A Mother’s Confession: A SONG WITH FOOTNOTES

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hola comrades!
welcome to my latest Patreon Thing! this is Thing #10 (the Bowie “strung out” tribute was #9) and yes, things are just getting weirder and more awesome. good evening. it’s february 25th, 2016.

everything will become clear once you listen/read.

short story: jason and i challenged each other to write 11 songs last week in seattle, i wrote one, and the 
next day, jason recorded it in his houseboat. (he also played accordion and…some other stuff. just listen.)

fact, and every writer will back me up, short things are harder to write than long things.

motherhood leaves me little time to edit, so the song is almost 11 minutes. i make no apologies.

LISTENING/READING RECOMMENDATIONS:

listen FIRST, then read!

 the footnotes are an integral part of the song. this is a GESAMTKUNSTWERK, folks, even though it only has a few chords, you got me?

i highly recommend printing this out, or – if you must, even though i cringe when neil does it – taking your iPad/phone into the bath (but please, airplane mode, people!) and reading while the song plays. i also recommend a glass of wine (or a nice chamomile tea) with your bath, a hanky, and some lavender epsom salts (excellent for overall body relaxation).

if you are a parent and would like to add your own confession in the comments, i would feel less lonely. everybody else would, too.

i look forward to coming back here tomorrow and reading.

i can’t say it enough, the patreon is making my recent fuck-it-all-and-make-it-and-put-it-out approach to music possible. if you want to support more thing-making, please join (for as little patronage as $1/thing) the beautiful and growing patreon community at https://www.patreon.com/amandapalmer.

 

“A MOTHER’S CONFESSION” (the lyrics)


our son is four months old1 his name is anthony or ash for short2
and he’s too small to do things by himself3
we were in L.A. over christmas in a rental and we jury-rigged4 a place
to change his diapers on a shelf5

i was peeing in the bathroom and had left him for a second6
cause i thought he couldn’t move and he was safe7
as i came out i saw him falling in slow motion to the floor8
it was probably the worst moment9 of my life

and then i accidentally stole a thing of chapstick10 from the safeway11
i didn’t see it ’til i got out to the car12
i would have usually returned it13 but i was overwhelmed14
and late15 to take the baby to my cousins16 which was far away17

in my defense i’d bought like $8718 worth of groceries
and the chapstick was a $1.9919
i know it wasn’t the right thing to use20
to use my newborn21 child as an excuse
but it felt like a real reason at the time22

and as i pulled out of the parking lot i cried23
and as i pulled onto the highway i said “right….
at least the baby didn’t die…right?
at least the baby didn’t die….”24

and then we went to sarasota25
to see neil’s cousin helen
for her birthday she just turned ninety-nine26
we were also there for sidney
who was ninety-four two days before
but he was sick27 so mostly it was ash and helen time28

she survived the warsaw ghetto29
and she always30 says “i love you”
when she sees you ’cause she knows you never know
she’d worked for months while i was pregnant
on a gorgeous handmade blanket31
her almost-hundred-year-old hands crocheting every row

i’d been emailing her pictures32 of the baby and the blanket
every day since she had sent it in the mail
but they were of one that someone else had knitted33 34
she was really nice about it
then i went and shoplifted a pair of stupid sunglasses
from goodwill35 (they were on my head36
i’d tried them on and left them there)
but that’s not really bad compared to
when we left the baby in the car37.

at least he wasn’t in there very long.
…and not directly in the sun.
and thank god no-one walking by happened to notice what we’d done.
i’m even scared to put these lyrics in a song.

but
everything is relative38 and everyone’s related39
i can’t do that much right now
but take care of this baby40
i figure everything’s technically all right
if at least this baby doesn’t die.

(i’d also like his dad alive. so honey….careful when you drive41 42).

and then i took a plane43 to washington alone44
so we could visit jason webley who’s his godfather45
he’s playing the accordion46
i couldn’t wait to see him and share tales of my disasters
over dinners in his houseboat when i saw i’d lost my passport47

so i got a rush appointment at the place where you replace them48
and i drove the baby in and on the way i got a speeding ticket49

when the cop came to the window i was shaking and i said i’m sorry50
but you couldn’t hear me that’s how loud the sound of screaming was
cause he was hungry and i think that i was speeding
’cause i panic when i hear him cry51
my god what kind of a mother am i52

and as i pulled out of the breakdown lane i cried
and as i pulled out on the highway i said “right.
at least the baby didn’t die. right?
at least the baby didn’t die.”

while i was waiting for my passport i was hungry so
i twittered for good coffee in the neighborhood53
and there i saw a woman who was sitting at the bar
and it was noon and she was drinking54
and she called across the diner at me “how old is your baby?”
and she smiled at us nursing
and she said she had a daughter who was grown
and then she paused
and said she also had a son55

and when i’d paid and was about to leave
i picked him up and crossed the room and touched her sleeve
i said “hey this baby wanted to say hi.”56
and she held him tight and she started to cry.57

and i’m sorry that this story’s gotten long
and that everybody’s crying in this song.58

and as i got back in the car i turned the radio and heater on
and sat there with the baby in the back.59
and they were talking about syria and climate change and ISIS
and the candidates’ positions on iraq60
i feel so useless in this universe
i know i could be doing worse
i’m trying hard to stay at peace61 inside
i know it’s hard to be a parent
but my flaws are so gigantic62
…i wonder if i should have had a child.63

and as i pulled out of the parking lot i cried
and as i pulled out on the highway i said

“right.

at least the baby didn’t die.
at least the baby didn’t die.
EVERYBODY64:
at least the baby didn’t die!! right?!
at least the baby didn’t die!!
(i may not make it to the passport place on time!65)
at least the baby didn’t die.
(and they might suspend my license for a while!!66)
at least the baby didn’t die.
(and i might get caught for retroactive theft!!67)
at least the baby didn’t die.
(and i might get turned into the DSS!68)

but at least the baby didn’t die69.”

 


 FOOTNOTES:

1 he was actually just about to turn five months when i wrote this song. he was born on september 16th, and this song was written on february 11th. so. yeah. saying five months felt not right but saying “almost five months” wouldn’t fit and to be honest about it i feel like the song is better if the baby is smaller. i don’t know why i thought that. i think maybe it makes me feel less guilty.

2 his name is Anthony David Karl Gaiman. i’d always thought i’d name a boy after anthony, because of how much anthony meant to me in my life, but only if he was dead. and when i was pregnant, anthony was sick but not dead and not necessarily dying. and you don’t name a baby after a not-necessarily dying person. that’s just bad luck. so neil and i talked about the name for a while after we found out he was going to be a boy, and at first neil wanted to name him damon. i mean: damon gaiman. i thought it was hilarious and neil did too but all of neil’s older kids were like NOOOOOO so that idea was cut short by family veto. and then we talked about ash one day walking around walden pond…because it just floated through the air and sounded cool…and we kept on walking and trying out different forms of ash with every letter of the alphabet put in front (bash? kinda violent. cash? too country. dash? we liked dash, but art and francoise’s son was dash. gash? SO GOTH. lash? we talked about lash for a while. what a sexy name, right? sash? perfect if he goes into ballet…) then anthony died. so we named him anthony. or ash for short.

3 that’s not really fair. he can do a LOT of things by himself. he can eat his own toes, he can grab his toy cloth pig, he can boob-hunt, he can wiggle around, he can even kind of play piano…i just meant, obviously, that he can’t change his diaper by himself, or be coordinated enough to stop from falling off a thing once he starts to fall off.

4 jason and i had an argument about this. well not quite an argument but i’ve actually always wondered if it’s “jury-rigged” or “jerry-rigged”, because i hear people say both, and i’m so confused that i say both all the time. so while writing this song i finally googled it. it’s TECHNICALLY jury-rigged. grammarist.com says: “A little-used definition of jury is intended or designated for temporary use. It’s a nautical term of unknown origin, and in its early use it usually appeared in the phrase jury mast, referring to a temporary mast put up to replace one that has been lost. This is the source of the verb jury-rig, meaning to assemble for temporary use, and its derivative adjective jury-rigged. Jerry-rig is a variant spelling of jury-rig. One could call it incorrect because it entered the language several centuries after jury-rig and is obviously derived from a misspelling of the original, but it is widely used and is accepted by some dictionaries. It would be easier to dismiss jerry-rig as incorrect if we didn’t have the separate adjective jerry-built, which means built of bad materials. Jerry-built may or may not be etymologically related to jury-rig (its origins are mysterious), but all major dictionaries agree that jerry is the correct spelling in this case.” (http://grammarist.com/usage/jury-rig-jerry-rig-jerry-built/)…after i sent this link to jason (who was across the room, making dinner) he argued that even if the correct expression is jury-rigged, people say jerry-rigged, and so i should feel free to use either. but by the time i found out that one was actually correct, i felt like i could never go back, and now it will bother me every time i hear someone say “jerry-rigged”.

5 so to call it a SHELF is actually not accurate, it was more like a…random surface in this rental house. kind of like a built in table. the worst thing about the whole episode was the fact that the floor was made of hard tile. i tried to fit that into the song. it didn’t fit.

6 okay. not a second. i mean, peeing takes more than a second. that’s a turn of phrase.  the truth is more awful, i was also doing more than peeing. this is where the guilt starts to creep in. i was downstairs in the house, and upstairs were allan amato and olga nunes, who had asked me if they could come by and interview me for their documentary about art. and i’d said fine, and was juggling getting ready for shooting their thing and taking care of the baby, and was not only peeing but putting on eyeliner. so i was in there for more like…three minutes. maybe less. maybe more. the irony of all this is that you can watch the interview, which was filmed about 15 minutes after this all happened. i’m not sure if i look weird, but i felt weird. https://vimeo.com/152328042

7 he managed to push himself, for the first time, with his arms, to the edge of the table. i could hear him cry from the bathroom, which was about 15 feet away…

8 …and as soon as i heard him cry and was rushing out to see if he was okay, he was just slipping off the edge. he didn’t actually fall in slow motion. it just seemed it. i ran over, with my heart in shreds, wondering if maybe i would have a paralyzed baby, or at least a baby with a broken bone. i had just been talking to my aunt sonia about how one of her twin sons had a broken arm at three months because he slipped out of her grip. he was crying so woefully. i held him to my chest and rocked him and rocked him and took him to the bed. and fed him. and then i looked over his entire body and he seemed to be okay. but now i had that image stuck in my head of him falling (like the recurring dream sequence in the brady bunch of marsha getting hit in the nose with the football over and over). the image will still not leave my head. it is stuck.

9 worst SHORT moment. i was okay about a day later. i spent the next day in a kind of a shivering shock, checking his body for possible broken bones or wrong things. the worst LONG moment was probably that time in 1996 i had the worst hangover of my life, maybe i’ll do that song next. with footnotes.

10 here’s how it happened, and i’ll even come clean about the time it happened in new york, like a month later. i go shopping. i have the baby. the baby is asleep in the car. i need to take the baby into the store. the baby’s car seat fits in his stroller, which is great. it means he will stay asleep. it is very good when the baby stays asleep so that i can shop without having to entertain or feed him. but. i cannot wheel the baby and a shopping cart at the same time. they both take two hands. i am not sure what other people do. i refuse to look these things up on the internet. so i improvise, and i’ve found his entire car seat fits into most grocery carts. this is AWESOME. it means i can park the car, run to the place where the shopping carts are, run back to the car, insert the baby, and then wheel him around the store. it also means he gets covered with groceries. you see where this is headed. so twice now, i’ve done a huge grocery run and gotten to the car (in this particular case) or home (in the case of the small package of cinnamon) before i realize that the baby had lost groceries hidden within or atop him. i now check the baby REALLY carefully before i leave the store. note that i am being a really big person and not making some cheap shot joke about the baby being the thief here. he’s just a baby, he can’t steal anything yet.

11 this was in sarasota, so the song is out of order. i know. the original lyric was the truth: it wasn’t a safeway, it was a Publix. Publix is a chain of supermarkets in florida. the hilarious thing is that i was getting it confused with the supermarket in L.A., which is a Vons. but no, neil confirmed, it was the Publix in sarasota where i accidentally stole the chapstick. it was jason who made me change it. we were working on the song in his houseboat and he was like, “what’s a publics?” and i was like “it’s a chain of supermarkets” and he was like “i’ve never heard of it” and i was like “well it’s only on the west coast” and he was like “amanda we’re ON the west coast, we’re in seattle” and i was like “i mean CALIFORNIA” and he was like “the lyric is going to confuse people, it isn’t clear it’s a supermarket” and i was like “i think people will understand” and he was like “i would forgive it if it was a weird supermarket-y sounding supermarket but it isn’t, it sounds like it could be something else because it’s a real word” and i was like “publix isn’t a real word” and he said “yes it is, the public’s opinion on donald trump is divided” and i was like “but it sounds so good with chapstick” and he was like “change it to safeway” and i was like “ugh fine.” i’m still not sure i made the right decision. i’m clearly not sure about ANYTHING. i think i’ll use “publix” if i ever play it live again, just to be like OH YEAH. (see exhibit A for a picture of the sarasota publix).

12 mind you – this is a GIGANTIC shopping mall parking lot. it’s florida. you’ve been to florida. so the car is like miles from the store. i should shut up here, i think. (again, see exhibit A).

13 this is the truth, and in my defense i have walked BACK into stores on at least a dozen occasions in my life when i got like halfway down the street and realized i was still holding the pen/chapstick/banana/whatever in my hand that i forgot to put on the checkout counter. this time i was just like FUCK. it had taken so much drama to get the groceries and the baby out to the car. i was like: they will forgive me. will they forgive me? i don’t know. do you forgive me?

14  true

15 not true. this happened in florida and when i wrote the song, i thought it had happened in california. so i lied, but by accident. kind of.

16  there are two sets of cousins in this song. were were at my california cousins over christmas. katherine is my main cousin there and then there was robert, who died just after anthony, who once played ukulele on the beach with me (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsvI0KWoaTE), and gus, and guy and michelle, and betsey, and maureen and maddy, and frank, and annie, and brent, and grant, and mac…and more.

17 here’s a lie: the Von’s (which was the Safeway, which was the Publix) was actually only like two miles from my cousins’ house in california where i was late to be the time that i thought i was remembering when i wrote the song. so yeah i was lying there, not by accident. i just wanted my case to sound solid.

18  what’s weird here is when i wrote the song and was remembering the wrong supermarket, it was actually a grocery run i did of like $450 because it was all the stuff for christmas day. but the run to the publix, which is the safeway, which was the actual story, i think i actually only spent like $60. but still.

19  i admit: i made that up. it was a loose chapstick. it couldn’t have cost that much. i just googled to make myself feel better and most single chapsticks costs like a dollar. i am very relieved to see that mostly online you buy chapstick in a three-pack and that the three-pack is like $2.82.  point = AFP. (see exhibit B).

20 this is just a random interesting songwriting note: the original draft of the song had ” i know it wasn’t the right thing to do; to use my newborn infant as an excuse” with more crunched in timing, but jason said he didn’t like it. i trust jason. most of the time.

21  i felt weird about saying “newborn”, because, he’s kind of not. i mean, what counts as newborn? what counts as NEW? i just looked it up online:

“new·born ˈn(y)o͞oˌbôrn/ adjective 1. (of a child or animal) recently or just born.”

so i think i’m in the clear there. i mean, he was kind of just born. how are we defining “recently” here? i just googled again and wound up on the website of the World Health Organization…they say “A newborn infant, or neonate, is a child under 28 days of age.” so here i am, lying. they also go on to say ” During these first 28 days of life, the child is at highest risk of dying. It is thus crucial that appropriate feeding and care are provided during this period, both to improve the child’s chances of survival and to lay the foundations for a healthy life.” so there the WHO is, getting fucking meta in my googling about my own song. HOWEVER, i don’t really know if this can count as a lie because i DO state his age in the first line of the song.

point = World Health Organization. (http://www.who.int/topics/infant_newborn/en/)

22 it really did. but also i felt really guilty. you know that feeling?

23  so, a note about this car part. it’s a time-collage of tears. i’ve cried a lot since having the baby and often in cars and often after doing stupid shit. this moment may not have actually happened, but it might has well have.

24 this part is true. every time something has started bugging me lately, especially something really mundane, i’ve been clinging onto this mantra. it’s very useful.

25 hear that drum? it’s quiet, but it’s in there. so, jason lives outside of seattle in a houseboat. we were all sleeping on the houseboat. and that’s the drum that jason saw FLOATING DOWN THE RIVER OUTSIDE THE HOUSEBOAT the first morning we woke up there. jason was like: “do you see what’s floating down the river?” and i was like “no, what?” but he was already outside getting in his canoe. i stood there holding the baby thinking that this sort of thing probably happens to you every morning if you’re jason webley. red bass drums just float down the river and call to you when you wake up in the morning and you get in your canoe and go rescue them. that’s what makes you jason webley. i got some pictures of the drum rescue. (see exhibits C and D).

26 it’s a lie. she just turned ninety-EIGHT. but i tried really really hard to find things that worked with the story that rhymed with eight and i just couldn’t make it work. i tried, i swear. i felt really bad about this, because as you can see in a second, i already screwed up royally with the blanket.  on the other hand, sidney really did turn ninety-four. i wondered for a second if i should lie about him, too, and make him ninety-five, but that would have just made things worse, i think. i think helen will be really nice about it. i’m kind of nervous about her hearing this song. at least it doesn’t have any swears in it. helen doesn’t like it when i swear. wait, are there any swears in this song? i had to think about it for a second. i don’t think there are. anyway: sidney’s birthday is january 30th and helen’s birthday is february 1st and they’ve been married for SIXTY SEVEN YEARS. they were married after helen escaped poland and moved to new york after the war, in 1948.

27 it’s a half-lie to say that sidney was SICK, he wasn’t SICK so much as in the rehab center next door in a wheelchair most of the time because he fell three weeks before and broke his arm and hip. when you fall and you’re ninety-four it’s a drag. but i couldn’t fit it in and make it work. so i kind of lied. i mean…sick is usually reserved for not-broken-bone sick. what do we call that? what’s the word for sick-from-broken-bones? laid up? i needed one syllable. sue me.

28   for awesome ash and helen time, see exhibit E.

29 this is true. helen was in the warsaw ghetto. she and her sisters all escaped the gas chambers in different ways, and how they escaped is not my story to tell. helen is one of the most wonderful people i have ever met, and it has been so important to me that she and little anthony are getting time together. they have a kind of connection that leaves me in awe. they span almost a century. if you think about it, if ash lives a hundred years, they’ll SPAN TWO CENTURIES. think about how long a time that is. (for more awesome ash and helen time, see exhibit F.)

30  this is actually true. i don’t think i’ve ever visited helen and she hasn’t begun or ended a visit with “i love you” while she grabs my hands and said it at least once during the visit. i try to be more like helen lately and when i am with someone i love, i just say it all the time. it feels nice. if you think about the fact that you might die any second (and guess what, you might) it makes it easier. try it.

31 this is a totally true story with no embellishment or un-embellishment. she gave us the blanket when we first went down to florida, three weeks after the baby was born in tennessee. i couldn’t believe that she had spent so much time, SO MUCH TIME, making this gigantic and beautiful thing for our son. i imagined her sitting there day after day, putting all of this love and handiwork into the blanket. she’s ninety-eight. her hands are old. she gets tired really easily. it just felt…huge…

32 real emails. this part is true. (see exhibit G)

33 … which was why i was so shame-filled when the blanket mix-up happened. helen’s blanket is sea-foam green (see exhibit H).we were given another one, a smaller one, by someone else, at some other time. i don’t even remember when. that one was blue (see exhibit I). they looked NOTHING ALIKE. i mean, i had no goddam excuse. the only thing these blankets had in common is that they were hand-knitted. (or hand-crocheted, i’m never sure which is which). in my defense, i had a three week year old baby when helen gave us this blanket and my mind was melting down the inside of my spine. i was lost, pretty much all the time. this is, i would like to point out, the same trip where i stole the chapstick, at the publix. anyway…after we left florida that first time, i started emailing helen all these pictures of ash and the blanket. ash in the blanket. i noticed she wasn’t responding. and then she was like: “amanda, that’s not the blanket i made. mine was sea-foam green and that one is blue.” do you know how horrible it feels to get an email like that from a ninety-seven year old woman? it feels TERRIBLE. when i started writing this song, it was basically a song to purge the blanket-guilt. it’s almost worse than the baby-falling guilt. it’s hard to say.

34 and did you notice that i didn’t mention who knitted the other blanket? i am adding this here and i don’t even need to, but this is confessional. i can’t remember. i can’t remember who gave it to us. if it was you, please write to me. you’re going to get your own song.

35 this was the goodwill in seattle. the worst thing about this is that it was the BEST goodwill i’ve ever been to. so there are a few ways of looking at this. first of all, in my defense (i am saying that too much) i spent about $200 in this goodwill. i bought a skirt and a suitcase and bunch of nice dresses and clothes for TED and a jacket to wear during my surprise david bowie performance there which was PERFECT (did you see it? it was PERFECT, see exhibit J.)

36  this is a lie. they were actually hooked over the handle of the stroller. i tried them on, liked them, had lost my other sunglasses somewhere, and decided to buy them. i was, once again, using the baby as a replacement shopping cart and covering him with clothes, which he seemed (i am not kidding at all) to really enjoy. every time i went to the dressing room to try on clothes i was like “don’t forget the sunglasses are hooked on the stroller, amanda”. and then i forgot. i was a few blocks away when i realized it, and already in the car, and again, made the unethical choice. i am not defending myself here. i should have gone back. these sunglasses cost $3.99. (to see the sunglasses in question, which i haven’t lost, please refer to exhibit K). i really want to get my philosopher friend josh from yale involved in this whole situation, because it’s an ethical one, and he studies ethics, and he would probably be quick to point out that my calculating was unethical. i mean, if the sunglasses had cost fifty cents would it be more or less ethical? what if they cost $49? the whole point is that i measured using a scale of capitalism instead of a scale of ethics and i shouldn’t have done it. at this, point, though, it’s too late to send the chapstick and the sunglasses to whence they came (i mean, goodwill would probably not put them back on the shelf…would they?). so i’ve decided my ethical failure should result in two checks (exhibits L & M), one in which i pay the publix back their $1.99 and one in which i pay goodwill back their $3.99 plus $100 because they’re goodwill and not The Man.

37 i don’t really want to write this footnote. because of all the things in this song, this one feels the most incriminating. like, even in the footnotes, i’m fucking terrified that the parent-police are going to read this and knock on the door and take my child away. it would be easy to blame this one on neil, but the truth is we both fucked up and we left the baby in the car. i’m not going to go into the details. even i have my limits. ask me over wine in a bar sometime. at least he wasn’t in there very long, on a cool day. and not directly in the sun. and thank god no-one walking by happened to notice what we’d done. i mean: that could have been bad. HOWEVER, it has been comforting to realize that almost every parent has fucked up in this way at least once. after i played this song a few days after writing it, in seattle, where jason and i were doing a benefit for the everett animal shelter, a handful of people talking to me after the show confided their horrific “when i fucked up” baby stories. i wonder if i’m now going to become a receptacle of people’s horrific baby confessions. bring them on. i’ll take them. every one of them lightens my load. actually, maybe there can be a confessional as part of this song-post. i’m going to look into it.

38  it is!

39 we are! kind of.

40 i wonder if that’s going to come off as disingenuous. i mean, i AM doing things other than taking care of this baby. i am clearly accidentally shoplifting chapsticks and sunglasses, flying in planes, doing shows at TED, putting out david bowie cover records, writing long songs in jason’s house, and, you know, stuff. maybe herein lies the problem. maybe mothers of small babies really should just lie in bed and gaze into the eyes on their infant and nurse and listen to john coltrane and drink juice. i did that for the first three weeks. but then i didn’t. i think there’s one very obvious skill i have lost, that i was never very good at in the first place: editing. i am a shit editor. give me a few weeks and i can write a short song. give me a day and that fucker’s going to be 11 minutes.

41 this is kind of a way of throwing focus. neil is probably a better driver than me, overall, and we do have a speeding ticket coming down the pike (no pun intended) in the next verse. but come to think of it he did back the car straight into a tree about a week after the baby was born and the bumper was dented and he was really angry at himself and the funniest part was that we were leaving a yoga class. he was in fucking space. i tried to convince him to forgive himself. but anyway, i don’t want him to die more than ever, and i’ve always had a thing about him dying, mostly because i get stuck in my head and start thinking about how he’s older than me. and then i remember that any of us could get hit by a bus at any time and i look at my friends who have partners with HIV and i look at my friend zoë whose husband jeff just got taken by cancer at age 43 and i look at anthony who died at 65 and i look at all the people dying randomly everywhere at random ages and i just stop worrying about it because who has the time.

42 i wasn’t sure where else to put this picture but it seemed relevant somehow..it’s neil changing the baby on the back of the same ill-fated rental car in which the baby was abandoned-not-for-very-long. sometimes you just have to change a baby. neil is a champion diaper changer, whether or not he is macgyvering the changing station. (see exhibits)

43 he’s been really good on planes (see exhibit N)

44  i mean, not alone, because i was with the baby, but not with neil. alone-with-a-baby is totally a thing. i’ve actually gotten really into being alone with the baby, because he just IS and doesn’t need to make small talk about anything and i like hanging out alone with him in cafes and bars and stuff because it’s basically like being alone only you have to change diapers and occasionally feed the baby. i actually caught myself in conversation the other day saying “i’ll be there in three days” when i actually was talking about the baby and me. so i corrected myself. we’ll be there. we’ll be there, me and him. me. and him. us.

45 he makes a really good godfather. ash is his sixth godchild and he’s thinking about holding an annual Summit of the Godchildren. jason has been my real true friend for so long, and i treasure time with him. i’d found out about TED being early this year, and in vancouver again, so i hit jason up to see if he’d be in seattle, where he lives, so i could come introduce him to the baby. jason is liminal: (ˈlimənl/ adjective, technical 1. of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process 2. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.) we met in australia in the street when we were both busking, back in 2000, and we stayed friends. then in around 2007 he introduced me to michael, my boyfriend before neil, and then he introduced me to neil in 2008, and then he officiated mine and neil’s wedding, and when i was just about to have the baby, he visited the place where i was giving birth in tennessee. he stayed for a few days and left for a plane about three hours after i went into labor, so he never got to see the baby. he’s a human threshold, this guy. the thread that threads me. anyway, when i showed up at his houseboat in seattle, we thought we might make some music together, but didn’t decide what, and then one night the power went out and i slept on the floor with the baby and he slept in the loft and we stayed up all night making each other giggle and challenging each other to write 11 songs the next day. well, 11 songs total, 4 each and three together. i wrote this one, on the upright piano in the houseboat (see exhibit O) . jason wrote one about the local donut shop (it’s actually good, believe me) and we tried to finish my children’s song, “the butt song” together. i just checked what day that was: it was the 11th. of february. i liked my song enough to ask him if we could record it the next day, and so we stayed up til like 3 am, and we did it. (see exhibit P for some photos of how charming our workspace was).

46 this is a REALLY interesting lie! so…he IS playing the accordion, but not at the exact time i did the vocal. i did the piano and vocal in one take. i worked on the lyrics all day and kept telling jason i was almost ready to record it. but then we wanted to go see the donut shop that he had written the song about and then jason wanted to make soup for dinner and we needed to watch some youtube clips of bernie sanders on saturday night live and by the time we actually started recording it was eleven o’clock, so i practiced the song like once and it was so long we just started recording and it was also funny because it was just us in the houseboat with the baby so when the baby was making noise which was like almost all the time, we couldn’t really record, and then finally at like 2 am the baby fell asleep and i got a good, single take. but jason couldn’t POSSIBLY be playing the accordion at the same time because it was just me playing and the baby on the blanket (THE RIGHT BLANKET) and jason engineering the song (exhibit Q) and he was also sometimes holding the baby (exhibit R). so he couldn’t actually play the accordion live on the take, he played it like two days later and also used that day as a photo opp for this footnote shitshow (exhibit S). and while we’re doing jason-multi-instrumentalist show and tell… he added the glockenspiel that you hear (exhibit T). and he also played, as you know from way back in the story, the river-drum…all spiffied up (exhibit U!) but back to the point: he IS playing the accordion, but at the same time he’s also not. schroedinger’s accordion. and to make things even weirder, i’m technically playing the piano but actually I AM NOT PLAYING THE PIANO AT ALL. by the time you listen to the recording, i’ve played the piano ages ago, and jason has technically played the accordion more recently than i played the piano. it’s all so confusing and timey-wimey.

47 this is a half-truth. i didn’t lose it…well, i lost it once…but that was a while ago. like over a year and a half ago. i still, to this day, do not know how i lost it. it was in my apartment and then it was gone. so i had to go to the boston passport office at the time (i’ll never forget it, because anthony was sick and in the cancer halfway house at the time, not far from the passport office, and i went from being with him in the cancer-room to getting my passport to going out to lunch with a friend who i think was suicidal and then back to cancer land. and one thing i remember was seeing all the babies in the passport office getting their passports. it was, otherwise, a dark day.) my original passport eventually surfaced but by then it was too late, i’d been issued a temporary passport, and this was the one that i had to get replaced with a permanent one before i went to TED in vancouver, canada. you need a passport. and i’d started applying in summer, with superkate helping me with all the bureaucratic forms and applications and one thing led to another led to another and pictures were delayed and forms were wrong and here i was, a week before leaving for canada, with no fucking passport. so it wasn’t as bad as i make it sound. i lied. it worked for the song. are we getting the gist here? sometimes you lie more, and sometimes you lie less, and sometimes you lie to make yourself sound better, and sometimes you lie to make yourself sound worse.

48  this part is true. i got the next possible appointment at the seattle passport office, which was like an hour drive from jason’s houseboat.

49 this part is also true. i was going 17 miles over the limit, which had just changed from 70 to 60. (see exhibit V).

50 all of this is completely accurate. i freak out, like most people probably, when cops pull me over. and i was already freaked out from motherhood and passport.

51  there’s a kind of a nice silver lining here, i suppose, which is that because i got pulled over and had been panicking about feeding the baby, i got to feed the baby in the breakdown lane, which was what i had been deliriously thinking about doing about 5 minutes before because i couldn’t find a place to pull off and now maybe i wonder if i was self-consciously sabotaging myself so i could legally feed the baby in the breakdown lane and not have to pull off the highway to feed him and therefore have a higher probability of making my passport appointment on time. which reminds me, i lied again. i got the speeding ticket on the way to pick UP the passport after i’d already been in once to apply for it. the whole thing was a pain in the ass. but i thought i’d make this clear. this was trip number two. wait. if i’m being totally honest it was trip-into-seattle-from-jason’s number THREE  because the day before i had to drive in to get a medical exam for another visa (it’s a long story). but i mention that because it was the drive-in-to-get-the-medical-exam-day that i saw the lady in the bar. spoiler alert if you’re reading these footnotes in realtime while listening to the song. wait, is that possible??

52 let me just pause here and say that i know how hyperbolic this song is, and i know what kind of mother i am. i am a normal mother. because everybody is totally weird, as far as i’m concerned. seriously. show me a normal person. i’ll give you $5.

53 this is absolutely true except see the last footnote. i wasn’t waiting for my passport (well, i was waiting in the grand sense, to get it the next day), i was on my way home back to jason’s after getting a medical exam for a visa. i asked seattle for a good coffee spot (https://twitter.com/amandapalmer/status/697111924400476161 and exhibit W) and a bunch of people twittered back and one girl mentioned the five point cafe (exhibit X), which i happened to be walking right by on the way to my parked rental car.  so i went in.

