little cooler than his normal bath water, I’m sure it was a bit too warm and caused more pain. At that point, Justin was able to help me manage him and snuggled him in a towel while I got his diaper, jammies, and Boudreaux’s butt paste out. I asked Justin to not set him down until I was totally ready. He nodded and confirmed, “you want to do it big, fast, and once only”.

I squirt a huge glob of the butt paste onto my finger, he sets Cooper down and pulls up his legs, and I start quickly (but carefully!) smearing the paste on his butt, fully expecting more shrieks…instead, he calmed down. Guess it felt alright on his poor bottom. Once I put the diaper on, though, more painful screams. I quickly get him in his jammies, singing, dancing, anything to distract him. Then I finally stick that bottle in his mouth. Silence, save for Cooper’s rapid drinking noises. Enter additional guilt and self-loathing for not just keeping him home today because holy crap he fell off the changing table and I should’ve kept him home for proper mommy-observation, and then I could’ve been way-super-diligent about the rash that was trying to get ugly. And cue the tears…again.

Instead of being ridiculously grateful that Cooper seems fine considering his fall, and that we’ve battled many a worse diaper rash without batting an eye, I’m just completely guilt-ridden. I should’ve known better than to lean away from him while he was sitting up, even though I had a hand on him. I should’ve called the pediatrician right away to bring him in to make sure he was fine…have him gone over with a fine-toothed comb. I should’ve kept him home to monitor him…or that rash. This is all self-induced second-guessing…no one has ever said anything negative (to me) about my parenting or caretaking of my children, yet this is what goes on in my head.

Add in that Gavin has been struggling with a stutter that has gotten very noticeable in the past 4 or 5 weeks (particularly when he’s tired). Prior to that, he’d have the occasional stutter that seems fairly common in toddlers and preschoolers…they’re still learning how to wrap their mouths around words. But now, I am not exaggerating, it took him at least 15 seconds to spit out a word the other day. Once he finished his sentence, I heard Justin sigh with relief and I announced, “I’m calling the county on Monday.” I’m not sure what precipitated this change in his speech patterns, but of course I feel that I failed him along the way. That if I had really really really tried to breastfeed him, instead of giving up in frustration after 6 weeks; or if I somehow begged, borrowed, and stole so that I could stay home with him and caught it earlier; or if we had contacted the county sooner about his speech delay; or if once we had contacted the county that we followed-up properly and on-time instead of letting other things get in the way; or if I hadn’t glossed over his speech issue, thinking he’d just grow out of it and had just listened to Justin who was throwing a fit about it. Now my funny, bright little boy struggles to say words that he’s not had an issue pronouncing a month or so ago. And each time that he restarts a word or his sentence, during each stutter, my heart leaps up into my throat and then drops to the bottom of my stomach with a thud.

About the Author


This is a blog where I will share my adventures and mundane tasks as a work-out-of-home-mom. I now have 2 kids and my wonderful husband, so the juggling has gotten a little bit more tricky (man-on-man defense). We also have 2 dogs and 3 cats (we used to have 4) so as you can imagine, our household is pretty busy. Since I never feel like I'm being listened to, I figured I'll just start talking at the general Internet community and see what happens.



You’re being too hard on yourself. Kids do things, things happen, and we can’t control the world. Hope the little guy’s rash clears up, poor thing. He’s had a rough go.

Burgh Baby

I might have to do that zoo thing just so I can slap some sense into you. Woman, sh@t happens. It’s not your fault when that sh@t happens, because it just plain happens. Stop feeling all guilty over it becasue more will happen and all you can do is do your best to try to stop it. Sometimes you fail.

(We won’t even go into how many times Alexis has fallen off the bed, down the stairs, or smacked into a wall. She’s a walking head trauma.)

I hope the rash clears up quick. Butt Paste is the best.


I agree with the other two commentors. Sh*t happens and you are decidedly not to blame. Cooper is going to get hurt many more times in the future and what matters (and what he’ll remember) is that mommy hugged him and made him feel safe (well, that and doggies are very funny). You already did due diligence in finding a daycare you trust and you informed them to keep on extra eye on the little acrobat – you handled it all perfectly.

