Whole Parenting Family

world’s worst mom


My poor little kiddos. The other week we went out of the house and it was a real testament to my motherhood. Did you see the title? That may have tipped you off to where this is going. (We don’t leave all that often, for good reason.)

We were at the apple orchard with a group of mama friends, ladies chatting away, and SuperBoy was with his best little buddy, so they were just slipping in and out of tractors, hay mazes, apple trees.

I was keeping a vague eye on SweetPea. She’s so wildly adventuresome that I forget she’s not even two and a half. She was puttering around. I had the baby in the carrier and I even felt so brazen as to be balancing an apple cider in one hand and my Lily Jade in another.

Oh, me? Just a casual mom of three. I didn’t even bring my stroller today. The kids? Oh, they’re great. I’m so free-range. I’m sure they’re happily organically playing somewhere.

She bravely traipsed up one slide and whooshed down. BAM. It was too steep a drop off from the slide to the ground and she whacked her little bum so hard. Down goes the bag, down goes my cider, and I bend over to check for injury. You see, I was standing right there. Right at the bottom of the slide, ushering her, encouraging her. Not spotting her. Way to go, w-w-m (see title? Got it? Good.)

Well she recovered and we grazed right over to the actual slide, swing, fireman (firefighter? fireperson?) pole. SweetPea kicked off her cute boots and went to town, up the metal ladder, down the slide. Up the metal rung ladder with no foot grips, down the slide.

Look at how happy she is! She’s totally fine! I never have to hover. My children are great. And the baby? Sleeping like a little lamb, Lord love him. And my big boy? Off with his friend, sharing kindly, giving that tractor a ride for its life.

As I shift toward my friend Jacqui to compliment her adorable son’s sweater, I hear a terrible gasp rushing through the group of moms.

I turn my head ever so slightly over my shoulder. That thump I just heard, followed by screaming? My daughter.

In a rush like I never have before, I leapt toward her, thinking very clearly Is she alive or dead–how did she fall–oh my God help me. Before I could reach her BAM I’m completely splayed out on the ground. The grass tastes like dirt and the dirt tastes like dirt and my brain is reeling. The baby is pinned between me and the ground and the crying has shifted from her to him. I literally bit the dust as I tripped in my hurried rush to attend to my sweet little girl, who at this point is looking at me with wide eyes of surprise.

Who did I pass the baby to? Some one of my girlfriends kind enough to comfort him (he was fine) while I checked on her. Her stocking feet must have slipped on the run ladder and she slipped to the ground. No injuries? As I picked her up and hugged her, proffering words of comfort and checking her over, she simply said,

Mama, I want to go up there AGAAAAIIIINNNNN.

A small scratch on her chin. No bruising on him. Everyone fine but me. As I staggered to the car a little later, my hands trembling with the keys, my heart still pumping extra for mine and theirs, I started to cry. Not until I drove down the familiar highway toward home, with each child safely latched into their respective personal fiefdom in the car did I really feel the hot tears sting all the way down to my mommy tumtum.

All the reproaches I held for myself. All the disappointment that I hadn’t learned my lesson when she first hit the ground on her bottom. All the frustration of falling on the ground, on top of my baby?!?!?!. All the realizations that I simply cannot be a free range mom at a play area when all three are with me. My pride had made a prominent feature that day because who wants to be seen as the helicopter mom? I was stupidly more concerned with that than with making sure my not yet two and a half year old was as capable as her gumption thought.

Good takeaway lesson: always watch your children carefully in a new play environment. To hell with being a helicopter mom. Just be the attentive one to the extent your child needs you to be. And watch where you’re going when you jettison off to save your daughter; you risk harming your bebe!

Nota bene: these pics are from a different park extravaganza. I was too busy having fun with my mommy friends to even take pics at the apple orchard. #failedphotographermom




Brother helping sister? Whew.




  1. Lauren on September 24, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Not the world’s worst mom! Just a busy one. And if it makes you feel any better, my kid choked on a rock the other day– in our living room of all places! Just one of those turned for a second moments. She’s totally fine- fished it out with my finger after I practically flew across the room. Everyone is okay, and at the least, a small reminder to place our kid’s well-being over whatever people may think of us. 🙂

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 24, 2014 at 11:09 am

      Oh my gosh–the living room?? How do they do these things??? Hugs to both of us, right??

  2. Annery on September 24, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I think our Sweet Peas are cut from the same cloth. Was there a vote for WWM? I feel like a pretty strong contender.