54 it wasn’t noon, but it was close. it was around one o’clock. but still. and she was drinking. i’m not sure what, something reddish/pinkish with ice. but you know how you can tell the difference between when people are drinking and they’re drinking? she was drinking.

55 all completely true, and she added that her daughter was eighteen and her son was fourteen. and it was the pause that killed me. and if you were wondering, the coffee was great, the staff was great, i wanted to return many times (see what it looks like by consulting exhibit Y) i had an avocado benedict and am planning on sending @msmellymel some kind of magical gift for helping me technically write a verse of this song. thanks, girl.

56 i didn’t literally say that, but i said something close. there was something about the way she was looking at us. i have to say, one of my favorite things about having a baby is giving him away to other people. he’s like a little warm human rorschach test. insert him into human arms and watch what happens. amazing things happen. scary things happen. the dark gets pulled out of the light and the light shoots into the closet. it gets WEIRD when you hand people a baby. especially when most people don’t go around handing their babies to strangers. i will stand by this: babies like being held, by everybody. actually, no. THIS baby seems to like to be held by everybody. unless you’re freaking out and anxious, then he cries.

57 true story. and i’d seen it coming. and while she cried, she looked at me and told me she was going through a really hard time. and we talked for a second. and then i left.

58 sorry not sorry.

59 this is mostly a fabrication of space-time. there have been plenty of times i’ve sat with the baby in the back of the car (most memorably, the time i realized we’d left him there and i just sat back there rocking him and me in a terrified bonding session) but this time wasn’t one of them. this time i got in the car and drove away. but i did put the radio on. but it wasn’t the news. we listened to indie music on KEXP.

60 true-ish. even though i wasn’t listening to NPR, which is my car music of choice, i’ve been reading the news a lot since coming back from childbirth. i think it’s been a stupid idea. now i’m just sad a lot of the time.

61 this was jason’s lyric. i couldn’t find a two-syllable word for “calm” with the right emphasis. he found it. i love jason.

62 i really wanted to use “apparent” instead of “gigantic”. but i figure throwing a pun that stupid in at the end of the song was just not a good idea.

63 this feels like maybe the most important lie in the song. it’s not true, that i’ve ever thought this. it sounds good in the song, and there’s maybe some part of me that wonders, but not really. not at all, even. i had this child and that’s that. i’ve kind of closed the door on regret. i actually closed it the second i was pregnant this time. i was done deciding. i thought about whether it was a good idea to keep this line in, and fuck it. i did.

64 “everybody” is the assemblage of people (about 30 of them) who crowded into jason’s houseboat the night after we recorded the song and agreed to be our chorus. they named themselves “the shakarooners” because the event we had all just been to, the everett animal shelter benefit, was called shakaroo.  i don’t know why it was called shakaroo. but…get it? sha….karooners? o well. the alternate group name was “the floating drum collective”. huge thanks to all of those people. you were awesome.

65  i did!

66  i’ve gotten three speeding tickets in under two years! they might! but they haven’t yet!

67  i haven’t!

68  i haven’t been!

69 he hasn’t! (exhibit Z)

 

 


EXHIBITS:

exhibit A: this is the publix in sarasota. not the vons in hermosa beach, not a safeway anywhere.

exhibit B: three pack of chap-stick, $2.82

PastedGraphic-46.png

exhibit C: the drum that floated by

exhibit D: jason rescuing the floating drum.

exhibit E: ash and helen time

exhibit F: what the hell, more ash and helen time

exhibit G: the incriminating email (one of them)

Exhibit G

exhibit H: the right blanket, with sidney and helen.

exhibit I: the wrong blanket:

exhibit J: the goodwill jacket from my TED surprise… (and al gore).

al gore.png

(photo from TED.com)

exhibit K: the sunglasses from goodwill.

exhibit L: checks to the publix (not vons or safeway) and to goodwill

Exhibit L

exhibit M: neil is an excellent father/diaper macgyver

Exhibit M

exhibit N: the baby flies with ease.

exhibit O: jason’s houseboat piano with my song on it

exhibit P: my lyric station, across from the piano.

exhibit Q:

IMG_3216.JPG

exhibit R:

exhibit S: jason playing the accordion

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exhibit T: the glockenspiel overdub

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exhibit U: the dog is named wilson. note hermann hesse books on shelf.

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(all photos of jason playing things by nicole moon)

exhibit V: speeding ticket.

exhibit W: the coffee tweet

exhibit X: the coffee answer

exhibit Y: the five point

Seattle_-_Five_Point_Cafe_01 (1) 2.jpg

(photo credit: wiki commons)

exhibit Z: see? totally alive, right blanket and all.

all photos by amanda palmer unless otherwise noted.

thanks again to the patrons for supporting me in my making of The Things. please do leave blog comments, we’re readin’. and if you liked this experience, please share the page. this shit will never be in stores…it’s not even on iTunes. it’s just me against the music, i mean, me and you and the internet, people. long live the punk cabaret, and i’m off to change a diaper.

i love you all a lot.

XXX

amfp

514 Responses to “A Mother’s Confession: A SONG WITH FOOTNOTES”

  1. Gavin Apmorrygan

    Just saying thank your for being so open and honest so happy to come across your patron and patron group. Seriously has saved a life.

    Reply
  2. Bekah

    Not a mom, but I have six younger brothers and sisters and I’ve had a few scary, not-so-good big sister moments. The worst was when I stepped on my youngest brother, Jonathan, when he was trying to take a nap on the living room floor (but in my defense, the room was pretty dark). He was still little then. Four to five months old. I didn’t see him until I took a step and put my full 120 pounds onto his tiny chest. He woke up screaming. I was horrified. I remember wanting to cry.
    Luckily, he was okay. Now he’s five years old and that whole stepping-on-Jonathan business has become one of those stories we always tell at family get-togethers. I wonder how old he’ll be when he gets to hear the story.

    Reply
  3. Michelle

    Amanda, you are putting my heart into words, as usual. My Finn is 6 months old. I saw you perform twice while we were both pregnant, and I went back onstage myself a month after I became a mom. Your ongoing thoughts on Motherhood have been a lifeline.

    My baby has fallen on the floor twice while I was preoccupied with peeing and/or dozing off, and once while he just launched off my lap. Each time I’ve been distraught. Each time the baby has been back to giggling within a minute. I took him to the doctor because I’d nipped his fingernail too short and he wouldn’t stop crying or bleeding. He and the doctor both laughed as he got his band aid.

    I think I might be the worst, but at least the baby didn’t die. He’s crawling now. Fear for us all.

    Reply
    • Michelle

      OH AND I forgot the best one: last night I fell UP the stairs with the baby in my arms. The baby did not hit the floor, and in fact did not even wake up, but I had to call my husband to help me pry myself off the ground without waking him or dropping him. I have an enormous lumpy bruise on my shin. The baby snored contentedly while I picked up my dignity.

      Reply
  4. Trootling

    I heard you perform this at Shakaroo and loved every minute of it! The whole car ride home was full of the other moms and I sharing horror stories. Two of mine… once I left a baby sleeping in the car when I went into a glasses store to find/purchase new frames. Didn’t realize until paying she was still out there! Also had my eldest child (3 years old at the time) shut (and therefore lock) the door behind me in dead of winter when I went out to garage. Could see her through the glass gorging herself on forbidden fruit — Altoids. And feeding them one at a time to her 1.5 year old sister. CHOKING HAZARD ANYONE? Had to call my husband from a neighbor’s house out of the courtroom to come and unlock the door. Shining motherhood moment.

    Reply
  5. KZS

    I can relate to this so much. I cried through the the entire song, remembering the struggle I also endured that first year with a newborn. I was responsible for another human being’s life. ME! I am currently sitting on my car in the parking lot at my daughter’s middle school waiting for her to get out of play practice. I am sobbing.

    My kids are now 12 and almost 16, and although the worries are different, they are still ever present. Though at least the babies didn’t die.

    Reply
  6. outfoxing

    Parental brain melting is one hundred percent a thing, a pretty universal thing at that. Hell, I’m currently babysitting my slightly-younger-than-Ash cousin while her parents work, and I’m mostly a zombie by the time I get home. I have no vague idea what I’m going to do if/when I have a kid of my own and the baby goes home with me. Changing diapers, soothing upset tummies, guiding little muscles to grow stronger every day, that’s the easier part for me. I’ve babysat most of my younger cousins for their first few years of life, I know the script by now. Being patient and hitting the brakes for a second when I’m stretched too thin is where I have trouble. Self-care is for sure important, and where I usually fall short tbh. There’s a balance between selfless caregiving and selfish indulgence that leaves you just enough room to get shit done well without completely losing your mind. So I’ve been told, at least the baby didn’t die. Sure, you’re exhausted and your brain feels like a thick sludge and it might be leaking out of both your ears, but he’s okay and apparently feet are a wonderful snack.

    Reply
  7. Sue Mey

    Hello. Trust me you are not alone. The village of self doubting parents is huge and we are doing the best.

    I follow RIE, Montessori, attachment parenting and pikler for freedom of movement of the newborn ( you don’t need them to seclude them into strollers, bouncers, etc. if you have a mirror and a floor mattress or a safe place for him to move he will do it and even do it earlier than most)

    So I was and am a big movement advocate. My son started walking at 11 months old and when he was about that age he crawl into the sofa and was starting to learn how to get down the highest part but in just a second he was on the top and fell forehead first into our very hard ceramic floor and I flew to him (I was next to him when it happened and everything moved so slowly) and picked him up from the floor and he would not stop crying for about an hour and he even cried in his sleep.

    He is 17 months now and I still let him fall on his own and climb things but that image of him falling will never leave me.

    Also I could not breastfeed and that made me feel so guilty. I am over it but it was a dark time.

    Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      dude. as long as they don’t die. and i’ll google all those things. i’m like the most non-internet parent ever. i haven’t looked into any “forms” of parenting yet, except the amazing “continuum concept” book i’ve been devouring. i feel like my instincts are pretty solid and time spent obsessing about everything else is time spent not with him. and i learn from the herd/hive here in the place where i trust people. it’s part of the reason i was so happy to put this song out there to you guys.x

      Reply
      • Suemey

        I am a firm believer that instincts are the first part of the pyramid, then people I trust with their advice and then experts like Maria Montessori, Emilio Reggio, PIkler, Gerber (RIE), and Waldorf.

        Those dudes were so ahead of time. Maria said follow the child don’t follow me. If you trust your child and their absorbent mind they will show you their gift and their potential will unfold.

        I am a huge nerd when I like something and I like learning about those alternatives way of parenting (no violence, trust the child (baby led weaning), let them take risks, free play, freedom of movement, etc)

        There is a rabbit hole within the internet if you look for all those things. But if you go to the source instead of forums, it will be worth it.

        Your child is small and if you make him a pikler triangle and place a mirror and a stand up bar (like for ballet) a low shelve with some sensory items ( no batteries, and hopefully with natural materials (wood, metal, cotton) they will have a blast.

        The only three blogs I will totally recommend are howwemontessori, the kavanaugh report and Midwestern Montessori. And for RIE THE JANE SALSBURY PAGE.

        I bet your midwifes and doulas and some friends know about one or all of these things.

        Enjoy the baby and research when he is sleep of with your husband or friends. Seriously totally worth it.

        Reply
        • Lis_P

          I’ve been to pikler playrooms with both my kids and although the costs are high they’ve been a great thing for the kids as well as for me. You learn so much about how to let your baby discover movement without intervention just by watching how the pikler people do it, and the kids profit a lot in the long run. They are much more centered in their bodies than kids you are “leading up to everything”.

          They are in waldorf daycare/preschool, and I just scored my older son a place in a montessori school for the fall.

          Not so much a Gerber fan myself though.

          but yeah, in my opinion, if you follow pikler, waldorf and montessori, in my book you are good. Also: I’m going to share my own scary fall stories once I’m done reading. Because everybody has them.

          Reply
  8. em mccarty

    my third child–the daughter i waited my whole life for–she spent 12 days in NICU because i had an accidentally unattended homebirth and she didn’t get enough oxygen at first. she survived that and then when she was 4 months old, i dropped her (the only one i have ever dropped!) while trying to put her into the pocket sling i have used forever. i was on my way to my first appointment with my therapist. also, my darling daughter is the only one i have forgotten in the car. three times when she was a baby. for a few minutes each time–but still! so scary!! i remember when my first baby was born, i would cry–wondering when exactly i was going to fuck him up. somehow i have four healthy, happy children now. life is weird.

    Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      life is normal. we are weird. or maybe: we are normal people having normal reactions to normal situations (which we think are weird). xx

      Reply
      • em mccarty

        this meme tells me otherwise…but memes often tell me what i want to hear–especially if i carefully sculpt my facebook page.
        i am strange. the world is strange. life is unpredictable at best. and we are all one glorious mess.

        Reply
        • alphatroll

          Life is one of those awesome kinetic contradictions that make the universe so cool. Like a steady, standing ripple in a stream, made of an entirely different collection of water molecules at any given time, yet it remains, just because entropy makes is flow downhill and there happens to be a rock in the way. Order created and fueled by chaos.

          Reply
  9. KZS

    Oh yes, my confession. When my daughter was about 3 years old, we had to call poison control… TWICE. First time was at my mother-in-law’s house, where she found a bottle of Wite-Out and drank it (thankfully, non-toxic). Second time, when I was hungover in bed after a night of drinking with my friends, and she grabbed facial toner out of the bathroom and drank that!

    The good news is, the baby didn’t die. She’s now an extremely unique and clever and talented 12-year-old. You’ve actually met her twice — once at your NYC book signing (she gave you Marlene Dietrich paper dolls) and again at the Rough Trade record store day event with Brian (with whom she has taken a few drum lessons).

    All will be okay ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      thank you for the hangover confession!! i haven’t dealt with one yet, since i’m keeping the alcohol intake to a minimum b/c breastfeeding. but…i’m sure that day may come. thanks for being honest. xx

      Reply
      • KZS

        You’re very welcome. And THANK YOU for this song. It brought back so many memories of my first year of motherhood, and I’m sure it will help other new moms realize they are not alone.

        Reply
    • Marina Radcliff

      Wow, the timing, I had my first call to Poison Control 30 minutes ago. I’m still shaking. My son is 2, and has this fascination with lip balm – he puts it on his lips, his cheeks, his forehead (also the walls, sometimes, other people, his stuffed animals). I have extremely dry hands because I wash mine a lot, and it’s winter, so I use arnica salve on them, and left it sitting on my desk. It’s a small pot and he smeared it all over his lips – and some inside, because he’s a baby and the line between inside and out is too finely drawn for their distinction.

      I kept calm, called poison control, Rowan talking in the background the whole time as I told him I was calling a lady who would help me know something, etc. She said to wipe it off (already done) and just let him drink a lot of anything he would drink (though I think I’ll keep him away from the wite-out and facial toner for this ;) ) to dilute it. As I was thanking the PC lady, Rowan piped up with “tank you, ladeee”, and then promptly opened a door into his lip so I could wonder all day whether the swelling was from the arnica salve or the hit he took from the door. And I’m STILL shaking from the adrenaline dump.

      Thank you for this, the timing of it, and for your honesty and really obvious joy in your daughter (mine is 4, and the light of my life, but 4 is my least favorite age, holy cow)

      Reply
      • KZS

        I also had friends whose 3-year-old was caught gnawing on a dishwasher detergent tablet. When they called Poison Control, their first question was what brand. Evidently, they must have had the “safe” brand, because they were instructed as you were to have him drink.

        My son (who is almost 16) never got into the antics that my daughter did. So when she came along, I was unprepared for the things she would do. My son never once attempted to climb out of his crib. In fact, he continued to sleep in it until it was time for his sister to take over. She, however, figured out how to climb out at around 18 months old, the same age when she also figured out how to unlatch the 5-point harness on her car seat! She and I were in a minivan and I was stopped at a red light — all of a sudden, she comes walking up to me! The little stinker.

        Glad to hear your son is okay, and kudos to you for remaining calm (something I have a hard time doing). Tank you, ladeee. ;)

        Reply
        • Marina Radcliff

          I so feel you on the difference in the way 2 related children’s can be. My daughter Arabelle does/did certain things, and we go used to them and now Rowan is busting out All New All The Time things that could possibly kill him. It’s fraught. Good thing our children love us and are cute, otherwise I’m pretty sure we’d eat them. Thank you! :)

          Reply
      • Aerieowl

        When my daughter was about 1 and a half she climbed over the baby gate and fell head first on the concrete floor. She had a concussion. I was sitting on the couch paying bills and watched it all happen. I put her in her room for her nap and my daughter always fought sleep so I had to let her cry herself to sleep. It was her nap time. We went to the er and I sat with her covered in vomit rocking her. She was OK. It was so scary though. I was trying so hard not to cry and be strong especially when they were trying to strap her down to do an mri. They never got one.

        Reply
        • Marina Radcliff

          Omg, so much love to you for having to go through that. My daughter had to have stitches in her chin. Holding her down while she fought me/us was a special kind of horrid.

          Reply
  10. Amy Heague

    I’m both laughing and crying. I can totally relate. dropping the baby, leaving it at home, locking a child in my grandmas house as we all left for lunch, forgetting to pick up a kid from school, closing all the doors between the screaming baby and the furthest corner in our garden, where I sat and cried until my husband came home from work…..they are all still alive, there are days where I wondered if I’d survive…… you are doing a champion job. xxxx

    Reply
  11. Ami Tain

    My Oldest boy is named Ash. He’s almost 3 now, but when he was 5 or 6 months old, he was starting to get really mobile. We had a little bouncy chair that I used to put him in and set him just outside the bathroom so I could take a shower. He was buckled in and I thought everything was fine. When I came out he was face down with the chair on top of him. He hadn’t started crying yet so I (still) hope that it hadn’t been long. He’d flipped himself completely over and took the chair with him. When I saw him like that and not crying I was terrified that he’d done that and suffocated himself somehow. I was naked and dripping and hugging him to me… still attached to the chair. At least the baby didn’t die.

    And I have totally accidentally shoplifted. Once and entire bunch of bananas. I was in a hurry and ran in, grabbed them, and ran back out. I didn’t realize it until I was already back home.

    Reply
  12. RiverVox

    Are there any babies out there who have not fallen at some point? My oldest went headfirst off the bed and was stuck between the bookcase and the box spring. My other daughter flipped off the changing table, but thankfully landed on a soft rug. Nobody died but I remember that terror. And being so worried about their safety that I couldn’t sleep or think and there they are happily eating cat food and playing with a wall socket. Ash can’t crawl yet, can he? It’s a whole new world of excitement.

    Reply
    • billh

      Speaking as a fallen baby I can say that sometimes everything works out just fine, other than a strange shaped head when I eventually finish the balding process….

      Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      he’s just starting to grab shit and i can see the portal of hell that awaits me. i’m trying to combat it by carrying him around and LETTING him touch everything. here’s a knife handle! here’s a glass! here’s a frying pan handle! but if i’m holding him, he’s not in as much trouble. i know what’s coming. i know it’ll be a thing. i know. i know.

      Reply
      • Shaiyela Hornung

        We didn’t baby proof much with any of our kids. Medicines went higher and hot stuff is watched, obviously…but kids are fully capable of being taught what they can and cannot touch. I love a kid that wants to touch stuff, as long as they listen too. I hope Ash is like that!

        Reply
      • Sue mey

        its awesome that you allow him to touch all of it.

        In Montessori it is encouraged to have them use glass and cutlery when they start to wean at their weaning table. They don’t need a high chair unless is an adaptive one like the Tripp trapp from stokke that encourages independence

        Reply
      • Heather Minter

        I’m with you on not baby-proofing all the corners and shit. I mean, get a grip. But when I had a three year old and the twins walked at nine months I was losing my child-loving mind. And it’s a miracle they made it through. But Elliot has been standing by the stove and learning about fire since he could stand. An now he is six and can build and feed and put out a fire and cook himself eggs. So, you’re on the right track with teaching! Ours all handle sharp knives all the time.

        Reply
      • .ara Joan Nokomis

        have you checked out “the Continuum Concept”? basically it takes a village to raise a child….i trust you have one, cos when they start moving, they can move incredibly fast, & time warps….i tell ya….you need more eyes supporting you & him….

        Reply
      • Dawn

        I had an early crawler and adept climber. I was out front cutting the lawn one time to see him, inside the front window, holding a 10in chef knife he had to have climbed up on the kitchen counter to get, and then holding it in the living room when I saw him. Looking back, quickly abandoning the lawn mower and dashing in may have caused a sudden movement on his part that may have not ended well, but thankfully it didn’t. Yes, these things happen. He’s 15 and alive.

        Reply
    • Michelle

      I apparently launched myself out of my high chair and bonked myself so hard my forehead bled profusely, but don’t even have a scar to show for it today. I was also the teeniest, tiniest baby, so my poor mom probably thought she had killed me. As far as I know, I am not any worse off for having fallen on my head.

      Reply
      • alphatroll

        I suspect that there may not be a single person alive who didn’t fall on their head as an infant. Who knows, it may be neccessary for survival! I mean, isn’t it at least conceivable that a never-injured skull would eventually collapse without that stimulus to harden properly? Makes sense to me! ;)

        Reply
        • Marina Radcliff

          Wolffs law (iirc) states that impact strengthens bones. So obviously you are right about this because science.

          Reply
    • Rachel

      My sister literally LEAPT out of her crib and went straight to the floor before anyone could react. She’s fine… Most days ;P

      Reply
    • Leonie Dawson

      My moment was the one where my 4 year old daughter catapulted her 6 week old baby sister from her rocker… face first into a metal fence and then concrete. She was okay by some miraculous luck. Two years on, I can still hear and see it all.

      Reply
  13. Megan Dunbar

    My baby fell face first of the couch and gave himself a blood nose when he was about 4 months old. My partner and I were actually holding him in place at the time, but he just kind of toppled forward. He did the same thing when he was 3 when sitting on a kitchen chair. Turns out, he is very clumsy and prone to smacking his head/face on things. He is 9 now. There will be more blood, I’m sure.

    Reply
  14. Val Blaha

    Oh my gosh… love, love, love this song! My son is 8 now, and I had all sorts of similar crazy mom moments. (Crazy Mom-ments?) The worst was when I tossed my son to the ground. Explanation: I was walking out our front door with him in my arms. It involves stepping down a rather tall step onto a wood deck. Stepping onto the deck, my ankle rolled, and somehow D (I think he was about 5-6 months old at the time) basically flew out of my arms and landed several feet away. Luckily he missed both the rest of the deck, and the large step stone just beyond, and landed in the bark/softer ground. My husband was standing about 5 feet away, but the whole thing happened so fast that he couldn’t react. Our son was just fine, but I was left in ruins the rest of the day. Sort of like the time he fell off a curb when I was like 6 inches away and couldn’t quite react. To this day (and the most recent time was 2 nights ago at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, OR), whenever he is near the edge of something tall, I get this weird chill than runs through my body as I worry about him falling. Pretty sure that will keep happening the rest of our lives. Oh yeah, there was also the time when he was about 14 months old when he managed to push himself over in his high chair. Whole thing went over backwards, baby and all. There was a particularly terrifying moment when his eyes seemed to roll back in his head, and I was sure he must have broken his neck. Then he started screaming, we grabbed him (of course we were feet away, but couldn’t act quickly enough), and he was perfectly fine, just startled and scared. As we all were. Sigh. At least the baby didn’t die. And thank you for yet another wonderful Thing. xoV

    Reply
  15. Johanna de Verdier

    I usually cry when I see other people cry but it now seems that I’m also crying from reading/listening to songs about other people crying.

    Reply
  16. Emily J

    Oh man. I was making my lunch while I listened to this and just alternately laughing and crying and laughing and crying and I’m not even a mom. (yet?????) I’m going to send this to my mom because I think she will like it.

    Reply
  17. Kimberly Parker

    I had a “caught in mid-air, inches from the floor” incident, an “drove directly to work with baby, forgetting to stop at daycare to drop him off” moment (which could have easily turned into a “left him in the car all day while at work” moment if not for glancing in the rear view before I got out) and SO many others.
    Keeping them alive and making them feel loved: Those are our main jobs. If you can say you did those at the end of a day (week? Month?) you can call yourself a successful parent.

    Reply
  18. KZS

    Oh yeah – also, when my son was a newborn and got sick… I called the pediatrician’s office and they recommended I give him some infant Tylenol. I realized a while after I gave it to him, that my sleep-deprived new mommy brain accidentally gave him THREE TIMES the amount I was supposed to. Talk about panic…

    But he’s almost 16 years old now. And that baby didn’t die.

    Reply
  19. Sarah Forster

    Amazing. I cried and laughed, probably at the right times. Everything makes sense, and I had so many bad moments. One of my worst was when I honked a driver because I thought he ran a roundabout wrongly, then he followed me all the way to my breastfeeding clinic to haul me out on it and I told him I was confused because my 2-month-old was crying in the back – he wasn’t because he had fallen asleep, but it freaked him out enough to leave me the f**k alone so I could wake my sleeping baby and take him in to the clinic and learn why i was failing at breast-feeding. Who follows somebody who honks them. He said it stressed him out. I was just happy he wasn’t a gang member, because that was the part of town I was in. Anyway. He survived babyhood, sometimes to my surprise, and is now a big 5-year-old at school.

    Reply
  20. Melissa Smith Kennedy

    I was laughing and crying at the same time. This is motherhood, right here, in all its messy, ridiculous glory.

    Reply
  21. Gareth Skarka

    (Saw your Patreon request about posting parental anecdotes here, so I’m re-posting this from Patreon):

    Just wiping away some tears — when my youngest child (my son) was an infant, I got up too fast while holding him. I hadn’t had enough sleep, and I was in bad shape, and I blacked out (blood pressure thing), and fell. WHILE HOLDING HIM. He was brand new, and I was convinced that I’d killed him.

    Of course, I hadn’t. He was fine, and he’s now 21. But listening to this song brought that god-awful moment of dread rushing back to me, all sense-memory-stylee.

    So yeah, every parent has those WHAT THE FUCK — WHY DID ANYBODY LET ME HAVE A BABY? moments.

    Reply
  22. Emsy

    My daughter once offered me a bite of her apple… I made a big show of taking a HUGE, BOISTEROUS, CHOMP… unfortunately her finger was in the way!! The look of horror on her face as my teeth sunk into her tiny 2 year old finger (“How could you HURT me Mummy?!) the shocked silence and then the HOWL of pain.
    Oh God – we BOTH cried! :/
    And then there’s the 100+ times she fell off the bed/couch/chair when we should have been watching. The 1,000+ times I bumped her head on the car door when lifting her into her carseat. The times I dropped my phone or a book on her head whilst breastfeeding her, not to mention the pasta sauce/jam/crumbs. The time I filmed her going down the slide and kept the camera steady as she faceplanted into the tanbark at the bottom (where ARE my lioness reflexes?!)
    OH and the time I fell down the front steps with her in my arms… heading out to our first MATERNAL CHILD HEALTH appointment!!
    The time she fell asleep on a long drive and I was so focused on ‘getting there’ that I let her sleep and didn’t stop to change her nappy… and she ended up with a rash. The time she just. wouldn’t. sleep. and I was running on 2 hours myself and I shouted at her until she cried. And then I cried. The time I broke my own rule and took the stroller on an escalator – the first and only time – only to have the wheel catch at the bottom sending her flying off the end and me on top of her. Luckily she was fine…
    The list of terrible mother moments could continue forever and ever!
    But I have a list of awesome mother moments at LEAST twice as long, so I figure I’m still ahead! ;)

    Reply
  23. Lisa Bonnice

    Here’s my “almost killed the baby” story. My daughter was a few months old when I was lifting her and tossing her up onto my shoulder. I tossed too hard and she flew right over. She was sailing over my shoulder, on her way to floor behind me, when I just happened to catch her foot at the last possible moment. I pulled her back up by the foot, with her wailing the whole time, and said pretty much the same thing you said, Amanda. At least the baby didn’t die.

    Reply
  24. Susan Williams

    relating to this 100%, I accidentally stole a nail varnish remover from a store as my baby was starting to get fractious and I’ve been so paranoid about her falling over in my bed. She’s rolling around a lot now at almost 7 months so I imagine Ash wont be too far behind her with that. I’ve found that they’re a lot more resilient than they look. Also, blankets magically switch all the time.

    Reply
    • Janelle

      Baby Me accidentally stole a candy bar. My dad was in a drug store and they’re right at perfect baby-in-stroller height, so I just took one. He didn’t realize until my mom asked why he’d bought me candy, then he went and paid for it.

      Reply
  25. Diane Paranque

    I don’t know what to say. I’m french, so it’s hard to speak in english and find the good words. Beautiful Song. When I had my little girl, who is almost 8 years old now (and still alive !), the first weeks, the first months, I remember I was often thinking : “Au moins, elle a survécu jusque là” (at least, she survived until today). However I don’t remember many incidents (except when we forgot to attach her in the car, she was 2 years old, I remember I put her in her car seat, but I had to get back in our flat, I forgot something. When I came back, I thought his father harness the seatbelt, but he thought I had… We noticed our mistake when we arrived and stopped the car. Luckily, we didn’t crash…) , but culpability and stress are in our DNA…

    And when I had my little boy, who is 2 years old now, I was much more relax. But… I have a friend, who had twins (boy and girl) when I had my boy. And his little boy died when he was one month old. :’( So I was touched, and I’m sure my love for this little one is bigger (if it’s possible) because of this story. And I did it again, I was thinking every day : “At least, he’s alive !”… Thank you for this song…

    Reply
  26. revsparker

    Two quick stories: First, guilt-in-advance: when I brought my son home from the hospital, I sat in the rocker with him, crying inconsolably because I knew I would be the first person to hurt him. It was this deep, existential dread and I knew there was no avoiding it. Also, hormones. Then, when he was about six months old, I was carrying him and he caught sight of the phone cord (remember those? the curly ones were baby crack…) he dove for it and I caught him by the arm, dislocating his elbow. I was sure that the doctors would turn me in and they’d take my baby away. Instead, they said, “See it all the time. Nursemaid’s elbow. You probably saved him a head injury…” Then there was the time he drove his big wheel down the stairs. Oh, and I didn’t find out until he was 16 that at age 4 he road his bike down to the railroad tracks to watch trains. Mind you, the railroad tracks were at least a mile away! And I never even knew about it. I thought I was keeping a close eye on him out the window… shit that was more than two quick stories. And that’s just the beginning.

    Reply
  27. Treadpath

    This reminds me of the first year we had a baby, and every night my husb& and I would congratulate each other on keeping the baby alive for another day. It also reminds me of when I was trying to cut her nails to keep her from scratching herself and it was, like, Day 3 of having a baby and I was exhausted and crazy and accidentally cut the skin of her thumb with the stupid blue baby nailclippers with the dumb cloudy magnifying glass that doesn’t really work on it… and it bled and she cried and I cried and felt horrible because I had this perfect thing and it was only 3 days before I broke it. I don’t know who needs more therapy about that injury, her or me (probably me), but I’m hoping that taking her to your concerts redeems me a bit as a parent. :)

    Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      both neil and i have chopped his fingers while cutting. NOW I USE A NAIL FILE. i have to do it every day…but no blood. i can’t stand the blood. xxx

      Reply
      • Riley Johnson

        My wife Rachel is very sneaky and cuts our little one’s nails while he’s sleeping (or files them). I am too chickenshit to do either. xoR.

