Mom Guilt

October 20, 2011 in mom guilt

Jill Savage, founder of Hearts At Home, is having a be-real day. She wants moms to share real stories of parenting goof-ups that sometimes make them feel guilty.  Check out her website to read other real mom guilt stories.

Here’s one of mine.

Let’s say the girls were 2 and 4 since I can’t remember with certainty. We were shopping at Town and Country, the best grocery store I’ve ever regularly shopped at (having the snow capped mountains of Big Sky country added to its appeal but is not a reason I rank it so high).

Grocery shopping with both girls at this age was big deal. It took all my energy and lots of planning. My youngest was easy at the store, just hand her a snack, kiss her a few times and she sat happily. But. she was the child who, if she got hurt emotionally or physically, would carry on for 20  minutes longer than my patience. And her high-decibel crying gave me permanent hearing loss.

 My 4-year-old struggled with any kind of physical restraint and I had given up on making her sit in the cart long ago. She didn’t like to hold hands in parking lots; wanted to touch, feel and purchase every interesting thing; and viewed long grocery store aisles as running tracks. She also liked the echo of her voice in the store if she was loud enough.

Produce aisles have hundreds of ways a 4-year-old can cause problems.
Image from 

We were 3/4 of the way through the store: past the difficult produce section (so much to touch and to make fall), and past the greedy snack section. We were in dairy and Hadley (the 4-year-old) was sick of holding onto that cart. So she started to hold on to her sister’s hand. Kassy would giggle. I was picking out yogurt flavors.  Pull on sister’s hand. Giggle. Twist sister’s arm. Giggle. Pull and twist. Scream to wake the dead. I scolded Hadley for her careless behavior, tried to comfort the wailing Kassy and attempted to finish finding the things on my list. I was irritated at Hadley so I snapped at her. And then I became irritated at Kassy. It had been 10 minutes. Surely she was overreacting.

By the time we checked out of the store, Kassy was still screaming. I was threatening her if she didn’t stop carrying on (don’t remember the threats and thankfully neither does she). She screamed even harder when I placed her in the car seat, fell asleep on the way home and renewed her screaming when I tried to bring her in the house again. By this time I noticed that she wouldn’t move her arm.

Eventually we ended up in the emergency room. Kassy’s elbow joint had been dislocated and in a beautifully simple chiropractic type move, the doctor put everything back in place and the ordeal was over.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan M. Heim October 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm

I’m so glad it turned out just to be a dislocation and not a fracture! I think all moms have these mortifying public moments. Thanks for sharing!


Mandy October 20, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Glad she was okay!! We had a similar situation when my son started to fall off the couch. I grabbed him by the arm to catch him and he pulled his elbow out. So, being hugely pregnant and uncomfortable, I took him to the busy er and by the time we saw the doc it had popped back into place. My husband still thinks it’s funny that he wrestles with them all the time, and it was situation that caused a trip to the er. Thanks for sharing today!!


Laura October 21, 2011 at 10:25 am

Thank you Susan and Mandy. I was thinking that stories about dislocated elbows are just the tip of mom guilt. Really I get over such events quickly. It is the day to day guilts that weigh me down–like forgetting to use the pepper in the fridge and finding it spoiled. Maybe I will post about that next week.


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