The Apology That Changed Me as a Mother

{My daughter was six months old at the time that I wrote this and motherhood was very fresh and new still. It was originally titled “I Don’t Have Mom Guilt” but I learned quickly enough that mom guilt takes on many different forms and I no longer felt the title to be all encompassing. Hence the change. While I still don’t feel like I carry much mom guilt, that’s a topic for another day!}


It was early Thursday morning and my daughter had woken up a little later than normal and was soaking wet when I went in to get her.  I hated when I’d come in to her all wet and messy, but she never seemed upset about it, just happy I’d come to get her. Without another thought, I picked her up, stripped her down, and drew her a bath. She had been doing so good sitting up recently that I decided it was a great day to take out the infant piece in her tiny bath tub. She was even holding on to things beside her to help her sit upright so I had little worries about this next big step.

I filled the tub with warm water, a few bath toys, and got the washcloth and soaps ready. I was telling her the whole time how excited she was going to be and that I had a big surprise for her (even though she is six months old and I could have told her she would be bathing with an alligator and she wouldn’t have known the difference). I was getting so excited to see how much she would enjoy sitting in the bathtub. I just knew she was going to love it. I sat in the floor next to her bathtub and lowered her into the water. She bent her legs, sitting down ever so carefully onto her tiny bum. I slowly let go of her so she could sit up, staying close to help her hold onto the sides if she needed. Boom! In a split second the slippery tub and her naked heiney collided and she slipped into the water, slightly hitting her head on the tub, and going almost completely underwater. I scooped her soaking wet self into my arms immediately, thoroughly wetting my clothes, and held her close. She was crying a bit but quickly calmed. She seemed to be content since she was now in my arms.  “I’m sorry sweet girl,” I told her, “Mommy’s never done this before. I’m doing the best I can. I love you.”

And suddenly my childhood flashed before my eyes. All at once I smiled and got tears in my eyes. I had heard those words myself as a child and now here I was saying them! My mother used to say that when I was growing up and I finally understood why.

All moms make mistakes, my mom made mistakes. I don’t ever remember specific things she did “wrong,” but I’m sure there were days when she felt like she was struggling at the trying role of motherhood. What I do specifically remember, though, are the days when she would say to my brother and I, “I’m sorry. I’ve never done this before.” I always remember wondering why she would say it, but I also remember understanding what she meant.  She’d never been a mommy before; this was all new.

As a mother those words run so very deep now. We are all new at this, whether we have one child or ten, everyday is new, every stage is new, every second is brand new. And every time another child is born into a family it is a brand new dynamic. Every day is a day in the life of that mom, and those children, that has never presented itself before. There are going to be challenges, there are going to be struggles, but give yourself a break mamas, because after all, you’ve never done this before.


This post was originally written for & appeared on Balancing Pieces in March 2016.

5 thoughts on “The Apology That Changed Me as a Mother

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