        Reply
      • Redd Hynes

        We used to just bite Ashs fingernails when he was a baby. No blood! Nail file is an awesome idea though!

        Reply
        • alphatroll

          …that’s BRILLIANT! There’s this foundation in Stockholm that gives out annual prizes for great ideas like that, I really think you should look into it.

          Reply
      • Elan Auman

        I used a nail file on my daughter, but for my son, I’m using clippers. I think I’ve gotten more confident, maybe? Which is good because his nails grow SO fast.
        I did cut my daughters lip open strapping her into her car seat when she was a baby though. She squirmed and I had the clasp too high and when I snapped it it got her lip. My husband was so pleased because he didn’t make the baby bleed first O_o

        Reply
      • Marina Radcliff

        after doing the same thing to my daughter (ugh ugh ugh) I just started peeling them. The nails are so flimsy (even though they can scratch the hellz out of their own faces) they just kind of….work off, if you worry at them while you’re snuggling and they’re sleeping. I know some mothers who bite their baby’s nails – which has a squik factor for me, but might be sort of cosmically relevant in the whole using parts of your body to maintain a thing you made with your body? but if you have to stretch that hard for cosmic relevance you’re p….babble stop. Thank you for writing this.

        Reply
    • Kathy Vickers

      I always use an adult (mens) nail clipper on the kids – big enough to get the nails all in one go. Daft things designed “for baby’s delicate fingers” are useless

      Reply
    • Marguerite

      Oh my god, I forgot about a similar moment. I cut our third child’s nails in the hospital and accidentally cut one finger. The nurse filed a REPORT and the hospital and our doctor had to investigate. I had had a c-section and didn’t catch on right away what was going on. Our pediatrician was pissed on my behalf, though. It is surely not my worst parenting oops, but so far it is the only one investigated. LOL

      Reply
    • alphatroll

      Yes, taking your kid to AFP shows automatically makes you an awesome parent. I’m almost positive I learned that unquestionable fact from some extremely reliable source or other.

      Reply
  28. Chad Walker

    I’m not a parent, nor will I be one. But this… this is exactly why I love Amanda and support the Patreon. I’ve never cried and laughed so much while listening to a song. Or even just thinking about the song. Thank you.

    Reply
  29. Deb Easy-Tiger Batterham

    Oh hun, all parents have been there! I remember feeling like a failure constantly during that first 6 months. I couldn’t keep basic simple things in my brain at all – I too accidentally stole things, got lost, almost left my son in strange places several times, and a few times I had to just put him on the floor safely and go outside for a cry over it all. Those first 6 sleep deprived months are a crazy highly anxious fog of everyone just trying to survive. and you’re all alive! so you’re winning! AWESOME WORK. It gets way easier. Or at least, you get more sleep and they get more independent and able to take care of themselves – which to me feels easier!

    Reply
  30. B

    i know it’s hard to be a parent
    but my flaws are so gigantic
    …i wonder if i should have had a child

    Beautiful.

    Just wait until he starts crawling/walking… so many bumps and bruises.

    All parents have these stories. We’re humans raising humans and somehow our species goes on.

    Reply
  31. Danella Carter

    The only reason I have never accidentally left my babies in the car is that I don’t have one (a car, that is). However, my oldest has faceplanted off the sofa more times than I can count (it’s about a foot off the ground, she was fine).
    I’ve been pretty lucky (so far, touch wood) with the accidental parenting related mishaps… just one visit to a & e so far, and that was for a really silly reason (ingrowing eyelash, I worried it would get infected, they were very nice about it)…

    Reply
  32. KathyM

    Yepp, dropped, locked in the house, the drinking from the mini Purell bottle, it’s all happened. And then there was that time I gave my 7-month-old kid a sealed packet of peanut m&m’s to hold for entertainment on the way home from the grocery store. Dude sucked that bag right open and got his first taste of food coloring and chocolatey goodness. I found him with orange all over his face and an m&m on his tongue. Thank all the gods he didn’t choke. Also, he didn’t take any naps that afternoon :-) (Sounds like you’re loving your baby madly and figuring it out as you go, pretty much like all of us. Welcome to motherhood, it’s a crazy and wonderful ride.)

    Reply
  33. Heather Mann Taylor

    My 2 year old son fell off of a wooden chair and busted the back of his head open. Blood everywhere, soaked through my shirt and bra. I was standing next to him but couldn’t catch him just right. Also, when he was a few weeks old, I forgot to put the nipple on the bottle and poured the milk on his face and he got choked. And I’ve forgotten to buckle my kids in the car seat. Twice. But…at least they didn’t die.(I had anxiety attacks for about two weeks after he fell. I couldn’t get the image out of my head. And that I couldn’t catch him.)

    Reply
  34. Heather

    So, I never left him in the car alone, but when my son was about 5 months old, I forgot to buckle him into the car seat. I had taken the car seat inside, because sleeping baby, and he was chilling in it at the end of our visit, and therefore unbuckled. It didn’t take long before I noticed, but it was at least a few miles when I happened to look back and saw him half hanging off the side.

    Also- every year on his birthday I buy myself fancy champagne to celebrate the fact that we haven’t had any hospital visits (yet, knick on wood).

    Reply
    • Janelle

      I shared a similar story about my brother over on the Patreon–he was older, about two, and my mom forgot to buckle the carseat in. I’m not sure if she realized it before or after the seat fell over with him in it.

      Reply
    • Robin Stewart

      This sort of happened with my first kid. He was buckled into the car seat but the car seat wasn’t buckled in the car. The first stop we made I heard a weird noise but kept going. Then we turned and the seat went rolling in the back seat! Luckily the kid was six months or so and thought it was hilarious and was laughing his brains out. Scary for me though haha.

      Reply
  35. ALittleBitOfSomething

    My son, now 11, was nine months old. It was his dad’s birthday and we were at an apartment with stone floors. I was terrified, but my son wanted to play with the two dogs so I put him on the floor. It was fine until he climbed onto the dog bed and there was a puppy pile and my baby got pushed out onto his forhead — he looked up at me and, in slow motion, this HUGE swelling. I’m almost positive I cried more than my son did!
    Thanks for sharing; whenever my friends call me, “Ms TMI”, I point them (lovingly, of course) in your direction.
    I am really enjoying AoA which I would not have if you hadn’t reposted my request on Twitter. I got a book and a really cool online almost-friend. :)

    Reply
  36. Stephanie Brockway

    Hi Amanda! My second son fell down the basement stairs in his walker when he was about 7 and a half months old. By far, the most terror I have ever experienced! And the reason it happened? I was pissed off at my husband and was storming around the kitchen, frantically cleaning things, then put the broom away in the stairwell and left the door open, not paying any attention to my little Sammy rolling around the floor. An ambulance ride, emergency room visit, overnight stay and fractured skull later, he was okay. Thank GOD. The doctors told us that if anyone can survive a fractured skull, it’s a baby. Their little heads and brains are still quite pliable. We got interviewed by DSS, which was horrifying, and they also interviewed our pediatrician. Oy. But it all ended up fine! Sammy is now 18, transgender (Sunny instead of Sammy), a straight-A student, and wicked talented drummer and saxophone player who just had her audition at Berklee. There have been many parenting transgressions in my almost-22-years of parenting. But both kids turned out!!!! (You’ve actually met my first born, Ben, a few times. He helped film one of Anthony’s readings in Cambridge a couple of years ago. One of the best nights of his life!!! He loves you.) Hugs to you, Neil and wee Ash.

    Reply
  37. Lea Docks

    Love it… but a warning and lesson in the song. Like any new venture, in motherhood we are all flawed at the start and doubtful of our skills (fraud parent police ahoy..). Shame helps no-one, but you can and do learn to mend your parent flaws because you just farkin HAVE TO. Like the woman at the end
    of the song, it’s so easy to loose/break your baby
    FOREVER (sorry, emphasis). And it’s good to remember that – always. It’s a great song and relate-able, but when this stuff happens it is also a kick in the ass to tighten up, and we need to embrace that kick to make us better. The same thing has happened to others and baby did die, or was brain damaged etc. I know of a heart-breaking one – Mum is a head nurse, baby got a temp and she waited a little to take him to hospital. Turns out it was a virus, the vital seconds mattered and her son now has brain damage. She never even dropped him once. This happens, and it’s so vital that those of us who get lucky treasure that second chance. To share (*hugs*) I got lucky too, my daughter and i were playing on the bed, and she took off before i could grab her and crawled off the bed head-first (only a foot drop, and she was about 7-9months and big). Has never done it since, she is fine (thank christ) and her little brother never fell, made sure i learned. But my parents nearly lost him at a park, just chatting and he was gone in 10sec. Found him, but i’m rattled now – they have experience and still nearly blew it.

    I learned you can slide and chill when you know your kids and your own limits (dye your hair in bar bathrooms etc, it’s all cool as long as you KNOW you’ve got it), but half the fun and terror of kids is that they endlessly surprise you when the suddenly get new skills every day. My little 2c, please stay wild, be free, FORGIVE yourself, but DO take every lesson from the universe on the way. The best middle ground i have found is to play the games, listen, laugh, read, build the epic blanket forts, watch the late night movies etc with your kids they way you always wanted your parents to do – but grow those 100 Argus eyes and be the big fun parent who is also the safety net they need. Love you and your art AMFP – you’ve got this. Peace to you & Ash!!!

    Reply
  38. john usher

    I always tell my son that he bounces because he kind of did. He slept in a carry cot by our bed for his first few months and one night I picked him up, both hands, and he did a little wiggle, and I dropped him. He dropped maybe a foot-foot and a half back into the cot, did a little bounce and I caught him. Then I went hysterical. “Ohmygodohfuckchristi’vebrokenthebabyi’vefuckingbrokenthebaby.” My wife tried to calm me and checked the baby over, he wasn’t crying which, of course, was worse, but he seemed to be fine. I wasn’t though, I was going to be a house husband, my wife was going back to work, there was no way a clumsy, stupid idiot like me could look after a baby, I was only 23 myself, I WAS JUST A KID! MELTDOWN! Anyway, I got over it eventually, but there were other, scarier things.
    I’m a daydreamer which isn’t great when you are in charge of a pram with a soft squidgy human in it. Far too many times I have found myself in town, half a mile or more from home, several dangerous road crossings later, with no clear idea of how I got there. No idea if I had looked both ways or used pedestrian crossings.
    Anyway, my son’s 19 now and as I always tell him if he questions my parenting, “i haven’t managed to kill you yet,” which is the main thing.

    Reply
  39. DCHIPapa

    Well I was in pieces from about half way through. This could so easily be a longer piece with crowd sourced lyrics. We’ve all got something to confess – when we fucked up, or snapped as a parent. I got a verse about smacking my girls which wrote itself. Just the one time, and I’ll go to my grave thinking I’m a monster for that. But they didn’t die, right. Right?

    Reply
  40. B

    Here is a story to make you feel better. I’m sitting in the rocker nursing one of my five weeks old twins. My husband has just changed the diaper of our other twin. He tells me to be careful about leaving in the oversized ottoman as he’s learned he can push himself with his legs. My husband then proceeds to get up and leave him on the ottoman. I look down at the baby in my arms and hear this wailing and ask my husband where the baby is. He pushed himself off the ottoman… on to the floor.

    If you’re ever in Phoenix, I’ll make you some tea and we can share mothering stories.

    Reply
  41. Graeme Sladden

    First of all I loved the song and it felt just right. But now I must confess, and I will confess to just this one thing but it surely is
    the worst I have ever felt as a parent or in any other capacity really. Alexander, my oldest of 3 children was 4 years old and it was just his brother Rhys and myself in the house. Rhys was asleep and Alex was in serious need of a bath and
    we were all just doing fine, when all of a sudden I really need to go to the toilet. I think to myself he will be fine for a second while I dash to the
    toilet and just as I was finishing I found out I was wrong. He had fallen and bitten through his tongue to the point where it was almost no longer attached. I try my hardest to pull myself together but I’m not doing too great at it, I know what I need to do but I’m crippled with worry and then the front door opens and my wife Peta is home and she takes charge just enough so I can get my shit together and get Alex to the hospital. It was a long day and plenty of other crazy things happened after that and on other days besides but that was the moment I went to when I heard this song. I got teary but more out of love than anything else, he didn’t die, his tongue is still all there and I just keep on learning.

    Reply
  42. lynnaschaefer

    That is a beautiful blanket. Helen and Sidney are beautiful. I especially adore how Sidney is looking at Helen. Thank you for sharing them with us. Helen is right. Say “I love you” all the time. You really never know.
    I cried like a mother listening to this song. Especially the second time. I have three mostly grown children. I’ve been worrying about them dying ever since I got pregnant the first time. I mean, they ARE going to die, but I very selfishly worry about them dying BEFORE I DIE. My brother died before my mother died and it just about killed her. And yeah. It’s just. Too awful. And I realize it happens to moms, all the time, like every day. I’m a member of the group “The Addict’s Mom” and nearly every day someone posts about another young person, someone’s child, dying. It’s too horrible.
    And yeah, I have all kinds of mothering fuck-up stories too. What mother doesn’t? I’ve left the baby in the car, forgotten to pick up the toddler from school, over protected, allowed way too much sugar, didn’t lay down the law strongly enough about drugs, unhealthy relationships, etc., forgotten to keep on top of dentist appointments, therapy appointments, etc., etc., etc.
    Also trying to stay at peace inside. It is damn hard in the relative sense. Easier in the absolute.
    Thanks for this thing, Amanda. For your vulnerability and lying honesty. I love you.

    Reply
  43. EstherCW

    Not a parent yet, but an informal sort of foster mom to two kids whose mother is seriously unwell.
    I consider the youngest mine in all but blood and this song comforted me because I still feel guilt about having exposed him to horrible danger through my negligence. About 5 years ago I was taking him and his older sister to the park (they were 2 and 5) and because it was early and I’m a night person I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. I was almost literally sleepwalking along the sidewalk with a child holding each hand and when I managed to somewhat open my eyes I saw that I’d wandered so close to the curb that my beloved 2 year old was actually walking down on the very very busy road! It could only have been for a few seconds, but it scared my heart awake and terrified me about what I might do when I have my own kids full time.
    As long as we’re confessing, recently I asked this boy of (nearly) mine to get the cutting boards from the kitchen right at the same time as his sister was getting her cup of just-poured tea from the counter above the cutting board shelf. I know better than to let near boiling liquids be in the vicinity of mobile children but I didn’t ask her to wait until he was out of the way in time and the dish rack that had been drying upright slid forward knocking the mug out of her hand and spilling all over his pants. The next hours while he was in pain were the worst of my life. Then the doctor’s visit was worse. He is fully recovered now but I don’t think the guilt will ever go away.
    Thanks for reminding me that at least he didn’t die. He’s about to turn 7 now and he couldn’t be smarter or more adorable!

    Reply
  44. Maria Lynn Adkinson

    Before I had babies, I saw an ad for a baby helmet and thought it was the most ridiculous thing I ever saw but now that I have babies, I want/need the helmet, the baby leashes, and a big clear hamster ball to put them in!!! I have 2 and between them, they have fallen off of everything!!! But they are fine! Happy, Healthy, well adjusted kids. P.S. babies are bouncy, it’s almost as if someone made them that way because they knew they would fall off of things!

    Reply
  45. Lesley Kimball

    I love this song so much! I am the baby in my family (by a lot!) and I’m grateful I got to watch siblings not kill any of their children (despite so many opportunities) before I had my own. I came into parenthood with a very healthy sense that babies and kids are extraordinarily resilient. Of course I still wonder all the time why on earth anyone let me leave the hospital with a baby!

    Reply
  46. Thiefree

    I worry that my choice to not have kids will alienate me from human moments like these. Like, every female ancestor of mine has had a baby since the dawn of time. I’m scared for what it means if I remove myself from that line. I think that’s why it means so much, my heart stopped when I heard his voice, and if you put Ash in my arms I’m certain I would cry while smiling.

    Reply
  47. graymalking

    It has been one year and one month since I’ve become a mother. It has been hard. The whole of the last year was.
    My daughter was born in her father’s hometown (we live in another town. About 400km away) and were staying at my mother-in-law. The day came to drive back home and we all left the building with the last things to load up the car, and then she asks “where’s the baby?” We had forgotten her in her car seat on the dining table. She was two weeks.
    One day I was just so tired that I decided to just sayt in bed with her. I ended up deep in sleep and woke up to a thud and her crying. She had fallen off the bed. She was six months.
    In September we adopted a kitten, a rescue that had been found in a rubish bin with her sibilings, and we were having trouble training her to use the litter. She pooped anywhere but the litter box. One day, I put my daughter on her crib to do do something for a second and when I turn back to look at her, she was eating a handfull of cat poop. I was in panic and torn between calling the doctor or not, because I thought she was going to give me a lecture about how I should pay more attention. I didn’t call the doc. The baby didn’t get sick from eating poop.
    She’s still alive.

    Reply
  48. Gabby Gilliam

    I haven’t had a chance to read through all of the footnotes yet, but just listened to the song. Every new parent should listen to this. It’s like an anthem for parenthood. We’ve all done these things, and cried about them, and felt incredibly guilty afterward. Having a baby fries your brain and alters priorities in such a way that’s it’s amazing any of us can still lead a normal adult existence. I agree with RiverVox that crawling adds a whole new element of surprise to your life. Shit gets real once they get mobile. Thank you for sharing this. I love it, and I wish that new-mom me had had something like this to comfort her when she made all of the mistakes she thought would ruin her kid’s life forever. He’s four and a half now and doing just fine! Give Ash a big kiss for me. Let him know we’re all very glad the baby didn’t die. <3

    Reply
  49. Damian Masterson

    My son turned one at the beginning of this month and I don’t have my big bad parent story yet. I know I’m not super dad. It’s just luck and timing, but I know it’s coming.

    We’ve had little hiccups, though. He slipped out of my grip once while I was giving him a bath and sat hard enough on his butt to get a nasty bruise. I felt bad about that, but I’ll cut myself some slack on that one that there wasn’t anything I could have done. I had a good grip on him. He just flailed in a novel way I wasn’t prepared for.

    However, once while I was napping him I stretched with him in my arm to grab my headphones and when I settled back I managed to bang his head on the edge of a desk. He didn’t appreciate that at all. 100% my fault. No mitigating excuses I could make to myself, particularly because of how trivial and unnecessary what I was trying to do was.

    Those are little things, though. I take deathly serious that it’s my job to keep my little guy safe and to be a better parent than I got, but I know there are limits to vigilance and someday I’m going to have my story or stories of when I messed up bad. It terrifies me, but I know that it’s part of what I signed up for.

    Reply
  50. InRandomOrder

    My beloved Amanda. “Mamma kiss an’ make it better” is made manifest no other way. I feel and taste the flavor of that power within the energy of this song. To embody that power is a Rite of Passage |/ Welcome to the first Sisterhood |/ My sons are 38&40. I still cry, my dear; for when they’re grown,*all* children … become our children. We don’t chase after them shoving cookies into their hands, but they know Us. They smile at us in the grocery, or in the park: and we smile back. With each bead we sew or piece we paint/quill/sculpt each bean we snap or meal we cook and then perpetually clean, becomes our Living Prayer for all our children. When that happens, we can’t cry for laughing. You’ve made it beautiful without making it sappy. I am so fucking proud, happy, teary eyed to be part of your process, and for the privilege of watching it unfold. Thank you for reading. (@Ahnweyodah)

    Reply
  51. Coleen

    I leapt out of my dad’s arms when I was six months old. They didn’t find the break for three days. Swear, I turned out fine! You couldn’t tease my dad about it until a few years ago, though. (I’m 41.)

    Reply
  52. Diana Devlin

    The paramedics said it was impossible. But the baby DID swallow that penny I accidentally dropped in her crib.
    The time I was so exhausted from cluster feeding that, once I finally slept, I dreamed that I dropped my son down a bottomless set of stairs. I woke up and ran to the bottom of the stairs.No baby. Much frantic crying and snuggling of baby who had been sound asleep in his crib.
    The time my son spiked a temp, and threw up on me, so I laid him on my bed and went to the bathroom to take off my pukey shirt and bra, and when I came back to check on him – 45 second later max – he was having a febrile seizure.
    Welcome to motherhood. Because you’re the one with him all the time, it’s all gonna be your fault. All of it.
    And hey. The babies didn’t die.
    They’re beautiful and rotten and 16 and 18 and don’t remember any of it.
    But I do. And keep these memories like badges of honour.

    Reply
  53. Robin Ruin

    My daughter is 9 now, and I dropped her once, when she was tiny. We had gone to sleep on the couch, with her on my chest, and I was so tired that when she rolled over on her own for the first time, she rolled right off my chest and onto the carpeted floor. She only cried for a second but I still carry that guilt and terror with me.
    Also, when I saw you at the Duke Center in Raleigh on your last tour, you played a cover song on the uke about being a mom and a musician and I cannot for the life of my remember who did it originally to find it again. Can anyone help?

    Reply
  54. Emster26

    Mine is about my nephew, and is evidence of a major reason in a long list of why I am child free by choice.

    I was intending to carry my then-one year old little man down the stairs. I was feeling confident, though my hands were full with other stuff and I was wearing a maxi dress. I saw that carpeted death trap and froze. There was no way we were going to make that journey upright. Luckily his mom was there with open hands to make a handoff. Unluckily, we botched the handoff. My hands were full, he squirmed the wrong way, and he hit the stairs. His head didn’t hit, and we caught him before he went down the stairs. He was crying, of course, but not too bad. I, on the other hand, was flipping the fuck out. I just dropped SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD! And also, I’ve never been good around injured people. There was the time I slammed my brother’s hand in the van door, the time my dog got a bone stuck around her bottom jaw…I just start wailing, worse than the injured party, being more of a nuisance than a help, which is not my MO most times. My brother yelled at me, they brought the kid in to console me, I just kept crying. But he was fine, walking around and smiling.

    And then he didn’t really take to the whole talking thing until 3. I felt super guilty and worried for two years. But he’s good now – talking all the time, enunciating relatively clearly, a happy, normal four-year-old.

    Reply
      • Emster26

        That is reason number 2 for me. I cannot deal with fluids. Sympthetic puker, bad gag reflex. I feel bad every time I hand the kids off for poopy diaper changes, but the alternative is me ralphing all over them.

        Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      i was there with my own. he was hurting and needed comforting…but i found myself sobbing and making things worse. he was crying, i was crying, everybody was just freaking out. i felt like the WORST mother. i’m getting over it. x

      Reply
      • Emster26

        After that experience, I realized that, while you do have to be careful, kids are not as breakable as you think. They bounce back FAST.

        Reply
  55. Dresden Linde

    I was in labor for a grand total of 10 days and 51 minutes. We had to stay in the hospital for a few extra days because of the baby’s jaundice. I had sworn up and down that I was going to follow of the “rules” (whatever those are….the fear of the Parenting-Police was/is VERY REAL.) I woke up do many times that first night to breastfeed. After 2 weeks of not really sleeping and what felt like constant nursing I was barely coherent, I don’t think that I actually qualified as a human. Anyway, one night, I fell asleep with the baby in bed. And he rolled out of our high bed, right onto the floor. What’s worse? I didn’t wake up. My husband woke up, turned on the light and was picking our son up off the floor before I even stirred.

    After that the two of us researched cosleeping and decided that we were going to give it a go. For sleeping sake. My son turned 3 in January. He still sleeps with me. He hasn’t rolled out of bed since and we’re both much better rested. But I’m still remember waking up and being horrified that I HADN’T woken up sooner.

    I spanked him once, when he was nearly 2. Because I thought that was how you were supposed to discipline. I bitterly regret it. The look on his face. The shock, hurt, betrayal. If I think about that moment too much….I can’t. I hate myself for it.

    I can think of million mistakes I’ve made in 3 years. And sometimes, looking back, they are all I can see. But today, when he woke up from his nap, he came racing into my arms, gave me a huge smile, nestled into my breasts and said, “Mama. I love you!! I love your best boobs!! When snow leave? Plant baby num nums? Plant a garden?”

    And I started crying. Because he’s not dead, and for now at least, he loves me.

    Reply
      • Dresden Linde

        You’re welcome. Thank you for this song. (It’s what finally made me take the Patreon plunge.)

        I’m grateful for a safe place to share these types of stories.

        Reply
        • Carla Martínez

          i’m here, working with emma (10 months) stuck on my boob. i have 3 other boys, 1 did die, but it had nothing to do with me and my lack of perfection on motherhood. i can barely breath, but they know i love them to death. i loved your story. thanks for sharing!

          Reply
          • Nicah

            I can’t even begin to imagine. All the best and much, much love to you, Carla.

  56. Tracy Chalker

    My Motherhood confession is about the daughter – now 24 – whom I took to the show to see you and Jason in Everett. When she was about 9 months old, crawling, I was helping my mother move out of her home. We were alone in an empty house, and all the door knobs had been removed from the exit doors to change the locks. Resting her on the floor to crawl in a huge empty space, I relaxed my guard. Of course the universe plants a quarter in her path, out of my eye-line, and of course she begins to choke. This is before cell phones were common, and I am locked in a house with no phone, no doors. I’m trying to fish it out, I am trying to Heimlich it out – nothing. I managed to kick open the front door while still beating her on the back trying to dislodge the quarter and ran screaming into the street for someone to call 911. She was turning blue. At the moment I got outside, screaming, and people started to look, she urped up the quarter, took a deep breath, and started to LAUGH. Everyone near me looked at me like I was insane, not knowing the terror of the last few moments. And this, my dear Amanda, is just one of many stories that make up the fabric of our childrens lives. In your case, Ash will get to hear his not only recounted, but sang along to, as he grows up, and will learn to love you just as you are – flawed, but ultimately loving and wonderful.

    Reply
  57. Jen Hackenholt Mont

    I don’t have words yet, but thank you as always. Also, I’m happy, overjoyed that as a patron in my small way I can help make this possible. Love to you!

    Reply
  58. Angela Rashida

    I was pulled over, not for speeding, but “driving erratically” because my screaming/crying infant freaked me the fuck out too. I am surprised they didn’t shoot me because the second I flung the car into park I lept out and into the back seat so I could manage my poor shrieking child. The entire incident was not very much appreciated by the cops. Ugh.

    Reply
      • Angela Rashida

        I mean for real. The kid is shrieking, and I slid into the backseat, clearly a new mom in hysterics, and the cops came up to the car with serious YOU ARE A DANGEROUS CRIMINAL eyes on me. They wouldn’t let me take her out of the car seat or anything. I think the one day with crying babies should also include driving with one so they understand better the hysterical new mother they’ve pulled over. But hey, the baby didn’t die. So we’re doing okay girl. (She’s two now and I think my hormones calmed down last week sometime. It’s good. Really, really good. <3 )

        Reply
  59. grumpyboat

    This speaks to me so strongly. The fears, the doubts, being so overwhelmed by it all…those early days are hard. I’ve watched my daughter fall off a dining table (that’s how she learnt about edges and gravity at a very young age, right after she learnt how to climb onto a table), fall off the bed, off a chair…but she’s okay. I’ve lost her in the house several times (she’s sneaky), and I also learnt the hard way that a toddler can fit out through a cat flap and make a break for it down the stairs. And that you shouldn’t underestimate their cognitive abilities, as she managed to unlock the gate on the veranda (which I was sure she wouldn’t be able to do), and made her way down the front stairs – concrete stairs, mind you – when she was barely 12 months old and had only walked UP the stairs once. When I realised she was missing AND that the front door AND gate were open, I was sure I’d find her dead at the bottom. She wasn’t, but the front gate was also open, so then I thought she’d gotten out and could’ve been anywhere up the road or in the creek behind the house. I was freaking right out. Cheeky bugger was looking at flowers down the side of the house. Strangely, she loves hearing the story of how she almost gave me a heart attack, now that she’s almost 9.

    It’s a beautiful song, and millions of parents will be able to relate.

    Reply
  60. Ami

    I have a 3 month old now, and a 22 month old, and a teenager out in the world. My toddler is constantly trying to off herself while I am nursing or holding the baby. The other day I found her cutting strawberries with a sharp paring knife after she wandered off for the 50th time that morning and I had a head cold. I should have checked on her faster. She’s fallen off the bed at least 5 times in her short life. A baby falling is a very common occurrence.

    On shopping with babies– I have two with me now and it’s a massive physical feat (or seems to be) just getting them in and out of the car and across a parking lot. I wear the baby in a Baby K’Tan or the Tula carrier while I push the toddler in the cart. I recommend wearing the baby in front of you while shopping with a cart and putting the seat in the stroller for clothing shopping, outdoor markets and malls. In a pinch you can change baby in the stroller/seat if the bathroom changing tables are gross looking. You can buy one of those giant clips to hold your bags on the stroller handle. When baby is big enough to sit in the shopping cart seat, you can get a lot of shopping done by opening a can of those Gerber cheese doodle things. We usually feed the babies organic, but those Gerber cheese doodle things are baby crack. Just keep feeding the baby every time they start to cry. My toddler is now totally conditioned to love shopping.

    Reply
    • Ami

      PS: I got two speeding tickets while pregnant this time. Both times with my toddler in the car. I was so exhausted that I had no idea how fast I was going. I have also smashed a mirror off my car after each pregnancy, while lacking sleep. It’s a wonder we are all still alive and I haven’t killed a pedestrian.

      Reply
  61. Jen

    Last year, about this time, I met you at a book signing in Tampa. I was with my 2 month old twins and we had driven from Missouri to visit their grandmother when I found out you’d be there. So we drove through Tampa on our way back from St. Augustine to see you. I got there early and we had forgotten something in the car so my boyfriend had to run back to get it while I stood awkwardly in front of the bookstore, wedged between a parking spot and a bush because I couldn’t get inside with my giant double stroller. Anyway, you and Neil pulled up in your car and went inside and even though I had driven 2 hours out of my way with 2 newborns to literally meet you, I got nervous and all I could do was muster a meek “hi”. Anyway, we stood in line for a couple hours and when I finally got inside to talk to you I managed to tell you about the babies and have you sign the books for them. You asked me how I was feeling and I said “fat”. And you kind of shrugged and said “oh”. I have been dwelling on this moment for a year. Why would I say that? What a weird thing to say, not just to someone who you admire, but to you. Feminist, armpit haired, free-willed Amanda Fucking Palmer. I love them, more than I ever thought I could love anything. But sometimes they make me feel completely insane. I feel like a completely different person than I was before I had them. I’ve lost so much of myself trying to make them into functioning humans. Even now, a year later, I feel like I’m living in someone else’s body. But I know that’s not important. They are important. But it feels important to me for some reason. Like maybe my life isn’t for me anymore. When they were about a week old, I was laying in bed, exhausted (from only getting half an hour of sleep at a time because my body had gone through so much and, you know, newborn twins), and I was holding my son who was sleeping in my arms. He was about 5 pounds at the time and looked more like a baby bird than a human. I kept nodding off. I heard a distant thump, and looked around, startled, to find that he had rolled, in his tightly swaddled blanket, out of my arms and onto the floor, face down. I jumped up and grabbed him and just squeezed him as tightly as I could and sobbed. Why didn’t I just put him down if I knew I was that tired? Was I too lazy or selfish to get up or to risk waking him? Now he would be forever damaged? Every time I look at him and he’s being weird I think “God is it because dropped him on his head?” But he is OK. They’re OK. Every day there is a new opportunity for me to dance them irreparably. But I haven’t yet. And they’re still alive. And everything is OK. As long as they’re OK, everything is worth it. Not sleeping, feeling like a troll, losing my sense of self. It might be OK. Anyway, you probably won’t read this so it probably doesn’t matter. But I really want to believe it’s going to be OK.