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 24, 2014 at 11:09 am

      Um–we can both win???

  3. Amelia @ One Catholic Mama on September 24, 2014 at 8:37 am

    You aren’t the worst mom and your daughter was fine so don’t beat yourself for not being right there. You can’t prevent every single bump or bruise or scrape.

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 24, 2014 at 11:09 am

      This parenting gig is hard on the old heart strings, right??

  4. Mia on September 24, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Nice to meet you! Here from Kendra’s page!

  5. Laurel on September 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Oh my gosh, I totally get you on this. There are fewer feelings worse in the world than seeing (or imagining) your little ones severely hurt. It doesn’t help that their blood-curdling cries can make you think they are worse than they really are. Don’t beat yourself up, though. We can’t be in all places, at all times, and there are bound to be tumbles we miss. Even if we are standing RIGHT THERE. I’m glad everyone is okay!

  6. Amy Augustine on September 24, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I must have missed this scenario at the orchard because I was so on top of things (read LATE) that I actually started driving toward the WRONG ORCHARD that day. Ha! Still made it for awhile but didn’t get to talk to you because I am (proudly) the helicopter mom and was stuck with my whiney little one near the tractors the whole time. I guess I’m just helicopter-ish but I have zero desire to change that. I interrupt conversations with adults if the kiddos need help, constantly (with too much anxiety, I’m sure) have an eye on both kids, follow them around…that’s my style and I’m comfortable with it. I only have two kids though (so far) so I feel like I’m still evolving as a mom. You are, too, and I guarantee no one who knows anything about you would EVER think you’re anything but an excellent mother. 🙂 Cheers to us all doing it differently and loving it even on the hard days.

  7. Hayley on September 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Nell! I keep seeing your name and blog pop up on other blogs I follow (mostly Olivia’s at To The Heights!). I really love your blog! I wanted to contact you privately but I didn’t see a contact page… I just have a simple question. I would like to buy a sewing machine new but I am totally new to the craft. Could you recommend any particular machines?

    Thank you!

  8. Jenna@CallHerHappy on September 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    It happens, it happens, it happens, amiright?

  9. Amy @ Motherhood and Miscellany on September 27, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Oh no!! You poor mama. Those are such hard moments. I’m glad everyone is okay. And I hope your mama-heart is feeling better now too 🙂

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      You’re so loving. I’m still re-living it in my mind, but am just so so so grateful we are all okay. Little ones are tough!

  10. Bonnie on September 28, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Nell, you’re writing is so wonderful.
    And, oh gosh. I so feel your pain.
    I remember the day I was at a new mom group and baby Lydia had crawled up the stairs and then fell all the way down them. I felt horrible. She was more scared than in pain and all the moms LEFT the room I was in, like they didn’t want to associate with the mom who doesn’t even pay attention to her baby and lets her crawl and then fall down the stairs. I cried and slipped out before anyone else would notice me.

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Oh my gosh that is so terrible about Lydia and I have SO SO SO SO been there. Those moms were so mean!!!

  11. ashley.elise on September 29, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Thank you for sharing this! I read this right before we headed out of town for a cousin’s wedding. I was feeling like I needed to make the weekend be a picture-perfect glimpse into our life with three kids three and under (a somewhat strange–and possibly horrifying–situation for some family members on this side of the family). Your post reminded me to just be the mama my kiddos need and not worry about what that looks like to everyone else. I was able to relax and my kids had SO much more fun than they would have if I were thinking about the image of our family the entire time. We’ll see how long I remember this lesson… 🙂

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 29, 2014 at 11:59 am

      I’m so so so glad this could be a little help! Just being the mom our kids need is sometimes hard–weirdly enough–when we’re thinking about how we look (me: unshowered, blah blah)

  12. Anu on October 2, 2014 at 1:54 am

    You are too hard on yourself. Nothing bad happened, if you look back on the day.
    Your son is fine. Your daugther is fine. Your baby is fine. You can’t overprotect your two-year-old and make her a scared little girl. She is adventerour, active child and you don’t want to hover over her all the time, send her a message, that she is not safe and harm her confidence.
    You fell with your baby in the carrier. Yes, maybe you could have been more careful. But remember 2 things. First – you were worried about your daugther and hurried to get to her (not neglecting your children). Second – your baby is fine, nothing bad happened. You instinctivly fell in a way, that did not harm the baby. You are a mother and that’s what mothers do.
    So forgive yourself. You are a great mom. If you do not belive me, ask your children.