Being a new mama is a big learning curve about how you treat yourself, particularly if you are faced with a mama emergency
As a mama you get to choose if you let problems and emergencies be evidence that you are not doing a good job, or not.
Let me explain…
I think my little one was about 18 months old. It was an autumn windswept day and we went to a class called ‘Sing and Sign’ It’s a baby signing class that is meant to help bridge the gap between not being able to speak and the torrent of language and ‘Why’s that?’ that comes with toddlerhood.
The journey to get to the village hall where the class was held was longer than I would have liked and I didn’t know the twisting through English countryside route very well, but as a new mother I knew I wanted to give my little one great experiences and opportunities and this was one of those.
We went to class and there was the usual rounds of ‘Five currant buns in a baker’s shop, round and fat with a cherry on top, along came a boy with a penny one day, bought a currant bun and took it away,’ with each of the children having a turn to take a currant bun off the display board. All was well in mama-land and I was feeling so proud.
Time to go home, nappy bag check, keys check.
So we get to the car and have the usual seat belt tangle frustration jive goin’ on and then it was time to shut the car door.
So I did.
Then I see that the key has somehow fallen inside the car and the nappy bag is in there.
And I somehow managed to lock the car as I dropped the key.
O.K I can phone.
Phone is in the car.
So, I take a deep breath and thank heaven that it is not a summer day and try to get help to phone, all the while trying to keep little one calm in the car through the glass of the car window. And images of those dogs in cars posters flash across my mind and again I am just thankful that it is an overcast day.
I borrow that class teachers phone and fumble about with the urgency of an emergency and a phone I am unused to.
My husband has a spare key.
I can’t get in touch.
I phone the fire brigade. They always helped in ‘Trumpton’ / your childhood programme with helpful firemen.
I spend the next twenty minutes singing nursery rhymes through the glass and doing all the actions. Little one is holding up well.
The fire brigade arrive, no siren – I take that as a good sign. They have a handle on this; it’s not a complete emergency.
Six strapping firemen.
Now all the mothers from the class are at the top of the steps that forms what looks like a little balcony in a theatre and they are all standing there watching.
I speak to the chief fireman and he discusses the plan, to break in through the back panel of the door and then unlock from inside.
All the other mothers watch on, chatting to each other as the rescue attempt goes on. None of them come to speak to me through out all of this.
The rescue comes to its conclusion and little one is in my arms again, none the worse for this experience, looking around as if to say ‘What’s all the fuss?’ or ‘Wow, you all turned up to say goodbye.’ I’m not sure exactly, the baby signing is good, but not that good.
What I learnt:
The point of me telling you this story is that in this situation I have the choice to determine what I make it mean.
I could make it mean the other mothers were laughing at me / looking down at me.
I could make it mean that I was not a good mother.
I could make it mean that I was stupid to have dropped the key and that it was all my fault.
Or I could choose for it not to mean any of these things. To forgive myself if that feels good, even thought I had no mean intent and just move on having learnt to be more conscious of checking my keys before I close the car door.
The other mothers might have just been admiring the firemen or thinking that I was cool and collected given the circumstances.
The other thing I learnt was not to stand on the balcony. When another mother is in trouble I can make the choice to be with her as support rather than keep myself separate.
What have been your mama emergencies and what did you learn from them? Tell me in the comments below.