    Reply
    • Amanda Palmer

      i kind of love this typo…”dance them irreparably.” i think you meant “damage”. but isn’t that the best poetry? we dance them irreparably, indeed. xx

      Reply
    • Kirst

      Hey Jen,
      One day you will find yourself again, until then try and hold on! Don’t give in to the total loss of self (personality or confidence), you need to be *you* to be there for your twins… it sounds like you are having a hard time with things at the moment, but if you take a read through these comments you’ll see how many other people are there with you.

      Reply
  62. Jenneryy

    I just re-listened to the song in pieces with the printouts of this page spread out across my bedroom floor with my toddler (almost 3 y/o little girl) and I somehow love it even more than the first time I listened to it at work today! The lines about feeling so useless in this universe and it being hard to be a parent resonated so much with me and I just wanted to tell you thank you again for sharing so openly with us (and with pictures!!) because it makes us all seem less alone. I’m a single mom and hearing that NONE of us have it all together is amazing.

    Just to help you out, my mommy confession is that when my daughter was about six months old she wouldn’t stop screaming and I had that urge to shake her because I had tried everything. I was instantly so ashamed of myself (where was my inner peace in that moment?!) so I rushed to her room and laid her in her crib (which she didn’t sleep in because she always slept by my bed in a little bassinet thing), left the room, shut the door, and sobbed hysterically curled in a ball on the floor. Just both of us wailing on the opposite sides of a wooden door, her for unknown reasons and me because I was starting to wonder if I was going to just fail at being a mom completely. Of course, once my crying jag was over I got up, washed my face, and found her sound asleep in her crib. And they look so perfect when they’re asleep, so content, and I picked her up carefully and cuddled her on the floor. Even to this day when she’s having a full toddler meltdown and I want to cry along with her out of frustration I remember that bad day and it somehow centers me, because, hey – at least she’s still alive, right?

    Reply
    • Marc Will

      I take care of my two little nephews…3 times a week. I discovered…when the 9 months old is screaming his head off..and I’ve tried everything..and my frustration is building… I release the built up energy by kissing the top of his head…and saying some words of love. Let me tell you..there was a LOT of kissing the top of his head until he got through the worst of it. It seems responding with Love..whenever you are frustrated…works wonders for us all… When the urge hits..and you are at the end… Kiss them… and keeping doing so… teach yourself to respond with Love… every time.

      Reply
  63. lynnaschaefer

    That is a beautiful blanket. Helen and Sidney are beautiful. I especially adore how Sidney is looking at Helen. Thank you for sharing them with us. Helen is right. Say “I love you” all the time. You really never know.

    I cried like a mother listening to this song. Especially the second time. I have three mostly grown children. I’ve been worrying about them dying ever since I got pregnant the first time. I mean, they ARE going to die, but I very selfishly worry about them dying BEFORE I DIE. My brother died before my mother died and it just about killed her. And yeah. It’s just. Too awful. And I realize it happens to moms, all the time, like every day. I’m a member of the group “The Addict’s Mom” and nearly every day someone posts about another young person, someone’s child, dying. It’s too horrible.

    And yeah, I have all kinds of mothering fuck-up stories too. What mother doesn’t? I’ve left the baby in the car, forgotten to pick up the toddler from school, over protected, allowed way too much sugar, didn’t lay down the law strongly enough about drugs, unhealthy relationships, etc., forgotten to keep on top of dentist appointments, therapy appointments, etc., etc., etc.

    Also trying to stay at peace inside. It is damn hard in the relative sense. Easier in the absolute.

    Thanks for this thing, Amanda. For your vulnerability and honest lying. I love you.

    Reply
  64. Natalia Tenz

    [cross posted from facebook] I set my then 5 month old on a platform area of a playground (the newer kind, all hard plastic, all connected by hinges), that lead up to a slide. It was waist-high. I walked around to the steps so that we can slide down together. I saw her crawling over to the side and down she started to fall! I got to experience the scared-mother-lightning-fast-reflexes-and-hulk-like-strength that day – I quickly grabbed her chunky thigh before she hit the ground. That.was.scary…

    Reply
  65. cleva1

    When I was learning to use my baby sling – feeling all like the earth-mother-goddess-look-at-me-with-my-baby-sling – I forgot to pull up the side by my body and my tiny baby boy flopped right through onto the floor! Horrifying. I am told I screamed. (He screamed, too, but was fine.)

    Reply
  66. Vicky

    This song had me bawling. I’m so glad you get it! My son is 1 & a half now & I still cry some days. I can totally relate. I once went shopping with my son & picked up a shirt which I liked – I was juggling cranky baby & nappy bag etc so I just slung it over my shoulder. I went to the counter & paid for everything else & forgot it was there & walked out. I didn’t realise until I was in the car. And when my son was jumping on the couch cause he wouldn’t stop & I just needed 5 minutes to make some food & I looked away for one second & he fell backwards, pretty much did a back-flip & fell off the couch & landed on his head on the tiles. Thankfully he was ok, but I felt like I’d failed that day. Thank-you Amanda, we mums need to stick together. You are doing a great job with little Ash, he is so gorgeous in the photos! <3

    Reply
  67. lapis

    So i used to let my darling 2yr old daughter play in the back yard while i worked in the kitchen. All her yard toys were within 4 yards of the door and she is one of those kids that can’t NOT make noise 24/7 so it was easy to tell where and how she was even without looking right at her. So we are each doing our thing and i pop into the bathroom (maaaybe 2 minutes) and come back when i get a weird feeling…something is wrong…can’t put my finger on it… I look out the window at the empty yard while i ponder what is wrong and then it hits me – SILENCE IN AN EMPTY YARD! I freaked the hell out. I was in tears running/yelling through the yard & house, panicking because we lived across the street from the Hagerman family (as in the Amber Alert Hagermans) and I’m sure someone has stolen my baby when i found the gate we never use open. I bust into the front yard to see a lady across the street staring at me and pointing two houses down where my daughter is happily playing with a Little Tykes car. I put a padlock on the gate and bought her a plastic car of her own after that but never forgot the terror of that incident.
    She’s somehow made it to 21 now so i guess i did okay, but it is hard to look at her and not still see my cute little baby…

    Reply
    • lapis

      Aaaaand i put her to bed with techno.
      When i couldn’t handle the colicky madness anymore and we were both so shattered from lack of sleep that i would imagine tossing her out the window, i would put her in the crib, turn the music up just loud enough that she’d have to really be angry to drown it out and i’d go cry in the shower.

      Reply
  68. Pantstrovich

    I’m not a mom. I was the eldest sibling of four very abused and neglected kids. So I was placed in a mom position without anything to back it up because I was still a kid.

    As someone who was treated like I was, it almost seems silly to me that you worry so much about your mothering skills, but I’m glad you do. You care and it shows. I think you are doing a fine, “normal” job, in your own way. And personally, I think Ash is going to turn out a pretty chill person, who is ready for anything, because of all you expose him to.

    I know it’s not the same, but you’ve been mothering long before Ash was born. You’ve taught me so much shit that I don’t know I quite would have ever gotten elsewhere. You taught me that I can be imperfect and still be a good and worthwhile person. Yes, I’ve been looking up to Neil’s Lorraine since long before Neil ever met you, and I’ve learned the same from her, but you do it so publicly. I used to struggle with my self worth and imperfection so much, but ever since I started paying attention to you (a year after Neil started dating you), I felt braver to be my whole self in front of people. Firstly, for myself, so that I can continue battling the fear that I’m not good enough, but it’s also because I want to pass on what you passed to me. If other people can see me doing it, they can be braver too, and maybe love themselves a little more too.

    I just want you to know that you’re doing a good job of being a mother, in the various ways you do. Thanks for being so candid. It helped me change my whole way of living and loving myself. I hope it does for you too.

    Love always,
    Electra

    Reply
  69. Tilley

    I’m not a parent, but I once dropped my baby brother (I guess I would’ve been somewhere around 12-14yo and he 1-3yo) on his head in a McDonalds playground. And not on the nice semi-squishy ground, but on the tiles at the edge of the playground. I was so scared and asked my mum “He’s not going to be like… brain damaged now, is he?” I guess she was angry and scared too because she said something along the lines of “Well, we just don’t know, do we?” One of the worst times of my life :(

    I love this song. Also I miss Jason! He took me to that donut shop when I visited him three years ago, it was really good. His town is a strange little place. His houseboat is wonderful. I hope I get to hang out with him again sometime soon. I’m sure he makes an awesome godfather. I giggled at The Summit of the Godchildren.

    Reply
    • Pantstrovich

      I also giggled at The Summit of the Godchildren. He could start his own little Children of the Corn cult, except they’d be Children of the Houseboat, which is slightly less creepy.

      Reply
  70. Desire Mosteller

    Just happened to watch this while in the tub with a glass of wine while my husband was abandoned with both kids. So that was perfect. Writing this while nursing the 6m old who fell off of the couch yesterday and gave us a heart attack. He bounced back faster than his parents!

    Reply
  71. Kate

    There are times when I hate what parenting has done to me…making me have rules and stuff, lol…there are times when it enrages me, the way he speaks to me (he is 9 and might as well be a teenager, or sometimes 45 years old)…in the media motherhood is romanticized, serene and beautiful and it is not-it is messy and chaotic and you’re going to screw up your kids no matter what you do. There are times when he is pure genius, his sense of humor and talents are so real and awesome and I hope he is going to be a great person but what can you do? You have to let them be who they are. We all make mistakes and regret things and it hurts but in the long run if you love them and care about them that is enough. Just the fact that you worry that you’re screwing it up, is a sign that you are not.

    Reply
  72. Sophie Alice Acton

    Reading all these, I am just that much more certain that I never want a child. My cousins are great kids, I love corrupting them, but man, I do NOT have the emotional energy to deal with the crying and all of that. Needing to go lock myself in the bathroom to cry is a terrifying hell of an alternate universe. You guys are all very strong people for making the choice you made, and doing your best to raise good, alive kids. Not for me, though. Nope. I’d have hopped the first bus to anywhere on day two.

    Reply
  73. Stacy Whitley Wruck

    When she was one and a half, she fell down a flight of stairs at a family reunion at someone else’s house. She skinned up her little button nose. She didn’t cry. Once I realized none of her bones were broken, I had to be left alone to ugly cry for 20 minutes.
    When she was two, I accidentally locked her in the car in a Target parking lot. It was in the 80′s. Almost immediately the temperature dropped and a violent North Carolina thunderstorm began. I stood by the window in the thunder, lightning, and, yes, hail for an hour because I didn’t want her to be scared. She pretty laughed at me the whole time. About the time the cop arrived to help the sun back out.
    When she was five, we were visiting family during a sweltering summer. She had going out the front door and running around the house, then coming back in to the drastic temperature change as my cousin and I cooked. After quite some time, I realized she hadn’t been in a while. I went out to look for her and was panicking because I couldn’t see her and she wasn’t answering my calls. I walked all around the house a couple of times. Finally, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye and turned to see her panicked, screaming face as she banged on the window of my mom’s truck. She had climbed in and shut the door at some point, but couldn’t get back out. I couldn’t hear her. I pulled her, beet red and dripping sweat from the truck and ran inside. After administering first aid and crying, we both had to take a nap. I will never forget that face.
    I wish I could say that was all there is to report.
    BUT, she’s now 12, as tall as me and her feet are 2 sizes bigger than mine. She plays guitar and viola and wants to learn to code.
    At least she didn’t die.

    Reply
  74. calaverabee

    I had terrible post-partum depression after giving birth to my son. I was constantly worrying that everything I was doing was wrong. And then I dropped him! He was sitting on my lap on the sofa and he suddenly lunged forward (he was in the wobbly stage) and he landed face-first on the hard tile!! I couldn’t stop crying and hugging him and checking him, it was awful! He was totally fine, just a tiny bump on his cheek for a day… But I was so scared that the parent police were going to come get me…

    Then a few months later, my husband was carrying him on his shoulders and he slipped right off, fell backwards onto the (fortunately low) bed, then rolled onto the floor! Again, totally fine, little guy was just freaked out and crying. I was standing about 4 feet away and totally had the “slow motion” experience. It was horrifying at the moment, but in a way I felt relieved that I wasn’t the only one who was incapable of being a perfect parent… I know better now!

    My son turned one in November and we drank champagne and celebrated the fact that we managed to keep him alive for one whole year! Hopefully there will be many, many more. <3 |/

    Reply
  75. Robin Stewart

    Both of those blankets are crochet, neither one is knit hahaha.
    On to a parenting story. My oldest was 18 months at the time and I was in the kitchen doing dishes. He had broken through the baby gate and poured a brand new gallon jug of laundry detergent on the carpet. Then methodically he stripped to his diaper and went swimming in the detergent. This was in maybe a 10 minute time span. Only reason I found out was that he rubbed his eye and started screaming from getting detergent in his eye.
    I have others, but that’s the one I like the best right now.

    Reply
  76. Shannon Vann

    Should have read the warning about possible crying – the noon drinker got me. I have 8 and almost-6-year old girls. I once forgot to drop one off at school on the way to work. In my defense, she was quiet. She’s never quiet. We forgot multiple times last year to pick the older one up from soccer. She quit soccer. Now she takes ukulele lessons. I got pulled over for speeding IN A SCHOOL ZONE at peak drop-off time with both girls in the car. I got a warning. But the them 3 year old wanted to know why the cop had a gun. Then there was much hilarity about whether the cop was going to send mommy to jail or time-out. Then the little one wanted to know “mommy! Is him gonna SHOOT YOU???” This story will be told at family dinners for years to come. Also. I’m always late. Always. Love the song. ❤️

    Reply
  77. Krista Wilson

    My now 7 year old son toppled out of his cot when I left the side down while getting a nappy from the other room. He did a flip and landed on his back on the tiles. His older sister freaked out and still reminds me of that to this day. Then there was the time that my daughter’s car seat strap hung out the window and caught onto the tyre, dragging the whole seat down. Thankfully the car was stopped almost immediately…

    Reply
  78. Cassandra Miller

    I have many stories of motherhood fails, but my absolute worst was when my youngest locked himself in my car.

    I had just finished a really long work day (over 10 hours), and my husband dropped the kids off with me. I was trying to get both kids in the car, but decided to turn the AC on first as it was very hot (over 100* and my car had been sitting in the sun all day). As I go to shut the door my then 2 year old climbs into the front seat, shuts the door, and locks them. I call the emergency line, hysterically crying begging them to send help. My child isn’t overheating at least because I turned the AC on but I was so scared of him… pushing buttons? He couldn’t put it in drive, but goodness he could do plenty other things. Luckily, a lady came and gave me a hug, and then talked my 2 year old into pushing the unlock button using a McDonalds Furby Toy while simultaneously calming my 4 year old who was freaking out because mommy’s freaking out/his brother is locked in the car. Then comes the flashing lights and sirens to point out my stupidity as I’m apologizing to officers/fire fighters and crying/hugging both my children as hard as I can… and thanking the lady (who never would give me her name or anything so I could pay her back somehow… just kept saying she was a mom and understood… thank goodness for her).

    We all have hard times… motherhood can be full of them… but its worth it. It is all so very worth it. :)

    Reply
  79. Ruth Morton

    I’ve done all those things and more. Funny how babies learn to turn over at exactly the moment you leave them alone. I locked my keys in the car once at a shop and had to walk home with my new baby in my arms. She was so sunburned by the time we got home! Same baby was also face-dunked in a wading pool, as she was in my arms as I leaned over the pool to reach my son. I even forgot to pick up my child after school once and there is no greater embarrassment I can think of. Wow, even more parenting shit is flooding back now, so I better stop! I am now Grandma Ruthie and a Great grandma Ruthie, so you see my kids survived my parenting. I listened to your song at 4 in the morning all alone and it is gorgeous. Thank you for it.

    Reply
  80. Joanna Ashleigh

    This is wonderful… So wonderful. I’m scared as hell about the thought of being a mom, still undecided on the matter… But anyway, I took a glass of whiskey to the tub. Just submitted a college application that took me two months to complete (applying for a BA in dance, I’m 30 and trained in an offshoot of dance that isn’t widely recognized or respected, never done ballet or any of that)… I pulled on a lot of favors. Here’s hoping I get in. This is real shit. Thank you for writing/singing about real shit.
    Xo. Your adoring afp patron.

    Reply
  81. kkeor

    If you mom a child, and you don’t think “fuck I am such a fuckup at this shit” at least a few times (more like a million, but just in case), you’re too safe and your child will grow up to be an inhuman Dandy Mott, Ethan Couch sociopath murderer. <3 And I mean this out of love. So if you're offended, start fucking up harder so you can catch up with the rest of us.

    Reply
  82. FrancineHibiscus

    Helen and Sidney are magnificent! And that blanket!! What a treasure!

    Reply
  83. Lauren

    My kid is 7. He’s adopted. He lies a lot, mostly because he’s smart, and maybe a tiny bit because he was in foster care. He told me the truth tonight but I thought he was lying because I couldn’t tell the difference. He got in trouble for being honest. I finally figured it out and explained to him why it happened and told him the story of the boy who cried wolf.

    But I punished my kid for being honest and that is a very confusing feeling and parenthood is weird, and this song is amazing.

    Reply
  84. Litter Picker

    I knew something of that special brand of dread when my friend Kate’s infant son fell, along with his high chair, onto the tiled kitchen floor.
    He’d been eating red jelly (jello, I think, if you’re American). He’s screaming, she’s frantic, there’s an empty bowl and a glob of red stuff on the floor. I’m trying to persuade her that an ambulance might not be necessary, that his screaming is probably a good thing at this point (considering the alternatives), and that the red stuff is probably jelly.

    “I KNOW it’s blood,” she says. So I scooped some up on my finger, and tasted it.
    Jelly never tasted so sweet.
    That was 25 years ago. He didn’t die yet.

    Reply
  85. Kathy Vickers

    When my eldest (now 12) was 8 she broke her wrist – no bruising, no swelling, a little pain. On the 4th day when she wouldn’t put weight through it we took her to Emergency and got it checked. She spent 6 weeks over Christmas (summer in Australia) in a cast. I’m a nurse who has worked in orthopaedics and I didn’t pick it. She’s broken her foot twice and locked herself in the car when she was a baby (hint – never given the kid the carkeys to play with then shut all the doors, even in the rain). My youngest (now 6) was what we called the “white noise machine”. Had a cry at just the right pitch that, when he got going, you could hear absolutly nothing over it. My middle child (who is 17 months older than her brother) nearly smothered him to death days after I came home from the hospital. She wanted to cuddle him so she lay on top of him and he’d started going purple by the time I got there.

    The overwhelming responsibility of trying to be good enough, the maddening way the little buggers are in charge of the goalposts (and keep moving them), and the thought that “if only we didn’t have the kids we could……..” is mind numbing at times. I love my kids, but there are days when I really don’t like them, I resent them, and I think longingly of being young and single again.

    Logical thinking goes out the window with the haha on days when it’s all going to shit, and I really resent those days when no-one seems to see that there’s something wrong. All kids really need in these early days is love, food, and safety. All the other window dressing we do when they are babies is for our benefit, not theirs.

    Reply
  86. Samaire Provost

    Oh, my dear. Oh goodness. I want to hug you. First of all, I have five children. I dropped the second one in a Mervyns because he was a very leg-thrusting baby, I was distracted, and did not have a good hold of him when, at just a few months of age, he leg thrust and went sailing over my shoulder and onto the floor. I felt like a horrible mother. Second of all, I left baby number five in the car while I went in with the other four. Five minutes later I gasped and asked them all, “Where’s Jamie?” and then rushed back outside and got him. He was fine, it wasn’t a hot day, I wasn’t caught by anyone, he had a mild look of concern on his face (he was maybe 5 months old) and I felt like a horrible mother. Third of all, Amanda, you sweet thing, you are married to a millionaire. You needn’t go through this. Get a nanny that travels with you, a-la-Brad & Angelina. Neil can afford it. Trust me when I say it will be incredibly worth it. Have her shadow you like a Lady-in-waiting and tend the baby when you can’t.
    Good luck, sweetness. Treasure every minute with them both, this time will never, ever come again. ❤

    Reply
  87. lizzle4rizzle

    My parents are visiting me from across the country, in great timing. I just explained to my own mother what I was reading, knowing she’d appreciate the refrain of “at least the baby didn’t die.”

    About watching the baby fall in slow motion, she said, “Oh no, you always put them on the floor! I never put you up high.” Immediately followed by, “…but I did once lift your brother out of his little counter seat directly into the overhead light in the kitchen. HARD. I thought, oh my god I dropped the baby on his head! But…upwards!” Then my dad walked in and said, “And I fell down the stairs with him once!” “Yeah, but you protected him really well!” A nod. “I did.”

    My brother is now a sciencey beer genius and I love my parents.

    Thanks as always for sharing, Amanda :)

    Reply
  88. mwwaterman

    When our kids were little I always figured that a day that ended with “No one is bleeding and everyone got fed. Twice” was a win!

    Reply
  89. Kimberly Matteson

    Oh boy, this song brings me back to when my husband and I were new parents. What an experience…so so stressful and wonderful at the same time. The baby falling…honestly, I think that happens to every parent at some point. Mine rolled off an ottoman, another time rolled off the bed. You’d think after the first time I wouldn’t let it happen again, right? But they’re so quick…you look away for one second and that’s all it takes. While I can’t say I ever shoplifted anything, we did forget her in the car one time. Thankfully only for a couple minutes, before we both looked at each other and at the same moment realized, wait a sec! If you’re here, and I’m here…where’s the baby? And we both went running back outside. But just wait until he’s mobile…that’s when the real fun begins. You’ll get a whole new set of parenting fail stories to tell! ;)

    Reply
  90. Jamie Shirley

    I have a few *bad parent* moments. When Tempe was 6 months old I had gone back to work and Tempe has colic so nobody would babysit them. I mean NOBODY. Even family said they couldn’t handle it for longer than 20 minutes. My child broke babysitters. We wanted to rent them out as a “scared straight” tactic. Or as an advocate for birth control. So I was working at a sandwich shop and when Tempe’s father and I worked at the same time I would bring Tempe with me. One night I was tearing down the food prep area and Tempe was in their car seat on a table and for once not crying. We were playing peek a boo (seriously, this game is a curse on my family, I have a Harry Potter like scar from when I was little and my mom was playing it with me). What I realized was that Tempe was laughing so hard and kicking their little feet so hard it was scooting the car seat to the edge of the table. This dawned on me right as the slow motion fall began and there was absolutely NO WAY for me to get to the car seat on time. I got Tempe out of the car seat and we cried and I called my ex and he finished closing down his store and rushed to mine to take us to the ER. Where we tried for hours to get Tempe to fall asleep but Tempe was hungry and they didn’t want me to nurse because it might mess up the CT scan (to make sure my baby wasn’t bleeding internally…panic!)

    Tempe had some bruises and bumps and kinda looked like Quasimodo for a while. And did you know when your skin is as tight as a baby’s the bruises don’t just fade, they slide down the face/body. I was horrified and thought I was the worst mother in the world.

    Then there were the times my child got locked in a house/bathroom/revolving doors. The house at least they were in their swing thing, I had run outside to catch my mom to get help opening a jar of baby food and the door locked behind me.

    When they were 5 they were taking a bath and the doorknob broke and jammed. And panic hit and I literally had to dismantle the doorknob from the outside to get the door unlocked (it is much harder than TV makes it look to break down a door).

    (TW sexual abuse)
    .
    .
    I think though the worst story I have is this; when Tempe was 5 they were being abused on the school bus and they had shown signs. Wetting the bed, suddenly not liking school, constantly complaining of a stomach ache, I was a “room mom” which meant that I came to the school and did games and fun things for all of the holidays and parties. Tempe’s dad was in town and we wanted 20 minutes alone together so we left right before the kids were dismissed so that we could use the time it took Tempe to ride the bus home to actually have a minute alone. Tempe cried and cried and cried as we left and we left anyway. A week later is when Tempe told me what was going on. It started with “I don’t like it when X makes me kiss him using my tongue.” And that is when I realized I had been so caught up in my own depression that something terrible was happening to my child and I didn’t see the signs. Tempe turns 17 in 16 days and this still eats at me. It was this time of year when they told me what this boy was doing. But, by coming forward Tempe put an end to not just their own abuse but this kid was abusing 3 other girls on his bus rides. The school claimed it was just “inappropriate touching” and beyond counseling did nothing further, despite my insistence that SOMETHING had to be going on for a six year old boy to know the things he did. I wanted him to get help too.

    We all worry about fucking up as parents and we do fuck up. Because we’re human and it happens. But my child is turning 17 (the baby didn’t die) and I couldn’t be more proud of them. So obviously I did some things right because my kid is fucking amazing. Right now I am posting one new reason I love them every day leading up to their birthday. I am also trying to get 365 messages of love and hope written out for them so they can open one a day for a year. I know my mom regrets many things and I still love her. Just like my kid still loves me. And I them.

    I love you, and I have faith that you are a wonderful mom. Ash is a blessed and loved baby.

    Reply
  91. Kimberly R

    When my daughter (now 18!) was 2 months old, I left her in the center of a full size bed to go grab a fresh set of clothes for her from the dresser a few steps away. I had my back turned when she managed to roll off the bed, but the “THUMP….waaaaaah” of her hitting the floor and then wailing about it still haunts me. In the end, I cried about it longer than she did. Parenting is a rough gig, but you and the mister exude so much love that your kid is one of the luckiest kids out there.

    Reply
  92. Jessica Tsuzuki

    I’m not surprised to see over a hundred comments, but thought I might add my own. My kid is only two and a half now, but seems pretty normal in most respects.

    But every time she rolled off the couch or threw herself out of her crib (seriously, gate up and everything, she climbed over and dropped…twice!) I would see this horrible vision, like a PSA from hell in the style of the old milk commercials from the 90s. Little Julia, now grown, telling the camera. “I could have been Prime Minister, or Justice of the Peace. I could have cured cancer or invented something really amazing….but now you dropped me on my head, and I’ll only ever be a (insert brainless job).”

    And I would tell myself I was such a failure and the worst mother on Earth, and I still feel that way sometimes when she goes to play in her room and I get so absorbed by video games or whatever that I’m just not paying attention when she suddenly needs me…

    But then I remember a story I read on my phone shortly after Julia was born, when we were still in the hospital, right after my first bout of feeling like a mom-failure. An ape had given birth to triplets and immediately murdered two of them. Like on purpose.
    And I realized, hey, I’m not that bad. No part of me wants to hurt her and if it did, I would get help.
    I am not a failure. Neither are you.

    At least the baby didn’t die. Thank you for this song. I know some soon-to-be moms who will need it sooooo badly.

    Also, I’ve got tons of sympathy for anyone who drives with a screaming baby and may occasionally forget the kid in the car. They have an app for that now apparently and I heard a lot of people being super-critical (“Well I never forgot MY kids in the car because I love THEM.”) And I usually feel compelled to explain how I once got the baby ready for a train trip (we live in Japan) and I had thought of everything– snacks, toys, food, extra clothes, beverages, diaper bag, etc. I got her in the stroller and unlocked the door, turning just in time to see my pants-less reflection in the entry-way mirror.
    If a grown woman whose been wearing pants for 30 years can nearly accidentally moon an entire country of people who find tank-tops taboo (shoulders, oh my!), then any exhausted parent can momentarily forget that screaming love, now quiet in the backseat. It’s to be avoided, and it can turn tragic, but it isn’t this unimaginable thing. I totally get it.
    Thank you for finding the courage to share your flaws. They are ours, too.

    Reply
  93. Chelsea

    I never slept with any of my kids until my fourth was born. I thought it was fantastic and wondered how on earth anyone could roll onto their babies in those horror stories and smother them, I always seemed to know she was there. Until one early morning one of my other kids was crying in bed and I rolled over to turn on the lamp, which took a minute because it was dark and I couldn’t find the switch. When I rolled back I heard an audible gasp and realized I had been suffocating my two month old with my giant body. Both of us got a good scare out of that, and she didn’t die. Also didn’t stop me from continuing to sleep with her…
    This wasn’t a life threatening or baby related story, but once, when the experimental stage of texting was fresh and exciting after my husband and I both got smart phones, I accidentally texted a picture of myself that was intended for my husband’s eyes only to the mother of one of my daughter’s friends, whom I had just met and who I would be seeing in a few hours for a first play date we had been arranging. I died, I definitely died a horribly embarrassing death the minute I realized what I had done and that it could not be taken back. Thankfully the mom thought it was hilarious. I wish I could say that was the only embarrassing text mishap I had after that, but suffice it to say that intimate things are now solely spoken or experienced in face to face moments between my husband and I because technology is too complicated for me not to make a fool of myself…

    Reply
  94. Shaiyela Hornung

    After the 5th or 6th time my daughter rolled off of something (the couch, her dresser/change table, our bed, etc)…I realized babies are pretty indestructible. Maybe not in that 28 days of newbornity, but definitely by the time they start moving. It doesn’t make you feel any less terrible. My daughter turns 3 in a few weeks and she’s a giant (the size of a 5 year old). I miss all the baby moments…I do not miss the insecurity of newbornity, the out of whack hormones, the disconnected lost feeling, or the foggy brain. This too shall pass Amanda! So much quicker than you know. Thanks for sharing your horror stories from the field – we all have them, but many of us are too scared to admit the fuck ups, and we shove them down deep inside to let them fester like dirty secrets do until our child is old enough to get a mock horrified laugh out of it over family dinner one day.

    Reply
  95. Allie

    When my little one, now nearly 10 weeks old, was about 5 days old she fell off my bed. I picked her up from her bassinet, scooted over what I thought was far enough, and laid her next to me. On the outside of the bed. I know… Stupid.

    She kicked my leg with her tiny little legs, which were so much stronger than I have her credit for. Her momentum threw her to her side and right off the edge of the bed onto the hardwood floor. She missed the power strip by an inch. She landed mostly on her hands and knees with a good think on her head. I made an inhuman noise, my partner came flying out of a dead sleep, and she wailed for 15 seconds and then just wanted to eat while I sobbed and tried not to puke from fear and self-loathing. I put a bit of ice on her head though I couldn’t see a mark, and I was convinced she’d have a concussion. She, of course, was and is perfectly fine and is still very strong. I still hear the sound of her hitting the floor almost every time I pick her up.

    Man, what a weight is lifted telling that story. I can’t tell you guys how hard I cried when I found out even Amanda Fucking Palmer’s kid hit the floor once – and so many other people’s too.

    Reply
  96. Karly

    Ok confession time…when my baby was small i accidentally drove with her in her carseat unbuckled! It was an honest mistake…you know how it goes when you’re out running errands and youre dragging them around in a carseat and they’re sick of being buckled down so you unbuckle them and swear you’ll remember to buckle them back up but they’re asleep under a blanket when you get in the car and you forget. This happened on more than one occassion (at least 3 times) and each time i was mortified and felt i should turn myself into the police. Funny enough the only thing that calmed me down was knowing she was perfectly fine (at least she didn’t die, right?).