And about Gavin. I had a starter when I was young. I’d forgotten how bad it was until I saw home movies the other day. While it was annoying it didn’t stop me from talking up a storm. I grew out of it on my own, though I think some speech therapy would have been a good thing and I wish my parents had stepped in at some point. (I stuttered through elementary school and still have words I can’t get out for the life of me). Good for you for offering early intervention and don’t for a second think it is your fault. It’s just a speech pattern he will work through and is not remotely related to what he drank as a newborn!

Oh, and we love Dr. Smiths diaper creme and have accidentally discovered when Landon has a rash that he loves to sit on the granite counter tops in the kitchen or bathroom- I think they feel nice and cool.


You are a GOOD MOTHER. Repeat that to yourself ten times, once an hour. You are. All moms have bouts like this. It’s completely normal. Your boys will be fine.


You need to stop beating yourself up and second guessing yourself! I haven’t gotten to know you yet, but just reading this post I was struck by how normal all those things are! It’s not you or anything you did. Kids are kids. They do sudden acrobatic that lead to falls that we can’t stop. They go through different speech patterns that they need help with. It’s so not you!

You sound like a thoughtful, concerned and loving mom. Believe in that.

About the stuttering, I hear that with some speech therapy, most kids can overcome it pretty quickly, if they don’t just do it on their own. It’s just another phase of growth. It’ll work out. 🙂


Hi Colleen!!!
Thanks for stopping by my blog! We used to live up your way as well. In Reston/Herndon and then in Stafford when it came time to buy a house. (Don’t tell anyone but I didn’t like it much up there!!!)
Anyways, love your blog! I have had MANY guilty momma moments. One being sending my sick kid to school. WHO DOES THAT? Yeah apparently I do.
I wouldn’t stress about the stutter too much. My nephew did it at that age and he grew out of it.
Also, Bean used to get TERRIBLE rashes. I was turned on to Triple Paste. YOu get it at CVS.
Good luck and I’ll be back to visit!


Let me tell you one thing: Truly bad mothers do not sit and worry that they are bad mothers.
ALL moms second guess, and we ALL look back and wish we’d done things differently (read:better) but you can’t let that shake your faith! YOU are the absolute best person for your kids. Period. Think if you had read someone else’s account of a day like this. Would you think, “What a case of neglect!!”?? No! You’d think, “That poor Momma, she needs a hug and someone to tell her it’s okay, she’s doing the best she can” That’s what I thought when I read your post. We’re always harder on ourselves than we’d ever be on someone else. Give yourself a break.
You’re doing a great job 🙂
(Here ends the longest comment I’ve ever written in the history of blogging!)

Law Student Hot Mama

Stop beating yourself up, homie! Hell, kids are made to get themselves knocked around a bit. I mean – think of all the times I probably fell on my head as a child . . . didn’t hurt me too much . . . or maybe it did . . . umm . . . anyway

Forgive my joking. In all seriousness, you ARE being way too hard on yourself. And I second the last comment that really lousy parents don’t worry about it – they just worry about themselves! I’m sorry you an Cooper BOTH had such a bad day! Poor baby – at least that Butt Paste stuff works. Don’t worry – you’re doing a GREAT job!

As for Gavin’s stutter? Lots of kids get it and outgrow it and/or go on to lead perfectly productive lives. My dad? An attorney. With a stutter. It’s not that big of a deal.

Madame Queen

Once I had Bubba sitting on the counter while I administered some medicine. I leaned away for just a second and he fell to the floor. I was devastated. Try not to beat yourself up too much. Accidents happen.

As for the rash, Punkin used to have the same thing. One thing my ped warned me about was not to put too much diaper cream on b/c it still needs to get some air. I also found that just putting her on a blanket or towel with no diaper and just letting her butt get some air would do wonders!


Oh, hey – my Oatmeal Head, at three weeks, rolled of the couch. Twice. I didn’t think they could roll that early, but it seems he could. Who knew? He rolled off of my high bed at about 4 weeks. I’m a slow learner. Now he is too.


Oh Colleen! I would have been in tears too!!! I’m so glad he’s okay! Zane falls off our bed all the time and everytime I freak out! It’s really low but still scares me!


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