    Perhaps the most heart breaking “i cant stop reliving it in my mind” moment was when she was still quite small and i layed her in her bassinet so i could read a story next to her. It was a medium sized boardbook but heavy enough that when it slipped from my fingers and landed square on my baby’s nose she screamed bloody murder. I freaked out even more than her and my boyfriend had to calm us both down. And just when we were calmed down i noticed the blood…exactly one drop on the tip of her nose where the book scraped her and i lost it. Not only did i hurt my baby and made her cry i actually drew blood!!! She was fine of course but i felt like i mutilated my baby…

    Thanks so much for sharing your story…it makes me feel less alone…i saw you debut this song at Shakaroo and it made me laugh and cry…it was just a little too close to home…your baby is beautiful btw.

    Reply
  97. Sarah O'Brien

    This is brilliant, Amanda!
    And yes, so been there! Have three, all survived so far, now 12, 10, 7. I take great comfort in the fact that every parent I’ve talked to knows *exactly* what I mean when I describe “that dropped watermelon sound when their heads hit the ground”! So many incidents… Dropped the boot lid of my car on 3-month-old first child’s head… Checked in on 9-month-old second child at night to see a little blood on his lip, it was late on a Saturday night and decided no way was I taking him to Emergency, woke in the morning to a dinner-plate sized pool of blood!!! He’d bitten through his tongue!

    This made me laugh and cry. I so clearly remember these early days, the anxieties and self-doubt. You are doing an amazing job, and you are so clearly a wonderful mother.

    Reply
  98. Vicki Kyriakakis

    Dear Amanda. Thank you so much for writing this song. Here is my story.

    You and I were pregnant at roughly the same time. My daughter Lexi was born a week early in late August last year. So I’ve followed you’re posts on pregnancy and motherhood closely. (Particularly as I am a massive fan of your art and – as an aspiring writer – a huge fan of Neil’s. At a signing in Melbourne Australia once I manically asked him if I could just borrow his brain for a while. He graciously said as long as I gave it back. I walked away feeing equal parts mortified at myself and delighted by the idea that I really could maybe borrow Neil’s brain).

    Anyway, this morning I put Lexi on our bed and went for a ‘quick pee’. Read a pee and a scroll through Facebook. I had surrounded her with pillows so I thought she was safe. Well yeh except she can now climb over pillows so moments after I left her I heard a thump and a wail. She’d fallen off the bed FACE FIRST.

    She seems ok (apart from sporting a head cold I have given her) so I think we had a lucky escape but Jesus Christ. I felt like the worst mother in the world!

    I’ve also felt lots of grief over the world I’ve brought her into. And more than once changed her nappy in the boot of the car.

    All of which is to say, if we are ever in the same city and happen into the same pub, I’d love to buy you a wine. You feel like a kindred spirit.

    Thanks for helping the universe birth this song. Xx

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  99. grind

    I work in retail. we aren’t looking to catch moms who steal chapstick by accident. And @billh I have the strange shaped balding head due to falling. it’s not that bad..life is good. :-)

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  100. Alice Janke Tyson

    You’re doing great. It’s kind of the rules that babies learn to roll when you’ve got them somewhere high. Also they finally work out crawling when you’ve left the toolbox on the floor. There is nothing quite like coming back from the loo to find the baby with a hammer or a saw. (Mine are still alive to. For 7 years and 3 years… I should point this out!)

    Reply
    • Lis_P

      Well, it’s called “motivation”. Why would they want to crawl when all they can reach are the same old toys? A toolbox though, or the open dishwasher? Hell yeah, THAT’S the interesting stuff!

      Reply
  101. Tami

    Amanda, I’m looking forward to the years ahead! Your confessions made me want to share a questionable thing my parents only recently told me about. Apparently, before I was 2, my mother couldn’t open child-safe bottles, so my dad opened all of the bottles in the apartment for her, and left them out loosened like that. Well I found one of these and drank a whole bottle of cough syrup and stayed awake for 3 days; it was my very first robo-trip. I was stunned to learn this, thinking “oh my god, they were younger than me NOW when they had me.” I ended up alright, of course: I became a musician! Haha. Anyway, I’m sure whatever happens will make your child more interesting, strong, amazing, and other positive words! You are loving and wonderful and I love your music. Best wishes!

    Reply
  102. Mike Linnett

    There was a time when the boy was somewhere between 2 and 3 where me and the ex thought the local hospital was going to report us to the parent police.
    Within what felt like a few weeks we had the running into the picture frame (big ol glass splinter in the hip), the falling out of bed (dislocated shoulder, busted collarbone), the “money went in my mouth” incident, the time he ran full tilt into the washing line (using his head as a brake). Definitely the most guilt-inducing was when he was being a bit awkward about getting his shoes on so we could go to the zoo, so I was playfully (for real, we were all laughing) pulling his arms over his head while mummy took care of the business end. Then there was a pop and no more laughing and tears and a dislocated elbow :-/
    I was about ready to just quit. Like for fucks sake, I’d literally just pulled his arm out of its socket. Zoo trip cancelled, A+E trip instead, lots of waiting, a quick popping it back in, and bags of reassurance that it’s easy to do, happens quite a lot, etc

    Reply
  103. Lisa

    Amanda thank you. I love this song and I adore you and your heart. So… Small confession but heck, I’m only 2 months in with my baby Griffin so who knows what tomorrow will bring. But, just yesterday, I went to check to see if he had pee’d in his diaper. These days, when I check for wetness, I have come to just stick a finger in there and you know, feel around a bit. But, I was in a bit of a rush and when I stuck my finger in and pressed down on what I thought was the diaper part, I suddenly realized with a sinking feeling that it was instead his very sensitive skin down there. He and I seemed to both realize at the same time, as we both looked at each other in shock. And then, his little face scrunched up and the wailing began and crescendo’d with fervor. I quickly opened up his diaper to find that I had even pitched and nicked part of his precious skin with my fingernail! I admit there was even a tiny bit of blood. I was horrified. He was horrified. And that cry!! It was like he KNEW I had done it and cried as though I had done it on purpose. So pitiful. So loud. Oh the guilt. I kept saying to him, yes I did that, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry!

    Reply
  104. Silver

    When she was just a couple of months old, my daughter ended up on the car floor with her car-seat over her because I had forgot to secure it. Some time later, she put her hand on a hot iron — still has the scar from that one. And years later, because I always let my kids do what they want, she tumbled head-first from a 1,5 m high wall. She’s still alive, and, somehow, I managed not to get my son hurt as much. (Though I surely did not try any harder!)

    What I am more sorry about than these physical injuries, however, is how I occasionally treat them when I am tired or angry. I think these leave worse scars, to be honest. But that’s something you may not need to worry about for a while longer!

    Reply
    • Redd Hynes

      I worry about that too, the part of how I treat my son when I’m too tired, too impatient, too angry. I don’t say terrible things, but I still worry. You are not alone!

      Reply
    • ThatLoudAmerican

      I go through phases where I’m just an ass-hole in the morning, having not slept enough or eaten enough or felt valued enough. But you know what? I sit down and tell them I’m sorry. I tell them why I am feeling the way that I am (sad, sleepy, hungry) and then I say I’m going to try to do better. I try to demonstrate mindfulness and I try to live it to (hard!). But it does seem to work. We all use this language of recognizing when we’ve made a bad choice in behavior and why. We say we are sorry and we try to better. Except the 3yr-old. He’s just a dick ;) Hang in there. We are all just doing the best we can in the moment!

      Reply
  105. Kaalyn

    Oh, the irony this song posted today. Of course like most I smiled and felt sad – and the trillion shades of everything else in the gradient. My mother and I (who aren’t particularly close) just had an in depth conversation that included how upset and sorry and guilty she feels for not knowing I was being severely, severely abused as a child. There’s absolutely ZERO way she could have known and I’ve always felt it deeply important that she know that, but I know it’ll never sink in fully — bc nothing can compare to a mother’s guilt or sense of responsibility or helplessness. I almost even felt like sharing this quirky tale of our human and motherly failures with her. …how we’re all doing the best we can but things go wrong and things get confused and convoluted and exhausting and it’s so hard to find calm or order half the time. And EVERYONE has a tale or fifty about things they’d rather not admit to the world. So, this raw honestly is AFP through and through, and I’m pretty darn certain that you’re about to become that parent-guilt receptacle you’re foreshadowing. And I do hope it brings you and us all some levity. Soon you could have your own exhibit of full of parent confessions. You can finally call it “Not my finest moment, apparently.”
    But then on the other side of all this laughing and silliness there was the heavy weight on my chest in listening because… I just lost my baby girl who was born too soon to hang in and her brother is trying but it’s…unlikely. So, for me it’s.. ‘at least, the babies will likely die’. ….but ‘at least, the babies won’t be in pain’. Yet, even so, there’s no way to not feel some kind of guilt every minute of every day that my eyes aren’t watching and glued on him; cherishing every single breath. Yet we all need sleep, the human body can’t panic and worry that much and not need to restore itself now and again, annnnnnd the heart can’t grieve the loss of one while staring at another and be expected to not go insane. Though the situations are very very different, the kind of humanity in this little song — and the fact I as a listener can have objectivity and fault you not in the least for any one of these things — reminds me that no one would likely fault me for needing a pause sometimes. A shower. For needing a breather. For not always being able to be there and be strong. To not kill myself over not being able to save my boy, or for my body not able to hold onto them both just a liiiiiittle longer. We’re all doing the BEST we can…..and while most of us of us would die to save our kids if the opportunity presented itself, there are plenty of other parents who take long pauses before naming theirs, and others who don’t even know their names. We’re doing alright.
    Sigh… So, I’m sorry for the dump…but on a song about babies, pretty sure my little heart couldn’t hold back the damn today. It’s been a very very long month. And this just…this did a lot for my spirit. And I’m so glad I listened since I’ll admit my very fragile heart didn’t know if I could at first glance. Thank you, Amanda — for always always always seeking to be so transparent. Your vulnerability and authenticity is a gem that makes so much of the world breathe a little easier and know that we’re all doing pretty darn okay :) I’m so happy for you and Neil and Ash :)
    <33

    Reply
      • Kaalyn

        Thank you so sweetly for this :) For reading the long message at all – but most of all taking a second to say something comforting. This means a lot. It’s always the little things that make the biggest difference.

        Reply
    • Katt

      Kaalyn, I wish I could wrap my arms around you and say “It’s okay to fall apart for a bit, I’ll hold the pieces together for you.” You are amazing for being able to articulate what you are going through. I went through loss after loss and I remember how alone in the world I felt and how impossible it seemed to get anyone to see me. I see you. Sending you love and hope and hugs. <3

      Reply
      • Kaalyn

        Oh, I cannot express how much this made me warm in my heart. And that’s everything to me right now. I’m sorry it took me awhile to respond; things are still stressful and tough over here. (Baby boy *is* still barely hanging in but there’s no way to know for *certain* that he’ll definitely pass on soon, so making the decision to let him do so now and suffer no more doesn’t feel as humane when there actually is the tiniestttt of chances he could in fact hold out. It’s just like, 98.5% unlikely. Sighhhh.) So, because I don’t have many friends, and haven’t been able to let many people in to my world for other reasons, this warmth and love from you guys has supplied a much need rejuvenation. And oddly, even though they’re just “comments from strangers who don’t know me” and many might think that’s somehow meaningless or insignificant, I actually think the complete opposite. So, I can’t thank you enough for that. You didn’t have to read all this and you certainly didn’t have to respond. You could’ve just passed along and continued on with your day. But you didn’t. You felt something real and spent some time thinking about me and my boy, and passed on little girl. And that’s more valuable to me than I think you could have ever known or anticipated as you did so. Truly, thank you. *gratefully accepts this hugs and love*

        Reply
        • Katt

          You are a lovely person and I genuinely wish that I lived nearby and we could meet for a pot of tea and a long chat. I can hear between the words you write just how exquisitely painful that 98.5% is. Sending you more love and an invitation to contact me anytime if you would like a shoulder and a listening ear. Sometimes strangers are the most useful listeners. <3

          Reply
  106. Julie

    Ah, Amanda, this is basically the essence of parenthood and made me tear up instantly. ❤️ One always thinks that parents are some kind of über-being while they’re just very tired, kind of timeless (as in having not time for whatever) humans and we’re ALL just kind of wing it. Improvisation FTW and all ;)

    I have two-and-a-half year old twin boys and what a ride it still is. There is always something going on (even though it gets better. Every month it gets better, I promise!). My baddest thing was leaving a fresh cup of cappuccino on the table. In reach of the children. Just for a second! Which was totally long enough for Cub to grab it, turn it over and pour the reeeeeeaally hot beverage right over himself. I was shell-shocked for a milisecond, then grabbed him and put him under the shower, tearing his clothes off. I was a wreck and so blaming myself. Luckily, nothing more than a slightly red skin happened, no burns. Phew.
    Oh no, that wasn’t the worst. That was when I left the boys with their cousins (who are a few years older than they) in the same room with a burning fireplace (no open fire, closed… What’s the word? You know, a metal thing with glass door one sometimes has in a living room). I thought they were old enough to keep an eye on them and keep them away from the fire. They weren’t. Now, THAT was an evil burn on Cub’s hand. My poor baby. No scar left, fortunately.
    And yeah, they always start to move when you least expect it. I think every baby falls down somewhere sometimes. There’s a reason why they are this flexible…

    Honestly, I adore you for how much you do with Ash, traveling, recording, visiting people. There are so many parents closing themselves in out of fear that SOMETHING might happen or because they feel it’s just too much effort. But there’s a line from Finding Nemo I so love, because it reminds me not to close myself in: “You can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him! That wouldn’t be much fun for little Harpo.”

    Reply
  107. RebelMissChaos

    I don’t have a baby but I have a dog and listening to the song I had to think about one specific situation.
    I forgot her in front of the grocery store next door. She was attached there for hours until she finally managed to free herself and annoyed people to let her inside our house and waited in front of my appartment door until the neighbors rang the bell for her. I felt sooo bad!!! But she wasn’t even mad at me she was just happy to be home again.

    Reply
  108. Zamorra Rodriguez

    I left my daughter with my sisters so i could go to college for the day.When i came home she was crying her head off whenever she moved and was like that for hours and i couldn’t figure out why until my sister finally told me she had fallen off the bed. She had fallen and broken her arm. =/

    Reply
  109. Sunniva H

    I don’t know if this counts (I’m not a parent) but at 19 I was working in a nursery (kindergarten/barnehage) and was changing a baby’s diaper, and another child came in with her mother, and I put my head around the door frame to greet them, and the baby I had at the changing table crawled over the edge of it and fell on his head… and I was so awkward and frazzled and forgetful that I didn’t tell his parents it had happened so they could check out he was ok. That was 7 years ago and sometimes I get pangs of guilt that he got some lasting damage and that it could all have been prevented if I had done my duty and informed his parents of what had happened. I am so sorry.

    Reply
  110. Sarah Fuller

    I love this :-) so many parenting fuck ups i’ve erases many from memory…. do vividly remember finding an almost chewed nighttime flu tabled in my son’s mouth when he was 1…

    Reply
  111. Annika

    I’m not a mother, but an older sister. Me and my three brothers used to wrestle a lot – and it usually got quite violent (but in a sibling-love kinda way). I remember my dad told us not to wrestle in the bunk bed, because we could fall from it, and I was the oldest so I was kinda in charge of my younger brothers. Of course we wrestled in the bunk bed. I remember my youngest brother, Axel, falling in slow motion, right down on his metal babyscooter. He landed on his back on one of the sharpest edges on it. I was maybe 11, he was maybe 2. I was horrified, thought he must have a broken back. My dad rushed in, furious with fear, scooped him up and into the bathroom to check him. He was pretty fine, just got a pretty gnarly wound from that sharp metal edge, and crying and crying and crying. I felt so bad, and I still think about it and get choked up, 16 years later. I also, by accident, while wrestling, made my other brother run straight into a couch arm-thing and bite THROUGH his lip. Blood everywhere. I was a good sister but those mistakes still haunt me, even though my brothers don’t even remember them.

    Reply
  112. Schnouki

    One thing I’ve learned after my baby son fell from the changing table: when you tell about that, all parents will also tell you about their fuck-ups. Friends, family, even my boss… Yep, we all did this.
    The kid is now perfectly OK (he was about 5 or 6 months when this happened, he’ll turn 1 in a few days), he can almost walk, a few days ago he managed to stand up in his high chair, but god it’s still scary when I remember him falling from that table…

    Thanks for this song Amanda. You’re doing fine with the baby, and he looks adorable :)

    Reply
  113. Cris Clucas

    I loved this so much and want to thank you for putting into words how hard parenting can be. Totally related in every way and my baby is 17.5 years. All the best Amanda from Canberra Australia. xx

    Reply
  114. ProfessorCake

    My first baby tossed herself backwards in a fit of rage and hunger out of my arms onto a hardwood floor. My second baby threw herself out of the carseat in a fit of boredom with how long it was taking me to buckle her in. My third has yet to visit the local emergency room in any kind of accident capacity, but I am sure it is only a moment or two away. They keep telling me that babies are built to bounce, even with the side eye you get in ER.

    Reply
  115. Chris Albery-Jones

    Oh wow. This song is one of the bravest things I’ve ever heard. My daughter is 7 so it’s a while since she was this small but I remember how terrifying it was (and still is!) that someone (the government? the parent fraud police?) would turn around and say “you are a terrible parent, we are taking your child away”. But this song tells the truth – we all fuck things up – my daughter fell on the floor off the sofa when she was a few months old and I spent hours on the phone to the doctors to make sure she was ok – it was terrifying, but I think if there any parent tells you they didn’t screw up in some way like this, they are basically lying. But no one talks about it! Except now you did! LOVE this <3<3<3

    Reply
    • Elisa

      I so agree. Most people won’t tell you but my friends and I have exchanged our horror experiences. From babies falling down stairs head first to falling from a buggy on the tram tracks (forgot to strap baby in buggy

      Reply
  116. sarahsmash

    Once I was breastfeeding my 1-ish month old and my husband had brought me a burrito (yay!). I took a bite and rained rice and beans down on my poor little girl. I was brushing all the food off her when I noticed something in her mouth–a piece of cilantro-lime rice–in my sweet perfect new baby’s mouth. I freaked out (She’s too young for solids! What if she chokes?!?!?), fished it out of her mouth and started crying. (Hormones?) It’s funny now, but I was so horrified at the time over something so silly and strange. I don’t even know if anyone will understand this. Even when I laugh about it now, there’s still part of me that feels bad about it. Oh man..being a mom is a trip.

    She has fallen off the couch a few times, hit her head on the wall while we walked down the hallway…

    I’ve also accidentally stolen things from the grocery store in a similar manner. Except mine was like 4 boxes of crackers that had wedged themselves under her car seat. I went back to pay for them later that night (shameful confession: mostly because my local police department posts surveillance photos of shoplifters on their facebook page and I couldn’t bear the thought of being in one of those pics.) I think they thought I was crazy when I was trying to explain how I missed that many things in the cart and I just kept saying “and then my baby started crying!” as if that was the answer.

    And there’s so many things to worry about. And I am a champion worrier. And I worry about worrying. And then I wonder if that means I worry too much. But look at the world! How could I not? It’s easier to focus on my little part of the world, at least for now. And my now 10-month-old is doing fine, growing by leaps and bounds. And it’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

    But, oh man, Amanda. I cried and laughed and cried so many times listening/reading this. I so so get it. So. Much.

    Reply
  117. Sarah Clinkscales

    I am a mother of two. When mine were small. (2 years apart). I had a dentist appointment for the replacement of my fake front tooth. By some miracle it was just me and my infant son. He was nursing of course. So I never left him but a friend offered to keep his older brother during my appointment. I arrived at the dentist office. Went in. Waited about 10 minutes. Sat down in the dentist chair. He’s an old college friend. We chatted while he removed my front tooth. Then he asked me how the boys were. OM MY GOD! THE BABY! THE BABY’S STILL IN THE CAR! I jumped out of the chair and ran for my car. He was crying so hard he had turned his car seat over. I sat with him, cradled in my arms, for at least 15 minutes. Both of us sobbing. HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN MY CHILD FOR 15 MINUTES??? It was all I could do not to drive away. If I was not toothless at that moment, I believe that I would have. You read about this. Hear about this. And wonder how people can do this. Well. It happened to me. Exhaustion was the main reason. The lack of his bubbling brook of his older brother. The infant was sleeping when I parked. Still. I will never forgive myself. To this day. The receptionist wanted to report me. Thank goodness her boss is my friend. Thank goodness my son was alive. He’s 12 now. My beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Beautiful boy. I never spoken of this before. I feel better. Thank you Amanda.

    Reply
    • Michelle

      I know it’s been two years since you wrote this, but I wanted to say thank you! I had a similar incident a few days ago where I left my daughter for 10 or 15 minutes without realizing as well. I DID get reported, and the woman from child services laughed it off and told me it was silly she even had to come see me. I certainly didn’t sleep the night before the meeting, though! And the whole thing is haunting me day and night. We are all human and make mistakes. It doesn’t mean we love our babies any less <3 Thank you, Sarah!

      Reply
  118. Steffi Leube

    So true. Love it, had to cry and laugh and smile.
    My girl fell off the changing place once, too. It was the worst moment of my
    life. We had to stay in the hospital for one night just to be sure and
    that didn`t improve how much a failure I felt I was. Such things happen,
    I suppose. And thankfully babys don`t die that easy. You`re a great mom, I`m sure and motherhood suits you. You have created so many beautiful art already.
    Thank you very much.

    Reply
  119. Rain Allen

    So many moments with my 5 month old. My boyfriend fell asleep with the baby on his chest (he was maybe 3 weeks old) and started to roll to his side in his sleep…the side facing the edge of the bed. He somehow woke up in time to catch baby by his arm before he hit the tile,but banged his head on the side of our bed frame. I’ve gone on 4 hour road trips leaving diapers or the pumped milk sitting on my kitchen counter. I’ve gone out for a smoke and forgot the monitor and walked inside to a screaming baby. His 15 month old cousin has stepped on him, sat on his head, and cut his head with a pair of scissors he found. The dog has stepped on him. My poor baby boy just doesn’t care about any of it any more.

    Reply
  120. Gabriella Vagnoli

    Confession 1: I dropped my second baby because my first son was falling. So I basically was going to sacrifice the second to save the first. Kinda like a Sophie’s choice situation right? Not really, the toddler was just falling off a chair and would have been fine while I dropped a 3 month old to the ground.

    Confession 2: I thought I left my son at the store. I freaked out. My husband had taken him out of the car without my knowledge. I was so sure I had left him at the store. I cried for an hour after finding out the truth.

    If you find you are crying a lot and having feelings of inadequacy all the time please seek help. Post partum depression is a real thing and not to be taken lightly. It is not something you have to “struggle through” to be a “good mum”

    Reply
  121. Anna Miller

    I’ve had two major slow motion baby falling moments. The first involved my 7 month old son managing to twist of out of my arms and dive head first onto our kitchen slate tiles. It was horrific I was certain he’d cracked his skull with that one. The second was when Andrew (baby’s name) managed to climb halfway up the stairs because I had left the stair Gate open. He was standing waving to me and I did the worst thing possible. I panicked, then he panicked and fell in slow motion. I was certain that this time I wasn’t going to beat lucky as last time but he survived unscathed apart from a rather nasty looking black eye.
    Amanda, thank you so much for writing this song. I am really struggling with motherhood just now. I have some health issues that make it harder to manage than it already is and I feel that it isn’t fair on my baby to have had him. I feel I fail him daily even if he is my joy in this life.
    Listening to your snapshot of motherhood reminded me that I am not alone and that we all struggle because being a parent is the hardest thing we will ever do.
    p.s. I cried too

    Reply
  122. The Cemetery Dreamer

    I’m not a mother and I’m unlikely to become one. I have however spent more time around babies and toddlers than I ever thought I would since meeting my boyfriend and his giant family – 3 babies born since I met him, and another 3 on the way!

    I’ve got pain in my back this week and every twinge seems to take me back to the moment I fell down the stairs carrying a toddler. We had one of his sisters staying with us and her youngest was barely 2. When she wanted to go downstairs she used to sit at the top and wait for a passing adult, then stretch her arms up to be carried down. We used to count the steps as we went down to help her learn numbers. I got to step 6 on the bend and then the combination of no carpet and fluffy socks saw my feet slide out from under me. Next thing I knew I was lying in the hall, having somehow shifted her from my hip to my chest. I was holding her so tight one of my buttons had left a red mark on her forehead. That red mark and her silently shocked face will haunt me forever. Then her mum came running and we both started to cry. One small red mark that faded in minutes and she was fine. I was bruised and had a huge scab forming on my back where my bra had dug in as I bumped down every step, but mostly I was in shock. I’m still not sure if I was more shocked that I had fallen or that I had managed to cradle her – having previously believed that I was entirely devoid of natural maternal instincts. I cried quietly for hours while my boyfriend slept. I didn’t kill the baby. A week later we were ‘watching her’ while she played in the garden with her brother and the seesaw tipped up knocking out one of her teeth… Despite the dentists insistence her adult tooth would grew through black because of the nerve damage it is fine and at 5 she has a perfect smile. We didn’t kill the baby.

    Somehow none of this has relieved my deep gut wrenching terror of children and accidently hurting them. His other sister moved in with us when her little one was 10 months old and stayed until she was nearly 3. I spent the entire time trying to avoid being left alone in the room with her in case she got hurt. Cooking was my greatest dread – hot appliance in open plan kitchen plus toddler… I would sneak downstairs at 10pm after they went to bed to make my dinner much of the time. What if that instinct I didn’t know I had failed to work a second time?

    Reply
  123. Jennifer

    This song is beautiful!
    A few weeks ago, my 9mo old girl rolled off the bed when I was out of the room. I came running when I heard the THUD – I found her face-planted on hardwood, crying her head off. It scared the s**t out of me! Mom-guilt is horrid… I cried and thought I must be the worst mother ever. But I’ve learned that every mom has a story like this! Surround yourself with this knowledge that you are not alone. The best thing we can do is learn and move forward. And always strap them in… trust me.

    Reply
  124. Redd Hynes

    This is so beautiful. I cried, it was hard not to.
    I have an almost 10 year old son named Ash. I’ve suffered from mental illness my whole life and always worried, hell I still worry, that I shouldn’t have had a child. From day one, I always told myself at the end of the day, no matter how beaten I felt, how much of a failure, Ash didn’t die, I did a good job. So I must admit that I laughed out loud when you got to that part.
    My Ash has fallen as a baby, out of bed (sleeping with us! Gasp!), off of chairs and couches. Did he die? Nope. He grew up to be so kind, gentle and an artist. I couldn’t have done as shitty as a job as I was and am convinced that I’m doing, if he has turned out so well. He isn’t perfect, but I haven’t fucked him up mentally or had him die on my watch yet, so I have to be doing something right.
    (Haven’t had coffee yet, so sorry not sorry about this mess)

    Reply
  125. Jennifer Darlington

    One of my twins, Hayleigh, fell off a chair onto her head when she was about the same age as Ash, she is now 15.5 (freshman in high school)and has had straight As since 6th grade, won the two highest humanitarian awards the school gives out last year, has been on student council since 6th grade, AND is super sarcastic, loves Dr Who and always has her nose in a book…unless her eyes are glued to her phone :)

    She turned out fine! If like to think the fall jiggled something loose and that maybe, just maybe made her who she is today (ha! That’s a lie I still feel guilty about it!)

    Now I feel bad because I mentioned she is a twin and have said nothing about the other, Hannah, she is a sweetheart! She would give you anything she owns if you told her you loved it (of course she tends to think other people will do this if she says she loves something of theirs!) she loves animals, and reading and has had a rough time making friends until this year because she is SUPER outgoing. Not everyone likes that, but she doesn’t mind!

    Now I feel even more guilty because I didn’t even mention my son ( but there wasn’t a pause like the lady in the song I just forgot to mention him until now because it wasn’t really relevant until now because my initial short comment was supposed to be about my one daughter falling off the chair…) Anyway, he is 14.5 (those .5s are important when they get older…remember that) he is a great thinker, asks crazy tough philosophical questions (since old enough to talk) he makes up great stories and illustrates them, his name is Sabastian.

    Wow that went waaaay longer than planned, now I’m worried there was a space limit on this comment thingy and I will have wrote all this out on my phone for nothing!

    Loved the pics! The best baby mom advice I can give is DEEP BREATHES! Love ya!

    Reply
  126. Simone

    dear amanda, quick note between breastfeeding and diaper change: thanks for this phantastic new THING! i love it!
    here three of my bad baby stories: as a baby my daughter fell into the actually not existing gap between her bed and my bed (floor was slippery and bed slid away) while sleeping, another time i left her in the car together with the car keys (old car, so it was locked and could only be opened with a second key, which my dad had to bring from not so near by. in the meantime, like half an hour, i tried to entertain her to not make her notice anything’s wrong – which of cause failed), and once i sat fire to our kitchen while making a diaper having switched on the wrong hot plate (and yes! i blame that to maternal amnesia! ;p)
    now for something completely different: baby karl, who is 2 weeks older than baby ash, says hello! please come to your favorite german city cologne again soon!! ;)

    Reply
  127. Juliest

    My daughter was one, and she and I were heading to my aunt and uncle’s lake camp for a family get together. I checked and double-checked google maps, and thought I had a good shortcut. I went in completely the wrong direction, and tacked an extra hour and a half on to our short trip.

    My sweet baby girl was becoming restless and frustrated – I was hoping she would have a nap on the drive because she really did need one, but she stayed wide awake. And then she started to cry. And I consoled her, and tensed, and drove. I was determined to get to this gathering. I wanted to see my family, I wanted my family to see my girl. And then she started to scream, and my whole body went rigid like I’d poked a screwdriver into an outlet.

    She had never traveled well as an infant, and we travel frequently. Me and my husband in the front, and usually no way to get in the back to drive with her, because of luggage (though I DID unbuckle and climb back once when there was less luggage, and no shoulder on the highway to pull over on to). I often sat sobbing in the front seat, longing to get back there, or for us to stop for a second, third, fourth, fifth time. But my husband -as new to babies as I was- thought CIO was good, and that stopping any more often than we did would teach our infant wrong. Even seeing my agonized tears, he didn’t fully understand the pain this caused me, and my raggedly tired, somewhat broken mind.

    That day she wasn’t hungry, or thirsty, or hot. Her diaper was clean, she was just tired. So she kept screaming, and I kept driving. I tried consoling, I apologized, I cried with her, but I kept driving. Her pitch changed to desperate.

    And then I screamed at her. I didn’t use words, but my language was crystal clear, and I heard myself fling every ounce of my pent-up sadness, anger, frustration, and contempt in one long, animal roar; At my beautiful, smart, wonderful, trusting, affectionate baby girl. My one and only. And now I had terrified her. And I was still driving, and I sobbed along with her, feeling guilt, and self-hate, and a sick, vile sense of self-satisfaction.

    She wailed, and we sobbed, until she fell asleep. And I kept driving. And I told no one. No one at the get-together had any idea of our harrowing journey through mini hell where Mumma turned into the devil. They only knew I went the wrong way, and we laughed about it. I didn’t even tell my husband later that night. No one ever knew. Looking back at the pictures of that day, you’d never know what I’d put us through to get there.

    Motherhood is hard. You’re certainly not alone.

    Reply
    • Lis_P

      I think nobody, not even the most affectionate fathers, can empathise with the way our babies’ crying will travel through every nerve in our bodies like a stream of red hot lava and put our mind out of working mode in a matter of minutes. It’s insane. There are no words, really.

      Reply
  128. luci_fer

    Lovely. Made me cry and I don’t even HAVE a kid. (I’m… still deciding if I want one at all. Which is kind of difficult as partner wants me to produce baby, like, YESTERDAY. He’s a bit older and broodier. There’s no pressure from him, apart from the pressure of him wanting it, y’know? I’m kind of waiting for when my body and mind align and say – yes! baby! now! but I dunno if it’ll ever happen)

    I think publix and and chapstick go together really well, too! (I don’t really ‘know’ US stores, aside from Walmart, but Safeway was also a UK supermarket chain at some point. Before it became Morrisons. So it’s also recognisable across the pond) But then again, pfft! If people don’t recognise it, let them google it to see what it means. They can work for it ¬.¬ (also I think the context makes sense of it).

    I was rushed to hospital a lot as a toddler, as I used to unfailingly eat the poisonous plants in the garden. My friend said she left her first born on the sofa while she was doing washing up, and he fell off and hit his head. She was terrified.

    Not a baby, but hey, our PM left his child in a pub and they only realized when they got home. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    Reply
  129. Lia Jepson

    I am loving the space for writing off the guilt. I have alot of those guilty stories but one instance that is more hilarious than anything in which I lost my one year old toddler in the house, only for couple of minutes, only to realise she had toddled her way into the understairs cupboard to play with the dried dog food. That stuff was like crack to her. And I had shut her in. I still remember my 4 year old burst into tears when we let her out as she actually thought we had lost her. Bless her heart. I on the other hand couldn’t stop inappropriately laughing which just resulted in my 4 yr old getting very cross at me and telling me I was a naughty mummy. The 1 year old was totally un-phased by the whole thing. I’ll leave the details of the guilt stories out but there have been a few emergency room visits due to cracked heads. There will always be a “I should have been watching” moment/s but the majority of us are doing and giving all that we have. If we all got out of the guilt race I’m sure parenting would be an even more beautiful thing than it already is .

    Reply
  130. vocabulauren

    My almost one-year-old rolled off the bed while we were sleeping a few months back. It was the most horrifying feeling in my whole life. I too, spend the next day examining her for a concussion or various broken bones. Also: grocery shopping will be much easier once he can sit unassisted and can sit in the designated baby area. You could always try a baby carrier? My daughter used to be covered in groceries too. The glares she gave me were hilarious. It gets easier. Keep on keeping on. <3

    Reply
  131. Jessica V

    My kid crawled off the bed at 7months, and I can still hear the sound when she hit the concrete floor face first. She’s now five. I suspect I’ll hear it for the rest of my days. She was fine, had a nice fat lip for the rest of the day but that was all. To make it even better, it happened on my birthday. Right before our first parents night out without baby.
    I also became an accidental shoplifter, because babies are overwhelming and and demanding and sleep deprivation doesn’t help. I’m happy to say, the shoplifting stopped once the kid started communicating better ;)

    Reply
  132. Sarah Maris

    I have a one year old, and a two year old…. Because we wanted to have our children close in age… Or we’re INSANE… Or both… Whatever. Life was nuts and exhausting and overwhelming BEFORE Jack got diagnosed with leukemia in September, and since then it’s just been this blur that we are trudging, soldiering through – all the while laughing at more and more morbid and inappropriate things. We’ve been transplanted from our home in Whitehorse to the Ronald McDonald house on the property of the Children’s hospital in Vancouver. We’ve lived here for six months, we’ve got three-ish more to go. We have to buy groceries every day because we share a fridge with so many other people and there’s not a lot of room to store things – I inadvertently steal a lot of produce these days – and Jack has become an accessory so that’s even worse I think. At least you don’t have Ash committing your Theft Under $5000 on your behalf! Most days while we’re pushing the boys through the grocery store, Jack decides there’s something that he needs to have now…. And before all of this I would have been a reasonable mom and said’ “no” and kept moving, but now it’s like “Christ, you’re a cancer patient, I’ll give you anything if there’s an off chance you’ll eat it.” So I pass him the apple of the carrot or the banana or whatever as we make our way through the store fully intending to pay for it on the way out…. Hardly. Ever. Happens. At least half the time I end up at “home” pull him out of the stroller to find some limp vegetable stuck to his butt that ends up in the bin…. Second confession… I don’t ever feel all that guilty.
    They’ve both been dropped (though not by me – yet – but that’s only because I’m actually a super hero under this exhausted, dishevelled mother disguise.)
    They’ve both lay in bed screaming at night while I’ve cried tears of frustration and anger and exhaustion and cursed them under my breath.
    Oh and the other day, I found Sawyer teething on a bottle of hand sanitizer. The lid was closed still, wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t happened to look over at that particular moment.
    But at least they haven’t died!
    Motherhood is a trip.
    Thanks for writing this Amanda xo

    Reply
    • MarshmellowTerrorist

      Your exhausted, disheveled mother disguise is beautiful and you are kickin ass, lady. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise <3

      Reply
  133. RiverVox

    A friend of mine once pushed his son in the stroller onto a subway car, then got stopped by a train official on the platform, the door closed and the train left with the baby on it. My friend jumped onto the tracks and started running down the tunnel after the train, somehow avoiding being electrocuted by the third rail. He was rescued. The train went to the next station, baby and father were reunited. (You may remember this Amanda, it was about 2002 in Cambridge, between Harvard & Central I think.)

    Reply
  134. Heather Minter

    This song came along at a perfect moment. My kids are older (8, 6, 6) but I have many, many stories of fucking up and almost killing them. I was JUST telling them this morning about how their abuela saved Zoe’s life by bringing her tea and found her stuck between the mattress and bed rail (when she should have been in a crib but we didn’t have one and thought she was secure and we were having sex which we hardly got to do because I was living with his parents and helping them run a restaurant because mothers gotta do and he had Maya back at home). But that was seven years ago (they’ll be seven this year). And now I still fuck up. But as we say in massage school “Someone got a massage and no one died.” But today someone did die. My friend’s husband had a heart attack. And the hospital had sent her home because he was stable so she wasn’t even there and it’s been a year since her other friend’s husband (my neighbor) died from falling down the stairs. So when we say “the baby didn’t die” it’s a real fucking mircle and amazing. You sing out what we’re all feeling and the rawness of being human. Thank you. I needed this. And because one can not say this enough to someone, “You are doing an excellent job. I love you.”

    Reply
  135. Molly

    After having a c-section and still being in the hospital, I was left in my room alone with my son for the very first time. (They don’t let you stay with your baby alone after a c-section until you can get out of bed yourself.) I was sitting in a chair and rearranging my new baby in my arms and he slipped and briefly tumbled head first out of my arms. I caught him before he was out of my lap, but…. my heart stopped. The moment still crosses my mind often and with much guilt. My son is now 3. My husband doesn’t even know that happened.

    Reply
  136. Stefanie Lukacs

    Oh god. When my son was just around 2, my husband and I decided to eat at a local Chinese buffet. I had a plate for my son of all kinds of things to try, one of them being a piece of chicken. You know the kind, you usually dip it in the red sweet and sour sauce. I’ve always been freaked out about the choking. Hate the sound, hate the sharp stab of fear that shoots through your heart. But on this day, my diligence of micro managing food pieces and their size appropriateness slipped. He took a big bite. And skipped chewing straight to swallowing. I cringe as I remember this every time. As everything happened so fast and so slow, I watched and heard the choking sound and my first thought was, “He’s going to die.” I think I first tried to fish it out with my finger but it was too far back. My husband grabbed him from the highchair, pulling him through the straps and gave him the Hiemlich Maneuver. The chicken came up, I took my son and walked outside, clinging to him and crying. My poor husband, I abandoned him there with a restaurant of people staring at us, lol. I came back inside to people asking if he was alright, that they were scared too, half smiles and nervous laughter. We paid and left, obviously not hungry anymore. Never have I felt so awful, horrified, terrified, sad and happy in such a short time while bouncing between each emotion. That has been the worst moment of my life. But Jesus freakin’ Christ at least he did not die.

    Reply
  137. Katriena Knights

    Once I was putting my son into his snowsuit and I pulled on the waist to pull it up. His feet left the ground and he tipped backward and smacked his head on the floor. There was a lot of crying. He’s 22 now and seems undamaged by the experience. And another time I LOCKED him in the car by accident… Fortunately we were in the garage at the time. I had to call a locksmith to get him out. The whole time we waited, I tried to tell him how to get out of his carseat and unlock the door, but he didn’t seem particularly interested. (I don’t think he was quite 2 at the time.) In any case, both my kids made it to adulthood relatively unscathed, so there’s that. Also, both those blankets are crocheted, just for an FYI. :-) I knit. I admire people who can crochet, because for some reason all I can do in that area is single crochet in circles. And make granny squares.

    Reply
  138. Sugarpucker

    Amanda, I don’t know if you will even see this since you get so many comments, but I had to try. I would like to begin by saying I am not a fan of yours. That sounds bad. I don’t mean I don’t like you I mean that I don’t know you. I am not part of your fan base. I am a Neil gaiman fan and had not heard of you until you guys got together. This sounds mean too. Ugh. I read your book and I liked it. I thought it was very good. I don’t necessarily agree with you on all your thoughts but it’s clear that you really believe them and the book was well written. Your passion and art were clear in it. So why am I telling you this? I am telling you this because I want you to know that I am not from Camp Amanda. You have many loyal fans who are from Camp Amanda who think you are awesome no matter what. I want you to know, that’s not me. I want to tell you, as a fellow mom who is not a fan of yours(I mean this in the non-bitchy way), you are doing fine! I send you hugs and mom support. Babies are hard and scary. It is stressful having to keep them alive. No one tells you this when you get pregnant. They should. ‘At least the baby didn’t die’ is the perfect war cry. The fact that you are worried about fucking up, trying not to, and learning from when you do is enough. You are downgrade great, momma. Keep it up. Xoxo

    Reply
  139. Karin Masden

    I noticed you because of Neil, whose books I have read, because of a yen for perfume that is collected by many people who also read Neil. I saw your pictures and I thought you were interesting or odd and didn’t investigate much further. In addition, I had heard of the Dresden Dolls. I never was very musical and never really paid attention. I’m going to guess at this point I sound awful. Its not my intention and I do already feel guilty but I think you’ll understand. Anyway, the point of this is that I stumbled upon this because of Neil. I’m an extremely impatient person and was not inclined to watch anything, especially from someone I had not thought i was interested in, for any amount of minutes over maybe 1 or 3. I started to skim through your words. I noticed where you said i must watch first and despite being a little bit of a rebel and generally too curious to not investigate further and follow the instructions, I clicked on play. It didn’t work. I clicked a lot. I clicked all over in case it would open up bigger and just start playing. I’m a technical idiot despite being a technical writer. It’s ironic but it’s true. I’m probably using ironic wrong, sorry. Anyway back to the point, it finally played huzzah, and I love you. Every single thing you said, I mean sung, spoke to me. And your words, and your pictures. I don’t know what you normally sing and do, well except stand in a wedding dress in city streets I did see that, and I will now go search you out and listen to you, but the point is you seriously touched my soul by being so real and honest. You are singing and talking about what we think, but everyone is too scared to say it out loud, too afraid to let everyone else know that they’re normal, but there are a million people out there that have done something everyone else would scorn or judge. It’s not just the things that happened that we can all relate to, it’s your ability to recognize all the feels about it and tell us about them. Telling us about your guilt, your fear, your sadness, your frustration, your apathy, your passion. All the feels everyone stuffs down. I feel like we are sisters. Thank you for sharing, I’m a new fan. For the record, I have forgotten my baby (now 25, he didn’t die!), lost one in a grocery store, had a motorcycle fall on my two year old (looked away and it fell perfectly encasing him in a curvature instead of crushing him), among many other ghastly innocent but guilt inducing lapses because I should have been better. But you are right, my babies didn’t die! And then my lovely 19 year old nephew did, just five months ago, and I long to be able to say he didn’t. Breathe your son in deeply, and keep singing and talking and sharing and imprinting every feel. Thank you Amanda.

    Reply
  140. wil329

    When my son was about two months old, I badly needed to take a shower (because showering when you have a baby kind of goes out the window). I was living in a loft at the time, and the washing machine/dryer was in the bathroom. So I put him in a laundry basket on a flat surface (where we folded laundry), and I jumped in the shower for what I thought would be five minutes tops, and about two minutes in, I heard him wailing. And he had rolled over in the laundry basket, which caused it to fall off of the flat surface, and he and the basket ended up on the ground (tiles, so, yeah), and he was wailing, and I held him (soaking wet, water in the shower still running), and I was convinced that he had a concussion and would die if I let him fall asleep, so I kept him up as long as I could, but he fell asleep, and I watched him sleep because I was convinced he had a concussion and would die, but then he woke up and I promised to never again put him in a laundry basket and today he is nearly 8 1/2 and I have never put him in a laundry basket — although I think today he would probably like it, tumble and all.

    Reply
  141. Andra Alex

    I loved this! I cried with everybody in the story…You are a good mom and a magnificent human being!

    Reply
  142. Anna Junková

    I love the song! I cried and I laughed and thoroughly enjoyed it. My mom keeps telling the story about how she dropped her newborn nephew and for many years I thought it is something really awful that doesn’t happen to anyone. I thought my mom was the only person who has ever dropped the baby. It wasn’t until my friends started to have babies that I understood it is perfectly normal, it happens to everyone, but it still traumatizes people a great deal. I don’t have a child but I dropped a puppy once, right on his head and I heard a silent crack sound. The puppy was completely fine but I cried for an hour feeling like the worst person in the whole world. But at least the puppy didn’t die. Thank you for the song and your general awesomeness.

    Reply
  143. LincolnX

    When I was six months old my sister dropped me on my head on a concrete porch. Today I am a neuroscientist studying brains. My sister jokes with me and says that I owe my abilities to her. I always say, “but… just think of what I COULD have been if you hadn’t damaged my brain…” Laughter ensues.

    It all words out. Kids are made of rubber for a reason. Thank you for the art.

    Reply
  144. Frankie Bat In A Rocket

    <3 my dad was left in a car as a baby and he got pretty badly sunburned. He's fine (well…"fine" might not be the right word but you know ;) ). I love this song and the footnotes and Ash and. life. <3

    Reply
    • Frankie Bat In A Rocket

      oh and I fell off my rocking horse when I was a bit older than a baby & broke my head (icr whether my mum said I was unsupervised or not) and I’m pretty ok :) And once when my cousin was a baby, I accidentally whacked her head into a door frame and she’s even better than me!

      Reply
  145. Andshegoesdown

    I don’t have children, but here’s my story, which I only know because mom actually wrote all of these things on a notebook! Please do, it’s hilarious to read these things as an adult.
    I was 4 months old and I was in bed with dad, who was supposed to watch over me…. But he fell asleep pretty much instantly. An hour later, mom heard a loud noise, she went to the room to find my dad still sleeping in bed and me… Nowhere to be found. I had fallen between the bed and the wall! And dad didn’t even wake up with the noise. Apparently mom was really mad at him, mad enough that she wrote about it on her notebook, but it soon became a “remember that time when…” moment :)

    PS: I didn’t die!

    Reply
  146. Monica Lenk

    I’m not a mother, and as a person without a baby, I appreciate you for handing yours to strangers! A fairly new acquaintance once handed over their baby to me, justifying that he would probably not mind with the warning: “babies can sense fear” (I was not afraid, so we were fine)

    Reply
  147. Karly

    Ok I have one more confession that I haven’t told anybody, not even my baby’s father… Just a couple weeks ago I was making dinner and my 18 month old was strapped into her highchair next to me as I chopped veggies up. I stepped away to wash my hands, taking a little longer than I probably should have and when I got back I saw my baby holding the GIANT and VERY SHARP knife I was just using. I thought I had placed it on the table out of her reach but apparently it wasn’t far enough and she managed to reach over and grab it. The sound that came out of my mouth was unlike anything that I’ve ever heard anyone make in the history of the planet…kind of a cross between a gasp, a gulp and a squeal mixed with the feeling you get when your heart, brain and lungs want to explode. Meanwhile there is my baby just sitting there wielding a knife almost as big as her with the biggest smile on her face, waving it at me with pure pride at what she had done. Needless to say I managed to extract the blade from her and then I proceeded to check every inch of her body to make sure she didn’t cut herself (she hadn’t). Then and only then did I finally allow myself to breath again… but at least she didn’t die, right? :)

    Reply
  148. Maike

    I wish I could have my baby back.
    And I love, love, love all your stories about your babies. It´s a little bit like I could have all those stories too. Lovely stories, sad stories, lively stories. Thank you all. Thank you Amanda.

    Reply
  149. raven1star

    I also do the grocery store thing of putting the carrier in the grocery cart and placing groceries on top of/around the baby. I find it both funny and disconcerting when I have bread and tortillas stacked on top of her.

    Reply
  150. Mary

    Just cried and laughed listening to this while nursing my one month old son – thanks for an honest portrayal of new motherhood and how daunting, terrifying, and awesome it is. You are doing a wonderful job, Mama.

    Reply
  151. Jacquelyn Frost

    You weren’t kidding about listening in a quiet place. The first chance I got to listen was actually this morning at work, while pumping milk for my baby. It’s a quiet time for me, since I get to close my office door and get some private time for myself with my cow machine. So I listened. And I was happy for that closed door, because I cried. I cried because this describes much of the last six months of my life since my daughter was born. I cried because I wanted to reach through the music and hug you. To get a hug.

    One time, when I was driving home alone-with-the-baby in the rain and in the dark, my daughter just lost it – she was very suddenly and very loudly hungry. I kept trying to get home, but the traffic just got worse and worse. I pulled off the highway and parked on the side of a road behind a parked semi, moved to the back seat, and tried to nurse her. But my car’s overhead light sucks, so it was basically in the dark. She was little – maybe 2 months? 3 months? – and still not so good with the latching, and we both were tired, frustrated, and we cried and cried. Eventually she settled down, but as I pulled away to find my way back to the freeway, I was still crying because my heart hurt. By the time I got home, though, she was sleeping. She was fine. She didn’t die.

    The feels were strong too because you mentioned Sarasota… my grandparents lived there until this past year when they passed away, at 85 and 83. Within 2 months of each other. I was 6.5 months pregnant when my grandfather died, and I traveled to Florida from California for his funeral feeling sad and guilty for the selfish wish that he could have stayed with us a little longer to meet his first great granddaughter. By the time my grandmother passed away, I was too pregnant to fly, and that left me with more guilt. Always say I love you, because you never know.

    This is all a rambling way of saying thank you. And I see you.

    Reply
  152. Valerie

    Wish a song could be written about a lesbian stepmother with no children of her own, but loves their mother and then as my own children.

    Reply
  153. Larissa Greeno

    I only just got to listen so am a bit late to the parade. You know what I always think whenever a mother tells stories of how she thinks she f’kd up.. “there but for the grace of God”. I’ve left my babies in the car when I’ve popped into the shop (though not forgotten them but OMG I can see how easily that could happen). I’ve fallen down the stairs with a baby in my arms. My husband forgot to strap our little girl into her car seat when it was on the floor and she nose dived out of it. All we can ever do is our best. And hope our best is good enough and that we don’t screw them up too much.

    Personally I think to be able to juggle what you do with a baby is an amazing thing. And I am sure it must be very hard sometimes. But also.. what a wonderful upbringing!? Much love to you. Awesome mother xx

    Reply
  154. Katie Whitney

    So after my daughter was born, every time I picked up a kitchen knife, or put the blender blades in the dishwasher, or used a pair of scissors, I’d have this horrific daymare of the sharp blade impaling her. Blood, so much blood. 911. If she survived, then her getting taken from me. If not, then the worst, of course. And the deep grief would visit me briefly, and I’d weep while I chopped an onion. I feel like these horror fantasies, that even now (4.5 years later) still crop up, played some role in helping me keep her safe even when I was so ridiculously sleep deprived. But they also just felt like part of this new mindscape of mothering–a seriously lonely place, in spite of all the massive heart-expanding joy, that frequently manifested in early postpartum dreams as a city with no people. I guess what I’m trying to say is, at 11 minutes, your song is too short.

    Reply
  155. Brender

    I’m so glad you are getting so much love for all the things that happen as a new parent that just fucking happen. I fell down the stairs while holding my infant and landed on her. This same kid rolled off the changing table and hit her head on the freckin diaper pail on the way down. I wore my second baby in a sling for so long that I barely remember what he looks like from birth to 10months. One day, in the car, I noticed that the button on my skirt went missing – when I got out of the car to get the baby, the button was in his mouth and he was choking on it. I had to do the infant Heimlich to dislodge it. You are doing a great job as a new mom. I really admire your desire to not give up the things you love because you have a wee one now. It took my 40th birthday to roll around for me to realize that I should be going out, making friends and having fun – just like my kids.

    Reply
  156. deva

    Thank you Amanda. I wrote this last year about the hell of having a sick baby and asking for help. Wanted to share with you and everyone here.

    A Stream of Thought from my Vulnerable Self

    So, facebook asks “What’s on your mind?”. I should have written “Please help me, please please help me”…

    Because the morning before I was sitting at my kitchen table screaming and crying and shaking and my big girl and husband were trying to comfort me but I just kept shaking and crying and screaming and my thoughts were all a big mess before me…not straight thoughts, curly thoughts , crookedly jaggedly hopping about not making any sense. All I could finally make sense of was that I needed help. Because the night before my baby was up crying and screaming and vomiting for three hours straight and the night before that and the night before that and the night before that and… And and and the doctors say she’s ok as long as she has fluids but in the days she won’t sleep and she wont let me sleep or eat or drink . And I need to drink.

    “Dry-drated”. Dry-drated is when you are dehydrated but your baby is as well, so you are glued to the couch and she is sucking you dry… and you desperately want to help her but you also desperately don’t want to be dry-drated any more.

    And so that night before the shaking, I am holding my baby and rocking back and forth and we are both crying louder than each other and she is screaming in her head “Mommy, please help me” and I am screaming out loud “God please help me God please help me God please help me” over and over again. Even though I still don’t even know for sure who or what God is to me.

    So, “What’s on your (curly, jumbled, exhausted, dry-drated) mind”? I should have written “Please help me, please please help me”. But people knew and they helped us anyways. And my family from afar and people I have only met less than a handful of times helped me and I am thinking “Why, I don’t deserve it” and I don’t even know what to say except “Yes Please” and “Thank you”, which is all I have because my mind is still not quite straight. But thank you doesn’t feel enough so I hope that they will forgive that I don’t know how to (and I don’t have the energy to) fully express my gratitude quite yet.

    And so today I am looking after myself and answering to no-one, not no-body, not no how. I’m going slowly and I am re-hydrating every part of me and I am ignoring the dishes and the laundry laundry, never ending laundry. I want to enjoy my own company and also my big girl and husband and other people again… But not today. Today what’s on my mind is me.

    Reply
  157. Christina Mitchell

    You are going to have good and bad days- being a mom is one of the hardest and best jobs that you’ll never be thanked enough for. You are doing a good job, believe this. Things get better and more fun as your little one gets older. -hang in there.

    Reply
  158. jenny

    I love my son more than anything, and I’m embarrassed (afraid?) to admit this… sometimes I think the best thing I could have done for him is not to have had him.

    Reply
  159. Caity Smith

    From someone whose mom pretended it wasn’t hard, and didn’t get honest, I am so fucking moved by this and bawled the whole time, inhabiting a child who felt like you were singing to her, and a woman who felt like you were singing for her. i feel like you’re singing for a lot of people, and when i do have kids please know i will be thinking of you and drawing strength from you. and the thoughts at the end, should i have a baby, even if you didn’t have those thoughts, i still think its totally normal to think that, because how can you not fuck up on some level? and who wants to do that? no one. But there is no perfect mother the best we can do is be honest about the fuckedupness. and then we can see the beauty in the imperfection. it’s crazy to have your life shift so dramatically and to have this one sole focus (at least the baby…) come back over and over, it’s like a total rewiring of the brain, and what an amazing experience but messy, and so much strength in artfully expressing this experience…
    <3 <3 <3 thank you.

    Reply
  160. HollyElise

    Yep, crying.
    When I was pregnant with my son, I had to go to prenatal check-up alone-with-a-toddler and she fell asleep on the drive there and transferred to her stroller without waking up but the midwife I was seeing was busy and we ended up waiting in the waiting room forever and my daughter woke up (and for reference I’m 6+ months pregnant in this scenario) and was totally melting-down-sobbing-miserable and NONE of my usual tricks worked and I kept trying and trying and felt like everyone else in the waiting room was staring and judging (as you do, but worse when you have major anxiety like myself) so I went to the bathroom and stood there holding my sobbing child on top of my giant baby-belly and started crying too.
    It was awful.
    It was possibly my lowest mother-moment, all that was running through my head was “I HATE THIS I HATE THIS I CAN’T DO THIS”.
    And then this also-pregnant lady came into the bathroom too, and she’d been watching me across the waiting room, and she gave me a big hug and held my daughter and calmed her down while I washed my face and calmed myself down and then a nurse came in and said the midwife was ready to see Angel Lady, who told her to take me first. And I never got her name but I know she had four sons already and she put “Breathe” essential oil on my wrists and gave me another hug before I went to see the midwife with my now-calm daughter.
    And I wish I knew her name.
    Rght now my daughter, who is four now, and my son (almost two) both playing together quietly and creatively and when we go places people always strike up conversations with my precocious daughter and play peek-a-boo with my son and I’m trying to be Angel Lady to other mothers. Because everyone needs that person who says “You are doing fine, and everything is going to be fine” and “at least the baby didn’t die.”
    Thank you, Amanda.

    Reply
  161. constancef

    chuckling in recognition of that new baby haze, even though mine was a long time ago, I can still remember it felt like wading through treacle. x

    Reply
  162. Kristin

    We all have a story, we are not alone. Thanks for this. My daughter was around 20 months and had begun protesting being buckled into the stroller. Since we live downhill from most everything, I decided to not make this a battle (we have to choose battles wisely at this age) and let her sit freely during all of our uphill commutes. One day as we were heading home from the sitters (downhill mind you but I really couldn’t handle a tantrum on this day and let her go unbuckled) she began singing her favorite, ‘wheels on the bus’, hand gestures and all and when she got to her favorite part “the people on the bus go up and down” she stoop up! She stood up while going downhill unbuckled in the stroller and proceeded to do a forward flip landing directly on her forehead on the cold, solid sidewalk. She screamed like I never heard before and I was freaking out. I live in France and don’t speak the language well, do I call emergency? what the fuck do I do?? Luckily there was a pharmacy across the street and here in Europe the pharmacy is the next best thing to a doctor and the sweet old Chinese lady who owns the shop calmed me down and assured me that children were much tougher than they appear; they are not easily broken. And she was right. A little blood and some bruising and 10 minutes later she was singing again. This time buckled. But I’ll sure as hell never forget. Parent PTSD is real.

    Reply
  163. Kristen Pilcher Siemens

    Thank you for making me cry, I think I needed it. I’ve done all of these things with my two boys. They’re 6 and 3 now and every night as I lay down I think, “Well, the boys didn’t kill themselves today nor did they force me to kill them. So I guess we’ll call that a success.”
    Keep being strong for your self and your beautiful little boy. And keep making art for your self and thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.

    Reply
  164. Sonja Newcombe

    Ah, the mum guilt and fear of judgement. All-too familiar. Especially the “leaving them in the car” bit. I have two, who’re 4 months and 2 years. They don’t come in with me when I pay for petrol because it’d take me 3x as long.

    Chin up, you’re doing great! :)

    Reply
  165. Mandi Blahey

    My husband and I listened to this (loudly) last night, more than once :) Thank you for making real all those moments when I was sure I scarred my kiddo for life (he fell off a dryer, a couch, cracked his head open on a speaker, ate dogfood) and for all those moments now, since his hospitalization and recovery, that I realize that we can only try. Try to keep them safe, try not to go crazy while doing it. The message I got from that song? We LOVE them, and that’s the most important thing we can do. Love them, let them know it, and let the rest happen, as life does <3

    Reply
  166. Cam

    I envy all of you. So much. When I was pregnant, my guy started changing..he got violent..controlling..manipulative..he kept me from my friends..he told me how ugly and useless I was..he sent me to the ER twice while I was pregnant because he hit me or threw me and both times the baby stopped moving..
    Anyways..baby came..I was alone with screaming baby and screaming violent guy..finally the socialworker stepped in and removed my son..I was heartbroken..but I stayed with my guy still..it took a year and an amazing therapist to finally make me realize that I was worth something..and that he was not.
    My kid lives with my parents which I am so grateful for..I know what kind of people they are..I know how loving they are..and I get to see my son a few times a week and some weekends I get him home..
    But I am fighting so hard to get him back for real..the socialworker is vague and really doesn’t tell me what it is I need to do to prove myself..

    I’ve missed out on all of those small things..being all dizzy..putting groceries on my kid in his stroller..bumping his head..I never had those horrible moments..and I was supposed to..I wanted all moments..good or bad..

    But I can only try to look forward..and with a new amazing guy by my side (whom my son adores..and who adores my son) I can actually see a brighter future..

    But I’ll never get those missed moments back..be happy you have those moments..All these small moments every day..

    Thank you for an amazing song Amanda..It made me cry..
    Thank you for being real and honest and so human.. <3

    Reply
    • Antoinette

      I am so sorry you didn’t get to experience those moments. I think they should have removed your ex instead of the baby. I hope you get him back soon. I’m glad you’re with a good guy now!

      Reply
  167. Brandy Brouillard Lilly

    We are all making this parenting shit up as we go. My son has survived our parenting and is now 10. I don’t know how we got here. I don’t remember why every single decision was made as if the world hung in the balance those first few weeks but the weight of that was so exhausting. You and Neil are genuinely good people. You will raise a genuinely good person. Hang in there. It won’t necessary get easier, but it will change and it’s wondering and terrifying. Hugs. So many hugs. All of the hugs.

    Reply
  168. samantha

    When my daughter was 6 months old, she fell asleep mid-afternoon on the couch….a rare thing because even then, she was a creature of habit and would only sleep in particular places. I welcomed this sleep session because it gave me an unexpected moment to myself, something that didn’t happen very often. I took advantage of the quiet and walked out to the the deck and for 30 seconds, had a moment all to myself….30 seconds, 30 seconds is all it took for her to wake up and roll off the couch. I heard the thud. I will always hear that thud. When I ran over to her, all I could see was blood…everywhere. She wasn’t crying, she was just bleeding and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. I rushed her to the hospital, blood all over her, all over me, imagining the worst case scenario….did she break something, did she have brain damage, was CPS going to take her away.? Turns out, she tore her frenulum….until that day, I had no idea what a frenulum was..not the name anyways…it’s that weird piece on tissue inside the upper lip that seems to serve no purpose. No purpose it seems, except to bleed…and scare the crap out of me, and make sure I would never, ever, leave her on the couch alone again. Ever. She’s 10 now, a healthy, happy 10. My mistakes didn’t kill her. Have those 10 years since that ‘couch roll’ been accident free? No way….she’s an adventurous kid, and I’m an imperfect mother who is trying to navigate this whole motherhood thing.

    Reply
  169. Heather McGuirk

    Oh Amanda, Every Mom has done a million, million things like this. I didn’t even leave the room, I was just putting on a bra and Tris rolled over for the very 1st time… and rolled straight off the couch! At least the baby didn’t die. :( The time I had the worst day in the world, so stressed and crazy, isolated all the time and we were potty training and he peed his outfit for what seemed like the 20th time that one bad day and I snapped and asked him why he was “so stupid” … my innocent little lamb, who had done nothing wrong at all, I just had nothing left… I could tell you so many stories, I have 3 of the buggers, 2 have made it all the way to adulthood (yay! didin’t die!) Tris is now 13 years old and such a well-adjusted kid who knows he is loved to pieces and always has been, despite the times I’ve snapped at him or told him “Hurry up!” when I should not have. *HUGS* We all make many, many mistakes, and if we’re lucky we get to sing your beautiful song. <3 <3 <3

    Reply
  170. ameyknits

    When my older son was under a year, we were driving home from my mom’s house (~2 hours). The drive took us on I-84 in NY thru the spot where there are prisons on both sides of the highway and strongly worded signs warning you to not stop on the highway at those points. While Thing 1 had been happily playing or sleeping for much of the ride, he became inconsolable when I was near this section. He was hysterical, I was panicked, and I pulled over. I started nursing him and a State Trooper materialized in moments. We had a brief talk, he sympathized (his wife was home with twin 9 month olds), said he’d give me 10 minutes and let other officers know I was there. He left and I panicked that there would be a prison break, I’d get carjacked, and that Trooper would think I’d lied to him. 3 minutes later, ANOTHER officer shows up and is NOT sympathetic. I MUST leave NOW. I put my confused baby into his carseat where he begins screaming again and drive off. I debate checking in to a hotel 20 minutes from my house if it means I can stop the car and never get in it again. I cursed all those people who said, “Oh, they can’t cry forever” – they’ve clearly never been in a car with a crying baby.

    I think my emotional low point was just before I was diagnosed with PMDD. My boys were older (8 and 11?) and were bickering and complaining and not getting anything done (we were homeschooling) and all I could do was cry. I cried like all day long and considered calling CPS to see if they’d just come take them for the day so I could be alone. I just needed to be ALONE for an HOUR. I should’ve called my people, but I was way far down. Over and over I thought about CPS. The next day I called my doctor. I now have better living thru chemistry.

    Reply
  171. Luis Shmoo

    holy crap, that song was so powerful, I am a guy who’s going to hug his mom today and thank her for all the struggles she might have gone through, thanks for this!

    Reply
  172. rockch

    Thank you. We all needed this. I left my 6 month old bub on my bed while I ran the bin out in a panic as I heard the truck coming up the road in the morning. Only to hear, with horror, my front door shut behind me. I spent ten minutes screaming in my pyjamas in the rain trying to smash my own front door in with my fist/a plant pot/a plank of wood/anything whilst my elderly neighbour called the fire brigade. They opened my door and I ran in full of dread but he was just giggling on the bed.

    Reply
  173. Laura West

    I’m studying Creative Writing in college right now and focusing on poetry. In my poetry class right now, all of my poems have ended up being about motherhood somehow. I have an almost 5-year-old, an almost 2-year-old, and an almost 1-year-old (they all have March birthdays), but I almost never write about my kids. There is some more mom-guilt right there. Going to school and leaving my kids with my dad while I’m gone feels like I’m being a terrible mom. Every morning, when my son wakes up and needs me to feed him, I pretend I don’t hear him cry for a little while so that my husband will get him. I hate cooking, so I give my kids a lot of meals that consist only of cold cereal or string cheese. In summer, my kids are basically naked unless we go somewhere, because I’m way too lazy/tired to get them dressed. Every one of my kids has crawled off the bed multiple times when they were learning to crawl. We have hardwood in our bedroom, so they got big lumps on their foreheads. A couple months ago, my daughters found the iron and plugged it in and “ironed” their carpet. We’re lucky they didn’t burn themselves or set the house on fire. My husband and I were both home. We were napping. I could keep going, but I won’t. We all screw up. I screw up every day. But my kids are alive!

    Reply
  174. Oliver G. Smith

    I was that kid who was constantly getting hurt when I was young. I mother says I had no sense of danger. All within the first three or 4 years of my life, I jumped off a counter and almost bit my tongue off, jumped of a wall and face planted on a concrete slab breaking my nose, busted my chin open twice, and fell out of the top of a 20 ft tree. My mother definitely blamed herself for not being able to prevent these from happening, but somethings are unpreventable. Sure my mom made mistakes, but I truly believe she did the best she could as a single mother in raising my sister and I. Everyone is susceptible to making mistakes because we are human and not perfect. I think all you are can do is do your best because being a parent is hard and being a child is hard. I definitely resented my mom to some degree growing up, but I recognize now that she did the best she could. My sister and I are both well adjusted adults, though we were both not well adjusted adolescents. I think the biggest factor that makes my mom so great is that she has supported me and loved me unconditionally through everything. When I came out as being gay, when my depression hit the fan, when I was diagnosed with autism, and when I started my transition from being female-to-male, my mother never wavered in her support and showing me that she would always love me for as long as she could. I really think that is what matters.

    Reply
    • Strange Angel

      You sound like a perfect babyhood match to my son. In his first two years, he managed to get several stitches (on different occasions) from…
      -pulling a loose transformer off an almost-touches-the-ceiling shelf by catching the sheet we were using as a drape.
      -pulling a heavy crystal vase off the same shelf, this time by somehow managing to get ahold of a piece of cording (fabric, not electrical) and getting it around the vase, way up there.
      -doing an accidental backflip summersault off the high backend of a couch.
      -making a move we called “frog legs” while I was juggling him and groceries on my way through the front walk.

      Reply
  175. katmulkey

    There’s the time I tried to be so socially conscious with those cotton diapers needing safety pins. “This fabric is so thick” I said one day during the changing, it was suddenly so hard to push the pin. Then I realized I’d stuck it through a pinch of skin. We cried together.

    Reply
      • katmulkey

        Yep wee, helpless baby Unwoman. I still feel terrible about it. This is the exact pin. (I keep it with me to remind me to pay attention to what I’m doing; sometimes that strategy works.)

        Reply
        • Tom Steiger

          Oh you poor dear! It doesn’t seem to have done her any lasting damage. *hugs* to you both!

          Reply
      • alphatroll

        Thanks for catching the name, I totally missed it! If it WAS little Erica, she seems to have recovered quite admirably from the trauma of sharp metal objects piercing her skin… ;)

        Reply
  176. Megin

    Oh, Amanda – I love you so much for this. One minute into the song and I vividly remember the gut-wrenching slow motion moment when my little girl decided to do a dive off the bed and I wasn’t close enough to catch her. I think we’ve all done most of these (Also guilty of leaving her in the car for five minutes alone, and piling the baby high with groceries because those damn seats are so huge. Some carseats are made with a little divot in the bottom so when you open the seat on the front of the shopping cart the carseat will latch onto it. Give it a go!) Babies are springy and elastic for a reason – it’s because none of us are perfect, and Mother Nature took it into account. *huge hugs* You’re an awesome mom, because you care.

    Reply
  177. Amanda Whyte Donahue

    Thank you so much for writing this. You managed to capture how vulnerable and morbid I became once my baby got here. I never really understood what a serious mind fuck the whole thing is until I had my own little girl. It’s so easy to think you’re the only one feeling that crushing self doubt.

    My baby is 6 months old and I have made plenty of new mom mistakes. I dropped her, I’ve bumped her head on the car door frame, cut her finger when trying to trim her nails, let her put her face in the bath water WHILE I WAS SITTING RIGHT THERE… The other night I unevenly warmed her baby food without noticing. Pro tip, pureed carrots heat up faster than all other pureed veggies. I put the spoon in her mouth and she started screaming. It is super hard to look for blisters on the inside of a 6 month old’s mouth, especially if you are crying too. Rowan is fine, but I keep thinking about how I hurt her during one of her favorite activities. Eating has won out over distrust, but I swear she prefers to have her dad feed her since this all went down. Despite all of this, she is still alive and still chunky.

    Reply
  178. Strange Angel

    For you, Amanda, a copy of what I sent to my ex wife…
    We went through two “early self-termination” pregnancies before realizing her blood type and our guy’s were causing spontaneous rejection.

    “When you have almost 12 minutes and aren’t driving, I want you to listen to this…
    Why the no-driving? Tears. And feels. And listening to it in the undistracted quiet. And our daughter. And our son. And our two “almosts”.

    http://amandapalmer.net/amothersconfession/

    Reply
  179. Tanya Whittaker

    Thanks for being so honest .. I think too many new parents try to one up other new parents.. like it’s some competition on how well you can keep yourself together…. it’s hard.. damn hard….

    I had a non medicated birth at home… wanted to breastfeed but my milk never came in… and I had no idea because I’m a new mom.. but I was literally starving my baby for the first few days… to the point where he was so lethargic we had to keep putting cold clothes on his face to keep him awake while we made him drink formula… so devastating

    Lost myself and identify in being a new mom which was totally depressing… mourning my childless life… and finding myself again.. it takes awhile but I’m finally back.

    When our little guy was starting to walk we thought he was good to go.. until he was walking down the porch steps and tumbled down 3 onto pavement… augh. I know what you mean about the etched image…

    *high five* at least the baby didn’t die!

    Reply
  180. Molly

    My eldest son rolled out of my bed and onto the hard wood floor when he was a little baby… on two separate occasions, months apart. THWACK! Oh my god. He was FINE, both times. But still! And one time, when my younger kid was a newborn, I drove across town– upon arrival, I realized I’d forgotten to strap him into his carseat. He was just asleep there in his seat, loose and free. I still want to cry with shame and horror when I think about these incidents. Yikes.

    Reply
  181. lynnefavreau

    I had leftover white latex paint in a dented can. I got the brilliant idea to pour it into an empty milk gallon jug and left it on the kitchen table. My three year old daughter Eva, decided to be a big girl and pour herself a glass of milk. My husband walked in to the kitchen just as she was spitting it out. She then learned what a skull and cross bones is means and mommy learned not to put anything in food containers that wasn’t edible.

    Reply
  182. Kelly Bauer

    My youngest son had 2 concussions, before he was 2 years old. The first one happened because I forgot to pick up the bathtub rug and he slipped on it. It was totally my fault. The second one happened 1 week later when he knocked heads with his older brother, and since he was still healing from the first concussion, he was concussed… again. There is nothing that prepares you for watching your tiny baby get a cranial CT scan. Thankfully, he was fine and turns 4 in April. No more head injuries.

    Reply
  183. Sam McCrory

    Once, my parents left me on the roof of the car in my carseat and drove off. I’m still here, alive and thriving 21 years later. You’re going to be the light of that kid’s life, even with a few bumps and bruises. Trust me, people can do a lot worse to him. Love you, you’re already an amazing parent. Good luck to your family

    Reply
  184. ArleneJo

    I put my (4 month old) daughter down for a nappy change, forgot to grab a nappy and all of a sudden I hear this mix between a flop and a bang. I turn around, daughter’s on the floor. This was the first time “I” dropped her (I mean she fell, I didn’t drop her) and on the one hand I felt terrible, on the other hand I sort of couldn’t figure out if the flop sound wasn’t just extremely funny.
    Another time (this is maybe 6 months later), I walk towards the stairs, she kinda lurches out of my arms and bangs her head on the table we have in the hallway. Like, REALLY hard. This wasn’t a flop/bang, this was a FWOP. Ultimately she’s turning out alright (she’s 5 now).
    Since the table in the hallway and now, she’s fallen in the bathtub 8 times (hitting her head once, I was grabbing a towel, she was 3), in the shower 4 times, she fell down the stairs once, she fell out of bed I guess 30 times… The only time I felt sorta/kinda guilty, was when she was holding my friends’ newborn (2 weeks old) and she almost dropped him. She was sitting in a chair, put her arms down a little bit and the baby nearly toppled onto the concrete floor in their living room… I don’t feel bad when she gets hurt (not anymore, I did that until she was about 2 1/2). I feel bad FOR her, but yeah.

    Reply
  185. Laura Wood

    I love this. You’re doing so great. My son is 2 now. (When I met you at the London house party, I’d just found out I was pregnant.) He’s fallen multiple times: at one point in his babyhood he smacked his little head on the floor of a pub called The Slug and Lettuce as I turned to answer a question from someone behind me. He then went sleepy so I naturally freaked out and called an ambulance whilst sobbing. He was fine. Just tired. Toddlerhood is a new challenge. I never get to pee alone anymore. And the silences are very ominous. Recently he ate so much crayon that he quite literally shat a rainbow.

    Reply
  186. Brighton

    My horror stories thus far are entirely psychological. Being a new mom with depression makes coping a hardcore challenge. I have horrible nightmares about her getting injured. Seeing your own struggles and being able to support you as a Patron helps sometimes though. I *almost* got to fly down from Alaska to see the BC ninja-TED but it fell through at the last minute. Boo (but livestream, yay!)

    Like others who have commented here, I feel like I have lost myself and don’t know when she’ll be back. I eagerly watch your journey and try to have faith that my muse will return someday, perhaps when I’m less sleep deprived. And hopefully I don’t drop her in the mean-time. Baby just fell asleep nursing while listening to your song so thank you for that, and for sharing.

    Reply
  187. Jamie Wooley-Snider

    When you get to Anthony’s first birthday, you will be able to look at this beautiful little human being and breathe a little easier knowing that you managed to keep him alive for an entire year! After year one, life feels a little less periless, but still holds all of the excitement! Thank you for this beautiful song, it reminded me of the crazy/exasperating/beautiful/manic times that I’ve encountered as I became a mother

    Reply
  188. Tash

    My son is 4 years old and I’d honestly thought I’d finally gotten the hang of this parenting thing and gotten past the absent-minded/hormonal/sleep deprived mistakes. But then last week we forgot him at daycare. Well not quite forgot; my husband and I were both stuck at work and had no one else to pick him up. We both left at around the same time and somehow in the chaos and texts flying back and forth we both thought that the other one was picking him up. I got to the station and met up with my childless husband and realised what had happened. I’ve never run to that daycare centre so fast in my life. My husband followed behind me, laughing and trying to comfort me but I was in tears, I felt so guilty. I struggle quite a bit with guilt for having to take him to daycare while I work (I’m not really stay at home material, tried it and it was a terrible disaster) and then I’d gone and left him there. He was completely gone when we got there (about an hour late), he hadn’t even noticed. I bought him red rooster for dinner and held him so tight on the way home (much to his frustration). I don’t think it ever ends

    Reply
  189. Athena Nagle

    This is such a honest statement about what it is like to have a young baby, new parent or not.
    I was brought back to memories of being a new mother, 18, my daughter only weeks old, Halloween at the great grandmothers to hand out candy, when I realize I forgot to pack the bottles because my new daughter isn’t nursing well. We couldn’t take the drive back to the house, so grandma finds a department store just as they are closing to pick the supplies up.
    Baby #2, he is 4 months old, up all night crying, not nursing, refusing bottles, just crying, my hubby gets off the phone with the nurses, there is nothing anyone can say for he had no fever, I melted down. Placed him on the bed with his dad, then walked out of the house at 3am in my nightgown, I sat on the front steps and cried until I could not cry. When I came back inside, both my boys were fast asleep in our bed. I slept in my stepdaughters bed as she was at her mothers that night.

    It’s hard, and it doesn’t get much easier, but we know it’s how being human and living life works for everyone. We tend to forget others make mistakes when all we see is what others filter through the streams of social media. Thank you for sharing this with the world, and reminding me that I am only human trying to live my life to the best as possible just like everyone else.

    xoxoxox
    Athena

    Reply
  190. Annette Fox

    Hugs. I once locked myself out of my house with my 4 year old and 5 month old left inside. I had to have a firefighters come and bust the door open. I think we all go through some crazy things with our kids. They make wonderful stories as they get older. I have so many of those stories. My kids are now 14 and 10. They survived my crazy parenting so they didn’t die. :)

    Reply
  191. Jenny Rose

    When our twins were about 2 my husband fell asleep, and they had apparently figured out how to unlock our door, and were apparently tall enough to reach the button to open the garage and went out roaming the neighborhood with nothing but diapers on. And the neighbor that found them called the cops on us. And they managed to escape two more times before we baby-proofed the shit out of that door. …Our boys are now 5, and I hate to say, our failings and screw-ups continue, and we still don’t know what we’re doing most days! Thank you for this song. We can ALL relate.

    Reply
  192. mauiwong

    You are doing SO GREAT! I have boy/girl twins. THEY ARE EIGHT YEARS OLD! YAY FOR NOT DEAD!!!!!

    Reply
  193. Stephanie Susko

    When my 1st son was born, he co slept those first couple months so we got into a rhythm of nursing. One night, I was exhausted and he must have rolled right off of our bed (which was about 3 ft up). I woke up to him squirming and screaming. I cried for days because I felt so guilty. He went to his crib next to my bed after that. He’ll be 11 in June and he’s perfectly fine!
    With my second son, who was and still is a walking accident waiting to happen, has taken off running at 3 and fallen down concrete steps, jumped off his brothers top bunk bed which resulted in a busted up face, diving from a window to the couch but missing& cracking his cheek bone into the window seal ledge- all done when I walked out of the room to check on food for them. The worst happened on 4th of July. We were at my mom’s & Landon was 1.5, toddling about bear where me & my brothers were screwing around and setting up the bbq. He came up behind me, my brother pushed me as a joke, I lost my balance because Landon was behind me, tried to straighten up when he pitched forward and slammed into the propane tank for the bbq. He sliced open his eyelid and was screaming& bleeding and all I could think was I may have just blinded my child in this eye. While I cried, he screamed I cleaned his wound, patched it, then took him to the pediatrician the next day to make sure his eye was still working because everything was closed. His eye was fine and he just turned 7 and is still a non stop blur of motion on two feet.
    The guilt at times will always be there or you’ll wonder how you’re not going to completely screw them up but it gets better. And every day is new and a at to start fresh. Take care & may your family be at peace

    Reply
  194. Richard Cunliffe

    I left my baby daughter in the car whilst going to buy cigarettes, came back maybe three minutes later to find my car had been clamped and that the evil clamping people were sitting smugly in their van across the road. Despite my pleading/ranting/pointing out cute baby girl in back seat, they would only remove the metal monstrosity from the wheel upon payment of £70 (this was in London and I was technically parked, however briefly, where I should not be, so I had not a metaphorical leg to stand upon). It kind of felt like instant karma for my lung-destroying, baby-neglecting ways. On a brighter note, I gave up smoking shortly afterwards and my baby also didn’t die – she’s now twenty-one and they’ve been a really super-cool twenty-one years. Being a parent is great, Amanda; you should enjoy every moment of it

    Reply
  195. angela

    oh my goddess, i love this. so hilarious and sad at the same time. I can not even begin to list my numerous dumb-mum moments, but the funny thing is, I count my blessings and have recently decided that as long as they are happy and alive, my job is a success. you are most definitely not alone. big love from calgary. x

    Reply
  196. Jake Marcus

    Never prouder to be a Patron. Twenty-one years after my first child was born, this song makes me cry. I ended every day thinking “at least the baby didn’t die” and thought I had to be the only mother in the world who thought that. Everyone had gotten the owner’s manual except for me. No one else let the baby fall off the bed. Thank goodness no one saw the baby fall off the bed except for me. I will never tell anyone the baby fell off the bed. Oh my god, he could have died. But he didn’t.

    Reply
  197. Bee

    A few years ago I was babysitting. I am normal quite good at my job but this this was just shit. It was horrible. I had the baby on my lap and his sister had an open knife. A KNIFE. I had shown here mine just a minute earlier. Next this I know the baby dives into her lap and cuts his arm open. I FREAKED OUT. I thought that I had killed the baby. Some how through crying I called the parents. They took him into the ER and he got stitches. At least the baby didn’t die, right? At least the baby didn’t die. But hell, I cried for weeks. Thank the universe that everything turned out okay.

    Reply
  198. daPistol

    Beautiful and totally relatable. I’m the mother of two and step-mother of two more, and I still question decisions I made, feel guilt about things I’ve said, done, and not done. My daughter rolled out of the bed on more than one occasion when we both fell asleep during breastfeeding. I tried sitting in a rocking chair to avoid it and she rolled down my legs when I nodded off. I still get teased about dropping her off for kindergarten on a Saturday. Luckily, I had to do a u-turn in order to drive to work, so she wasn’t left for long. Things like that are part of parenting, especially when it’s your first.

    My kids love me, and say it’s ok, but I worry. Moms pretty much always worry.

    Reply
  199. pgj98m3

    One evening my wife and I woke to the sound of our smoke alarm going off….I had been boiling nipples for our son, age ~8 months (first child adopted so no breast-feeding). Lets skip the part where I said “Call the alarm company and tell them its alright its probably just the clothes drier” and my wife agreed. Our son was colicky and sleep was not part of our life.
    Fortunately the fire on the stove had burnt out the controls and the damage was mostly smoke.
    The next morning our son was upstairs…I thought my wife was watching him and she thought I was responsible….she ran from the upstairs bedroom and I ran from our smoky kitchen just in time to see him roll down the (thankfully) carpeted stairs. He was in a yellow and white striped onesie…he looked really cute!!
    Other then thinking we were the worst parents in the world no harm resulted. Certainly the baby didn’t die.

    I work with juvenile offenders whose life stories are horrifying. Many was the time I reassured my wife that she wasn’t even close to being the worst mother in the world.

    Enjoy every minute with Anthony.

    Reply
  200. GG

    when our firstborn was three weeks old, the three of us were sitting in the kitchen to have dinner. we put her car seat upon a chair to have all of our hands free and forgot to fasten the belts. so with a few kicks she managed to slip out of the seat and fell straight onto the stone floor. we were so scared we called an ambulance and rushed her into a hospital to see if everything is all right. after hearing the story, the doctor’s first question was “first kid, eh?”. and seeing how frightened to death we were, he added “a very nice one btw, you should consider mass production”.

    Reply
  201. Kate Michmerhuizen

    Oh boy, I have three sons, the youngest is 11 and the two oldest are 19 and 20, 13 months apart….
    Lets have a little fun here. Two boys, absolutely delightful and fun, one mom trying and making many mistakes. Usually around thinking I knew what the boys would and would not do.
    I got pregnant immediately after giving birth. WTF, happy about it now, was freaking out back then. One of the things we use to do for a cold in bone dry Denver was squeeze a little thing that sprayed saline up his nose. Now I can’t remember why but that doesn’t matter. I did it one day and he screamed bloody murder. How weird, I thought, and picked him up and gave him tons of love before dropping him with the sitter. Told my husband about weird reaction to drops. Husband got home and found a little bottle that looked just like nose drops but was for swimmer’s ear (we both were SCUBA divers before being parents), it’s ALCOHOL!!!! OUCH!!!!!!!!!!! Same Fucking Bottle though! Same shape same fonts, maybe a different color cap. I cried at work.
    2nd baby came along. two babies. One 18 mos, one 5 mos. Run the bath, no one (not even a baby) in the bathroom, walk 20 feet into the bedroom to get the tiny baby and hear a splash. Gabriel, our older baby was face down in the tub. Granted, he was there for a second, but the image of him facedown in that tub is imprinted in my brain!!! I want to go hug him right now but he and his brother are off at a friend’s house hanging out with the gang of artists from their school (Boston Arts Academy, BEST thing about living in Boston!!!) mom can’t show up for hugs.
    Our second baby hated to sleep so I would go for long car rides at midday to get him sleeping. Sometimes this took an age and a half. On this particular day it had taken forever for Finn to dose. I pulled into the driveway in our 20-year-old Volvo, the driveway was a slope up and the Volvo was a manual transmission car. My husband fixes things and when the handle broke off the transmission he replaced it with a tennis ball, very comfy on the hand. I carefully took the baby out of the car and said to the other baby (who was so big right, at about 2) come on in to the house. I left the rear car door open for him to follow me (are’t babies like ducklings?) and brought the baby into my room and carefully placed him in the bed (so maybe three minutes). I walked back through the house to get Gabe and picked up the phone to call my husband who answered right away. I hear a little voice call “mom!” and see the car rolling backwards down the drive. I scream and throw the phone. My husband panics (all he heard was a scream) and calls our 80-year-old neighbor who looked out to see me freaking out, our car on the other side of the street with the door bent backwards on our other neighbor’s old Corvair (unsafe at any speed) (he was so kind, once everyone was calmed down, he said “too bad it wasn’t a little to the left, I could have totaled it out”) and Gabe was climbing out of the car. He had crawled up front instead of getting out and pulled on the tennis ball which popped the car out of gear and rolled it back. I was in a state of utter craziness, he was fine but I kept seeing that heavy car rolling back and freaking out about what might have happened to him or to some kid riding a bike on our street. It was horrible. I can still go there.
    Same car. We used to go to church on Wednesdays in the afternoon. The kids could do the catechesis of the good Shepherd, I got quiet time, then we had a huge family-style dinner, the kids go to nursery and my husband and I would go to a class. It was a mid-week lifesaver for me. We arrived one Wednesday when the boys were about 2 and 3. I got my things, then got them out carefully juggling to keep them close while closing up the car. As I shut the rear passenger door I see Finn, about 2 years old, put ALL FOUR FINGERS all the way into the crack that opens up when the door is open, by the hinge of the door, not the side that opens. the door was closing as he put his fingers in. CHUNK. That sound of an old Volvo door closing, ever heard it? Oh my god, open the door, IT’S LOCKED. Dig through bag and find key, unlock front door in order to unlock back door, and remove screaming child’s hand from the car. The horror of a hand squeezed in that crack (look at that crack in your car, it’s REALLY SMALL). We went into church, Gabe saying “he’s ok mom, he’s ok, Mom Finn’s ok” (which sounded like an anxious THREE YEAR OLD trying to make everything ok, shit, that kid ruined too). Finn was ok. His hand was totally fine. Cartilage in there, hand fine.
    I could go on and on.
    Thank you for the song. It makes me cry and I always feel better when I’m done. Like some cosmic mom-burden has been lifted. It’s a scary thing being a mom. Never would change a thing though.
    Thank you again for the song.

    Reply
  202. choke999

    Bawling. This song *is* motherhood.
    Firstborn somehow rolled off the couch onto a wooden floor at 2 weeks old.
    Rolled across the back seat around 2 months because his carseat wasn’t snapped into the base.
    Secondborn NEVER slept – one night I was nursing him in the rocking chair beside his crib, waited for him to be asleep, I stood up and went to lay him into bed, and he was already in there. He was asleep in his crib the whole time. THAT moment was the moment that I realized how people can forget babies in cars.
    Choked on a bottle cap, one *I* had left around, despite the fact that I was always nagging on others to pick up their small things.
    Had moments with both of them where I couldn’t find them in the house, ran around frantically screaming for them, only to find them laughing at how good they did at hide-and-go-seek (The first did it at 4 years, the second did it at 2 years).
    And SO MUCH MORE. The trauma of those moments don’t go away, either. They simmer a bit, but they always pop up when you least expect them to, and always, always in slow motion.
    And the day to day…the stress and the not-doing-enough and the fear and the inability to think when they cry and the grandmother holding their perfect tiny hands in her ancient calloused hands and both are so fragile in such different ways and the dead friends and accidentally stealing things and forgetting EVERYTHING because holy crap babies are distracting…this song hit it all.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    <3

    Reply
  203. Sarah Diane Spitzmesser

    OMG. Can this be my theme song as a mom. I have been there from accidentally shoplifting toothpaste, to accidentally dropping the baby at a restaurant. I’ll go steps further with saying that there are times where I have to run through all their names before I get the right one, and I feel like sometimes my daughter doesn’t get as much attention, being she is the middle child. I know now though that parenting is insane, none of us really know what we are doing, and that my parents and probably everyone else has been there. Its reassuring that i’m not the only one who has ever uttered “at least the baby didn’t die.” So much love to you.

    Reply
  204. Guest

    My son was born on July 28. His birthday is 6 months exactly after mine. I had an abortion five years and exactly 6 months before my son was born (so yes, I had my abortion on my birthday, my birthday has always sucked). I had it because I wasn’t ready, I was in a horrible relationship with an abusive partner who had untreated bipolar disorder. My current partner is amazing and never abusive.

    My grandmother Judy, who was an amazing person, died from breast cancer only a month before our wedding, which was another 6 weeks prior to my pregnancy. We considered naming our son Jude, and I may still call him that from time to time, along with Bug, Bugaboo, Bugbear, Button, Puppy, Buddy, Buster, Dude, and Sugar Booger. His eyelashes and button nose look SO MUCH like Ash’s.

    He fell off the bed once and landed on his head. It happened in slow motion and I cried. I’ve dropped my phone on his head so many times. I have a low milk supply and I HATE myself for it. My husband once left the baby in the car when picking me up from school. Once he put the baby in the carseat in only a diaper. He has a kind of schizophrenia and OCD, which happened while I was pregnant. He’s been hospitalized three times in the last year. Sometimes, I hate him for being so needy when I need his help the most.

    But then my son just learned to stick out his tongue at me. His laugh is deep and infectious, and his toothless grin is the stuff of Magic. His hair is growing in like a little strawberry blonde mohawk. His eyes are so impossibly blue.

    Everyone says I’m a good mom, how do I do it, etc… I have no clue what I am doing. Except no one knows his cries like I do.

    Reply
  205. diotima

    My daughter loved her little bouncy chair. We would put it on the ground and bounce it with our feet for hours. One night — she was probably about three months old — I had just put her in the chair and left the room to grab her favorite you without realizing she wasn’t buckled in yet. ( I went back to school full time two weeks after she was born and my brain was cheese.) My husband picked up the chair to take her to another room and she woke up. Her moving around tipped the chair out of his hand and THUMP. Right onto the floor. Probably just about two feet, but face first. She was indignant, but fine. We were beyond horrified, convinced we were the worst parents in the history of parenting. She’s six now, and dumb things continue to happen and she continues to survive them and thrive.

    Reply
  206. Hayley Agnew

    With my First Child (my daughter Sativa-Rose) i call her my practice baby because i made sooooo many mistakes with her she too fell to the ground but off then bed when i ran to the loo quickly thinking she couldnt move she wasnt even rolling yet, and she was my doorframe baby i accidentally bumped her head on door frames walking from room to room at 2am half asleep moving to a comfy place to nurse her, i went and done the groceries one day and i had gotten a lift down so i used a trolley with a baby cradle in it (i usually walk down and get groceries and just carry them home) and i grabbed all the groceries put them in my friends car push the trolley back into the store with her still in the cradle and put it with the other trolleys and started to walk out the door until an elderly lady started screaming abuse at me then i realized i left my daughter in the trolley i bundled her up tears welling in my eyes and ran to the car and sat there and cried for a good half hour (i hadn’t had sleep in like 2 days it was an emotional time)

    Reply
  207. Caryn Mauro

    My two sons have fallen off of high chairs and beds and so far… All is good!! (Praise the Lord!!) What I feel most guilty about as a mom is my lack of patience with them. Solomon is 5yrs and Eli is 16 mos old. Both hubby and I work full time jobs. We already feel guilty leaving them in daycare, but I HATE myself when I let the stresses of grownup life get to me and I snap at the kids for no reason. Amanda, your song details exactly the emotions I feel EVERY DAY! You are a beautiful wonderful mother. And the light in your son’s eyes just proves you are doing something right… Hang in there, sista!!

    Reply
  208. Denise

    The only way I could have kids was by internalizing that there is no such thing as a perfect parent…..

    You are an AMAZING mom and I hope you have lots of amazing experiences with Ash and Neil and the people you care about!

    Take it easy, but take it!

    Reply
  209. satipants

    Thank you.
    i am not yet a mother, maybe one day I will be, and this song makes me less afraid.

    Reply
  210. ryhpeZ irollaV

    I’m in the midst of raising my 4 children, ages 6-16, so I’ve definitely had my share of almost breaking my babies (and them breaking each other, holy cow)
    I’ll just tell you my most traumatizing story though, even though my baby was actually 3 at the time it happened.

    I was making pasta, and he was on a stool more than arms length away from the stove, but in the kitchen watching me cook, as he often did. I went to drain the pasta in the sink, turning the opposite direction of him so the pot of boiling water wouldn’t get near him, while my back was turned (for literally a second; the water wasn’t even all out of the pot yet) he said “Mommy look!” And then there was the most blood curdling shriek I have ever heard. (It echoed in my mind for years, but is a shadow now).

    I dropped the pan in the sink and spun around to see him laying on the floor, I asked him what was wrong!? I went to picked him up and noticed a weird smell but didn’t know what it was. When I leaned down I noticed he was cradling his hand against his chest and I pulled his hand toward me and saw the black/brown imprint of our stove burner covering his palm and all of his fingers. The smell? It was his hand.

    I called 911 paramedics rushed out, medicated and bandaged his hand while I sat there shaking. My son was soon done crying and was asking to see the fire truck. When the paramedics focused their attention on me I must’ve looked like I was going to pass out or something because they were asking me if I was OK and telling me to just stay put for a minute.

    This, of course, led to me bawling about how awful I felt and what a terribly parent I felt like and “I just turned away for a second!”. The wonderful paramedics sat down and each took turns telling me stories of when they or their wives turned around for a second and their kids got hurt.

    …at least the baby didn’t die.

    You’re doing great, and I’m fairly certain that being constantly worried that you’re screwing it all up is just part of the whole parenting adventure.

    Reply
  211. Rivvy

    I’m not a mum, but I am an involved Auntie and god-mother. And one time I accidentally knocked some sort of barbecue utensil onto my poor niece’s head. She had a very tiny cut that bled like it was not at all a tiny cut and I can still remember her crying and the horrible, horrible guilt I felt.

    Reply
  212. Sarah S

    When our oldest was in the stupid-parents-think-baby-can’t-move-yet stage he fell off the bed, head-first into a trash can. His dad bumped his head on the door frame at night (he would only sleep if he was held and walked that first month). We delayed trips to the ER (asthma) because we didn’t want to be “panicky” parents.

    The worst thing happened to our middle son when he was 2. He and his older brother were standing on a windowsill trying to see their uncle who was washing his car in the driveway. I walked past the room, registered that they were in the window AND that the window was open, turned the corner, went “Wait a minute!”, turned back in time to see the 5 yr old lean forward and the 2 yr old go tumbling out the window. He landed head-first on a piece of metal piping that was below the window (in an otherwise clean yard!) and went to ER for 14 stitches in his forehead/eyebrow.

    Reply
  213. Kathleen

    I’m a young mom of two girls, and with my first, I was a lot like you. With my second, I’m much more relaxed, and I’ve found that my baby is, too. Stay calm. You can’t protect them all the time, but you can prepare them! Just try to stay relaxed and remember that just by loving your baby and caring about them, you’re already the best mom you can be! <3 from another worried and insecure mommy

    And I left my baby in the car once too when I went to get a cart, because it was so cold, at first I grabbed the cart and just walked over to the produce… then something felt wrong and I rushed back to the car… she was still asleep. Phew! Thankfully, for me, it happened at night and she was only alone in the car for a minute or two.

    Oh, here's my favorite horror story: when my firstborn, Marceline, was 2 months old, I decided she'd been doing great with baths so I'd try putting her in her baby bath while I was taking a shower (she had a little bath seat to prop herself up). Not thinking clearly, early in the morning, I put her in the shower and then turned it on… it came out of the showerhead and sprayed cold water all over my sleepy baby. Great.

    PS: everyone puts the carseat in the cart. It's the obvious solution. Sometimes I also carry a sling, but I have two kids, so one in the cart and one in the sling works best for me. You find a way.

    Reply
  214. Laura Crook Woodard

    I can’t even count the times I’ve felt like a failure over the last 4.5 years + 9 months. My planned home birth turned into a 43 week c-section. As a sister of a home birth midwife, one who easily birthed her 3 babies out of hospital, it was devastating. I still cry thinking about it. About my body failing me. Ina May’s quote about “your body is not a lemon” didn’t apply to me. What a ripoff.

    Then, with a week old baby at home, my husband dozed while watching Doctor Who while I was getting a precious 5 minutes of sleep and I awoke to a thud. The baby hit the floor so hard. I grabbed him and held him and sobbed and rocked harder than he did. He didn’t even seemed phased, honestly.

    Then there was this time I had put him in his crib, a rare occurs as he slept with me (or on me, more accurately) most of the time, and he, unbeknownst to me, got his foot stuck between some slats. So when I went to pick him up, I pulled him so hard and he wouldn’t move. So I nearly pulled his foot off. Or thought I did. I didn’t come close, obviously, but exhaustion and emotional highjacking makes for awful imaginary catastrophies.

    I’ve turned 2 hour road trips into a 3.5 hour odyssey of pulling over to nurse, to make sure he’s not being pinched by his car seat, of picking up toys to give back to him, to cry. I still jump in the night if I hear him cry or even just breathe a little too hard. Jump like I’ve been zapped with a stun gun.

    All of this is to say (and I’m not even close to the end of my list, by the way) that we all suck, and we all struggle, we’re all beautiful in how we parent, and we all do it exactly right. Even if it never feels enough. I feel you. I remember seeing you in Birmingham and you said something about parenting being scary. You looked out to us parents for validation or understanding and my friend Shannon and I nodded at you without reservation. Whether you saw us or not, I saw you. I felt the fear and the elation and the uncertainty, and I still do. And I celebrate your successes with you. I have failed so many times but I recognize my wins as well. I breastfed my son for as long as we both wanted. He’s healthy as they come. He’s happy. He’s kind and mostly gentle and he makes me more proud than I ever thought I could be. Look for your successes. There are undoubtedly dozens of them.

    We all win and lose at this parenting crap. There is nothing harder. But I’ve got this. You’ve got this. Ash is one lucky boy.

    Reply
  215. Christy Robinson

    Ok so. 1. Both of my kids fell off my bed in infancy. Babies are pretty resilient! Neither had injuries but it is a gut wrenching experience. 2. At least twice I have put my son into his car seat, gotten distracted and driven off without actually having buckled him in. Fortunately my daughter alerted me before we got too far. 3. The worst! When my daughter was 2 we forgot to lock our back sliding door. When my daughter got up she got the door opened and closed and wandered off chasing after our outdoor cat. When I woke up I thought she was hiding or my mom took her somewhere because she had stopped by early in the morning. When I realized she had gotten out I couldn’t find her anywhere. She had wandered multiple streets away where fortunately a non-psycho found her and called police. It was pretty traumatic for everyone. For years after my daughter would ask about the time ‘I got lost and a man gave me a lollipop and the police came.’ Yeah.

    Reply
  216. Alicia B

    I love your mantra. It has saved my brain a time or two–or two hundred. I’m not going to tell stories of the times I screwed up because they’re shared experiences — I’m reading my stories here from others. I think what lingers longer and stronger and with absolutely no mercy is the WORRY of what we will do. We will mess up–a lot–but here’s the thing… OUR feeble vision of ourselves doesn’t hold a candle to what we truly are to our children. For every bonehead mistake or sorry slip-up, they see the love surrounding it. THEY KNOW US in a beautiful and transcendental way. This was my experience of that (with my psychically sensitive child):

    CORK TREE

    I don’t know if it’s just me, if there was
    a surge of hormones, a spike
    in some bodily brew that makes me
    bowl over every other time
    I look at you now. Or if it’s just the season,
    something about the summer bringing blush
    and blood into the rounds of your face,
    a bounce hustling through you and pooling
    pink in your nectarine cheeks so that
    I want to spread myself wide and thin over you,
    and wider and thinner as the
    diameter of your days grows.

    There is a constant throb
    of worry lately, a fifth chamber
    slugging out the knots I can’t break down—
    not stringy kelp of darkly thought things but
    hefty cinder bricks of it, blocks of unstable love
    trying to circulate, barbed and bulldozing
    until a bloodletting

    and I pulse and pulse and pulse

    I think of your teeth rotting inside out
    pulse pulse pulse
    the secrets you’ll sink 20,000 leagues
    pulse pulse pulse
    I think of the bears in your nightmares and
    the cars I can’t slow down and how your face
    will break if you catch that uneven
    lip of sidewalk and the way I am
    always chasing the flame on my own fuse
    like a cartoon coyote about to burn
    our whole house down
    pulse pulse pulse
    I think of the yelling you will remember
    PULSE PULSE PULSE
    how every time I sat still
    some part of you would stagnate
    pulse pulse pulse
    goodnight nobody, goodnight mush
    goodnight nobody, goodnight mush
    pulse pulse pulse

    The anxious blood circuits and all of these
    heartbricks settle in my center. I have
    a recurring nightmare that shadows are knocking,
    unlocking, stealing in through sealed doors
    and I am as stuck as a statue.
    I lose everything in my lungs
    and fall, pillar stiff,
    two tons of breathless stone
    when you need rescue.
    I sleep light enough to hear your dreams
    drifting in castle walls,
    wake heavy as a redwood
    soaked in coffee by sunrise.

    But you—attuned to
    I don’t even know what—
    with exquisite timing, you find me
    planted to the floor, guilty with not knowing
    how to uproot today.
    You sit on the crisscross of my lap
    below an umbrella of bad posture,
    pat my knees softly and
    prompted by nothing
    say to no one in particular

    “Well,
    I’m just going to sit here
    under my favorite cork tree”

    and then you roost against my trunk,
    my gentle little bull.

    Delicate and keen—how the moment erases
    the sorry for my stillness,
    how it validates my quiet, how I am able to see you
    seeing me. It roots me into
    your landscape, turns all of these rattling leaves
    into a hum that brings you home.

    For all I know
    we are there still, in a dream
    sitting just quietly
    smelling flowers.

    ***

    YOU ARE FANTASTIC, APalm. Thanks for the new creation.

    Reply
  217. Carla Khoo

    I laughed and cried too – you’re so beautiful to share Amanda, so brave. The car thing is my worst nightmare. I remember popping my little dude in the car (he was about 1-ish, just started to walk), with my Hubs and we drove to the library. All of a sudden I saw him the rear view mirror, smiling at me waving – I smiled back, then realised with horror that I should be able to see him… he should be too short when strapped safely in his car seat. I could see him because I hadn’t secured him – I almost had an accident in shock. Another was me and hubs swimming – we were throwing little man between us, and I missed the catch. Seconds, it was only seconds, but he coughed and coughed when I pulled him up. I had nightmares for awhile about that – and a unconscious irrational fear of water when he’s in it. Ah motherhood – I thought I knew love and fear, but I didn’t – I do now. I’d never change that knowledge – no matter how much it empowered and terrifies me. You’re beautiful. :)

    Reply
  218. hamletsprincess

    I can’t even count the number of times I cried in the car after my daughter was born or questioned if I should have had a child. Being a parent is scary stuff. After she was born I had become so stressed out that I couldn’t produce milk at all, so breast feeding went out the window. A few months after she was born I was so overwhelmed I had to go to my OB to be cleared to go back on medication for my OCD and anxiety because it was way out of hand. I would watch her for hours while she slept just to make sure she was breathing, I thought I was losing my mind and how could I be a good mother if I constantly feel like this. On the way home from the doctor’s office I had to pull over I was crying so hard. Luckily the medication I am on has completely balanced me out and helped me to handle the fears of raising a child better. However, there are still those moments. She is now 3 and she has only seen me have one panic attack. Let me tell you, nothing breaks your heart more than having your almost 2 year old hug you while you are having a total melt down and her telling you it will all be okay. As she has grown the bumps and falls have gotten bigger. I use to always worry, even before she was born, that she would fall down and hit her head and get a concussion or fracture her skull or something scary like that. One night, right after she turned two I believe, she was running to her bed room and as I was just coming around the corner, yelling at her not run, I managed to have that slow motion moment as she slipped on a piece of paper and fell head first onto the tile floor. My worst fears had come true. I immediately snatched her up and went to look at her head and there was a huge, and I mean huge, goose egg that was turning purple. My stomach is all twisted in knots just thinking about it. My husband was cooking dinner and I told him to drop everything and we were going to the hospital. I was in complete shock. I couldn’t cry I just thought we have to get her to the hospital right now. He told me to let me look at it and I didn’t want to let her go. She was crying and I was scared. Some how he got her out of my arms and took a look at it and as soon as she was out of my arms I started balling. He talked with her and she stopped crying. Then she noticed that I was crying and all her pain went away and she was more upset that I was upset. I cried for a good 30 minutes on that one. Having a kid is scary and overwhelming and there is more to worry about as they get older. However, my daughter is the best thing that has ever happened to me. She has given me a reason to wake up in the morning. She is so smart and creative and talented and my husband and I get to foster all of that and help her to grow. No matter how many tears I cry or fears I have she can erase them all with her smile. I guess what I am trying to say is shit is going to happen but don’t let it take away from all the fun and happy moments or ruin those to come.

    Reply
  219. Erin McCord

    Forgot to shut the baby gate while I was upstairs peeing. I see his little head pop up over the top step with the most triumphant look on his face, and just as I gasp and leap toward him, trying grab my pants up from around my ankles, he slides on his belly down the wooden stairs. Somehow unhurt. Forgot to shut the basement door. Falls down the two steps to the landing where a litter box awaits. He has had a couple swollen eyes and has a scar in his eyebrow at 13 months old, all from objects thwarting him in attempts to walk. I left him in the car while I was working a few feet away, with him in sight. It was chilly and I left the car running, it was so hot in there when I checked on him (that was a major at least the baby didn’t die). That’s all I can remember, my brain doesn’t work as well as it did a little over a year ago. I know that those are just a few moments in a year where I have learned what love really is, even if I fuck up sometimes.

    Reply
  220. Sabrina

    You’re not alone, Amanda. When my first daughter was 8 weeks, we strapped her in her car seat and drive off. When we rounded a corner, the seat flew across the backseat and smacked the door. That moment is frozen in my mind. I unbuckled my seatbelt while my husband pulled over and climbed over the seat. I have never felt so much relief when she got over the shock and started screaming. She was hanging upside down in the car seat. And then there was the time when she got her pacifier clip wedged in her mouth, and the time my second one choked on a gummy bear…. And when I was so tired that I unloaded my shopping cart in a store, only to discover that the check out lady who was standing there was a hallucination. Everyone was staring at me whispering.

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  221. Dee

    I spent the first couple of years of my two oldest daughters lives scared of EVERYTHING (seriously. I wouldn’t even make coffee due to the possibility of the pot accidentally exploding and raining hot coffee everywhere.) I spent a lot of time at home with my girls imagining every bad thing thing that could happen to them and feeling like a terrible mother because I was scared and exhausted all the time. There were many tears. So many. But my husband finally talked me into telling the doctor about my feelings (the anxiety of admitting that you see in your head your children getting hurt.i thought for sure they would be taken from their crazy mother)but they didn’t. I had severe postpartum depression. They helped me through it and although I still fear for all my kids, it’s normal mom fear. All my babies are 10 and older but I still feel like I am learning . The good news is I haven’t screwed them up too badly.
    I thank you for this song. ♡ for all of us parents your mantra is it. “At least the baby didn’t die”

    Side note: that pic of you ash and Helen is heart mealting. Much love

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  222. LindsayPez

    When my baby was about 7 months old, I was clipping her fingernails and clipped the tip of her thumb. Just a TINY bit. But it bled and she cried, her first time producing real tears. She’s 2.5 now and I still feel terrible about that day. There’s not even a scar or anything…But she was so tiny and it was my job to protect her but I hurt her instead. Off topic but I just got this full circle, surreal moment writing this: there was this one time I tried writing you an email. It was when I was pregnant with her. I just wanted to say hello and tell you I admire your life, nothing special. I’m not sure you received it; I didn’t receive a reply. But now here I am with a 2.5 year old, writing to you again. And it’s so odd to me still that this child is here, I have a baby, this is real. And I’m still writing to you. Again, not sure if you’ll read it, but I totally don’t mind. We’re so busy! One last thought: I’ve been feeling like the worst mother in the world this week. Two year olds are hard and I feel like I’m not a good enough mom since I spend so much time struggling…But listening to your song and reading the comments made me feel better. I felt like the biggest failure all week, and now I do not. Thank you.

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  223. Michelle Crawford

    I had my son on his changing table when he was around 3 months old and I push/pulled his diaper out too hard from under him and his head went straight back into the wall. That was his first head injury. It doesn’t get any better – even when it isn’t your fault at all, really. He’s 5 now, and last month, after I yelled at him to go to his room, he pulled his hoodie over his head going up the stairs throwing a fit, and he tripped on the top step and plowed head-first into the wall, denting it and cutting a nice, matching circle over his forehead/eye, and less than a week later, he had a falling incident on a playground where I was 50-yards away pushing my daughter on the swing. I will probably forever remember every fucking second I saw him falling from a distance where I had to pull my daughter from the swing and grab all my stuff before running over to see if he was okay. He’s okay. But GAH! This song rings so true.

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  224. Cynthia Watts

    Your song and commentary touched my heart so deeply that I cried, a lot. I am a 69 year old great-grandmother. My beautiful great-grand-daughter is 10 months old, she is a gift from God. I lived in another state and missed out on my four grandchildrens growing up years. We live near, now that they are all (but one) married. I know that our great-granddaughter will not remember us, because we will probably be long gone before she is old enough to remember us. I only had one child, she is the light of my life, as are her four grown children. I can still relate to your words as a young mother with a little baby, precious memories, I cherish every moment. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • InRandomOrder

      Sister, my own Grandmother passed away when I was but 4 years old. I do have memories of her. Sensory memories, granted, but valid memories; I’m told she spoke to me in Gaelic almost exclusively and I spoke to her. I’ve forgotten Gaelic in my mind, but in my heart to this day I can understand the ‘thrust’ of what is being said. You and I will live on in their very bones, just as our Ancestors live on in ours. Thank you for sharing your words helped me today.

      Reply
  225. Amber LaParne

    Best mom advice I ever gave to my best friend, when our kids were infants “Remember, if you are upset because you are worried about being a bad mom-you care enough to worry. You care enough to cry.” Motherhood will change you in ways you cannot anticipate and open depths of emotion and insight you could never had imagined. From one artist to another, motherhood is a constant evolution. Bittersweet. Brutal. Beautiful. It’s the grandest adventure.

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  226. Suzanne Bronson

    This song brings me back. I had two boys. They were a year and a half apart. There were times when I got into bed at the end of the day and said, “Today was a good day. No one died today.” Hold those you love close and everything else will work out. Much love and luck, Amanda.

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  227. Rebecca MacDonagh

    The guilt isn’t yours alone it seems. I’ve just read a story by my eldest son which recounts an accident his brother had on his 5th birthday. I’ve felt guilty for years for leaving the boys together for what I thought was a moment in the house to play while I said goodbye to my sister, and letting the little one get hurt. Turns out the older brother has been feeling that it was his fault for the last 10 years – yet the boy who got hurt can’t understand why we would feel responsible!
    On a brighter note – despite divorce, ill health (mine and theirs), constant work, endless mistakes on my part, and terrible soul destroying guilt that I’ve not done enough, they are lovely people who I genuinely like as well as love, and they still (as large teenage boys) want to spend time with me. I even get public affection! Clearly, for whatever reason, it does work out well if you just love them the best that you can.

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  228. Kyle Newbridge

    I’m not a mother or parent by any means, but this song really affected me for a lot of reasons. The situations may be specific, but the emotions are real. I think that anyone whose ever, for any amount of time, been responsible for someone else’s life and well being can relate. I was really moved by this song, and ended up writing an article about it on my blog instead of what I had planned for the week xD

    Here’s the article if anyone is interested in reading.
    https://kylenewbridge.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/on-a-mothers-confession/

    Reply
  229. Alexis Campbell

    My little Damian is 3 months, born November 10th. This song pulls at me heart. I work full time and still try to breastfeed. I work so hard to pump at work to be able to get those few little ounces out so that his dad can feed him when I have to work. I die inside when I get home at 6:00 AM and see 2 bottles each with 6 ounces of waisted liquid gold that probably took me 3 days to accumulate just waisted. Or the time I was about to breast feed him and as I was trying to adjust myself and pull my boob out he starts falling off my lap. If I wouldn’t have caught him his poor little head would have gone right into the corner of the coffee table. I cried as I held him, his short little life flashing before my eyes. The week he was born, I was home alone with him, he was crying non stop. I had to pee and deal with my ruined lady parts. I was alone I hadn’t eaten in 2 days. I sat there holding him while he’s screaming crying with him not knowing what to do. I think that night we bonded. Just a new mom and her baby crying together over nothing. Being a mom has changed me and I love him for it. But its scary as fuck knowing that I am now responsible for someone else’s life.

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  230. Lil rm

    So my Mom told me that she was riding the bus with my brothers when they were little, she got out but my brothers jacket got stuck when the door closed… so the bus left with my brother’s arm trap, my mom took out the super runner in her and ran along the bus screaming, trying to hold my trap brother and carrying the other one… eventually, the bus driver stopped and nothing bad happened. The baby could… but didn’t die!!!, and after that my mom learned how to drive and never rode the bus again. O_o

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  231. Robyn

    For several months in between growing out of the amazing Arm’s Reach co-sleeper I had sidecar’d to my side of the bed for easy nighttime boob, and before she decided she was okay being laid down in the pack ‘n’ play at the foot of our bed, my daughter would only go to sleep for the night on our bed. That’s cool… no big deal, right? She’d go to bed around 8pm and we’d join her around 11. We bed-shared in one form or another for the better part of her life (so far… and she’s 20 months old in three days) and it’s worked pretty well for all of us.
    Well. Our bed is pretty high. Like, 15-inch foam mattress on top of a 17-inch platform/shelf/storage thingamabob high.
    You can see where this is going, can’t you?
    One night we heard her rustling about, which is normal. Baby turns over and sighs herself back to sleep. Not this time. Rustle, rustle. Whine. Rustle, rustle. Whine. More rustling. We hear her on the monitor, know she’s a bit too awake, and he moves to go check on her. Very loud thump, insert the loudest and most pitiful baby scream I’ve ever heard in my life. She had crawled off the edge of the bed and landed flat on her back in the narrow niche of carpet between bed and nightstand and wall, more than 30 inches down. By some grace of the universe, she didn’t hit her head on the nightstand or the drawer knobs or the wall or the edges of the platform bed on her way down. But, oh… the poor sweet little thing. My heart ached for her, and I held her and cuddled her, and cried with her for a while. And, oh, the guilt. The guilt was there.
    You are not alone. So not alone, Amanda. <3

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  232. Logan Kerlee

    Hi Amanda!! Totally enjoyed your song, and I have the most respect for you, for sharing it with us.

    I may not be a parent but I’ve made some poor choices over the years with little creatures that need looking after. One of them that came to mind was forgetting to put my dog in his kennel before leaving the apartment for the day to explore Seattle a bit.. upon returning I was shocked to have him leap into my lap (I’m in a wheelchair)! Once I had my bearings and calmed him down I saw the terror of a dog on the loose! He tore his stuffed animals to shreds and they were everywhere.. long story short, lesson learned, tell the puppers that you love him and be sure to have him in his kennel before leaving anywhere for too long! :P

    Your song/story was very moving and as you’re more than aware of now, nobody’s perfect, and it’s alright if you slip up now and again as long as you learn from it.

    Keep being awesome Amanda! :)

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  233. Anna

    From the first night my baby was home, I would wake up from a dead sleep heart pounding with the thought, is she breathing? And I could not do a thing until I had checked. And even now…she’s 11…I don’t hear her getting up for school…I have to check that she is breathing.

    At least the baby didn’t die…I think that everyday.

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  234. Taylor-Marie Moody

    i fell once while holding my baby brother (i think he was just over a year then) and he nearly cracked his skull, i managed to keep his head safe and other than my knee having a massive bruise all was good. i was actually really proud of it because i got it while trying to keep him safe.
    one day my dad was watching him play and he got into a small bottle of lotion and we didn’t know if he’d gotten any in his mouth and i screamed at him. i get really angry and over protective and a lot of it comes from a place of insecurity because i try really hard, when i’m watching him, to make sure he’s completely safe. i totally lost it.
    i watch him pretty much every day and i’m really attached to him and everyone uses this to explain why i should or should not have a baby because its so hard/i’m so good with him/whatever.
    it’s so exhausting and stressful, to be responsible for this tiny, defenseless, endlessly curious life. it is totally overwhelming. i can’t imagine how much more so it would be if i’d given birth to it, too.
    being a parent is beautiful and heartbreaking and it seems to overlap each other so much.

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  235. Mark 'Mcduff' Stevenson

    My partner and I are fairly small. And so as expected our first born is small too. (even now at nearly three she is the same size as kids half her age). I was showing off how small she was balancing her on my left forearm. She chose this very moment to roll over for the first time. I caught her a few inches from a head bang on the floor by clutching onto a foot.

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  236. ThatLoudAmerican

    I listened to this at the lowest volume whilst sitting on the stairs waiting for my three-year-old to go to sleep. I have to hang out there, because if I don’t, he comes out and will sit on the step into his room making little noises to himself until one of his parents notices and puts him back to bed. Once, over an hour passed before we did. I’ve never dropped him. But I did film his older brother running back and forth in his crib with the side down (better view, obvi), which means I also filmed his older brother falling over and head first out of his crib and I filmed the ceiling while I was screaming and trying to catch him and the sobbing afterward. I deleted that video. Because I’ll never forget that moment. Ever. I also forgot my oldest in a car once. I went into a coffee shop. I felt all light and relieved that it was such an easy trip until I realized why. I think the only reason I never did this with my youngest is that the older one was there to shout at me, “Mom!! You forgot us in the car!!” I’m not sure that’s ever happened but the oldest has absolutely said all of the following: You forgot to strap him in, You forgot to strap me in, You forgot to close the door, You forgot to pay for that, You forgot to get your coffee. My boys are healthy, they can speak and articulate their needs, they can give and receive love. I consider that a win. Hang in. Keeping them alive* is really the greatest achievement!
    *see photo for how they continue to try to stop you. and yes, i am aware i have problem with photographing before rescuing.

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  237. Kendra Moras

    Laughing, crying and smiling in that way that all moms seem to have when sharing a common experience… thank you for your beautiful work.

    I never imagined becoming a mom. When I did, it was in my mid 30′s with a husband who was destined to be a dad.

    I was far from family, having moved on my own to San Francisco, then we took our baby to LA as relatively new parents and I almost lost my mind! All the feels in your song! Many of the experiences too!

    I was lucky, I found a group of parents that gather both on the web and in play dates that commiserate. We share our pain, our drama, our triumphs, and our tiny moments. In a beat I went from alone and sometimes scared to being part of a community…

    Doesn’t hurt that we also have many other things in common… we quazi-adult together too. My village is called the Geeklings and Parental Units, and I’ll be sharing your song with them on our Facebook community tonight. Many of us are rabid Neil fans, but many of us have been following you as well. :)

    Thank you for sharing your motherhood experience, than you for shining light into the dark and twisties being mom.

    My son once, at 2 yrs old, dropped a marble table top on himself. Thankfully he only injured his face, but still, HIS TINY PERFECT FACE!!! 8 stitches and 4 years later and he is perfect still… and at least the baby (and the mommy) didn’t die…

    Thank you Amanda.

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  238. ThatLoudAmerican

    They make it hard that whole keeping them alive thing. I’m just saying.

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  239. .ara Joan Nokomis

    i don’t think you realise how lucky your boy is to have you as his mum….i’m confident Neil knows….anyhoo….you’re so funny, amanda…..just the right amount of skew whiff to survive the unholy drama’s of parenthood…..welcome to the club…..5x down for me….& my baby is suddenly 17.3….years, that is…..& they do survive….uncannily…..worst case of child left in car for me? when deciding to check possum trap line, thinking it’ll take 20mins~half hour max? he’d just fallen asleep, usually slept for a couple of hours….we got lost in the bush, didn’t we…..2 fcukn hours later….i rock up to the car, terri~fcukn~fied….to the wee chap just waking up…..fcuk’n jesus wept…..love your stories….& especially, i love that you still have a grip on your creativity…..vital to your sanity….well done you

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  240. Em Donnelly

    Sobbing here…. brings back all the terror and tears from my first year; when you don’t know how to cope and your heart is dripping out your skin it’s so large and ragged and raw. My little girl fell off the bed behind me with the most hideous sound as her head hit the floor. A night of projectile vomiting and emergency department followed, but she didn’t die and we can both
    handle so much more. Love to you xxx

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  241. Erica

    Our seven year old is chill so we were unprepared for our three year old…the one who, when she got teeth, bit off a chunk of a glass at a wedding when I gave her a drink and took a couple of chews before I noticed. Who would find bottle caps to munch on when in the park. Who, at a few weeks old, I tossed onto my shoulder to burp her and slammed her forehead into the edge of the top of the chair. Who stuck her pinky in a pencil sharpener and turned it to see what would happen. Who insisted on standing unaided in the kiddie pool at 18 months and then I got distracted for three seconds to turn and find her underwater. Who got her head stuck in a two-tier table, between the bars on stair banisters (three times), who got a potty seat stuck around her neck. That three year old is doing okay, despite all the things that felt like near-misses, but parenthood is terrifying.

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  242. Harpotho

    Thank you for sharing all this humanness. Life’s some kind of terrifying, beautiful circus and it fucks with my head that some people are so good at pretending they already know each act.
    This isn’t exactly a parent story, but it isn’t not either. My little sister is 15 years younger than me and had a forgot-she-couldn’t-swim moment at a lake when she was 3. She was only below the water for like 30 seconds before my mom had gotten to her and was making sure she was ok while having her own parental crisis. I was several feet farther away and couldn’t have helped. She’s now a happy, healthy, and scary smart 7-year-old, but I still have occasional nightmares. I’m not a parent, but she’s totally my kid in some sense.

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  243. Natalia

    Dear Amanda:
    I am only 18. Motherhood is not something I have experienced and honestly I don’t plan to. But, let me tell you: my mom had me when she was very young. Everyone kept telling her what she was doing wrong all the time. She hated that but felt guilty at the same time.
    My mom (and dad, specially my dad) fucked up a few times.
    Dad lost me in a crowded beach. He couldn’t find me in the supermarket for hours.
    Mom forgot that on the last day of school I came out 2 hours earlier two years on a row, and I had to wait outside of school alone.
    Up until this day, my mom apologises for not believing me as a kid when I told her all the awful things my ballet teacher did to me.
    “I was young and inexperienced. I’d act differently today, I swear.”
    They both torment each other with these things. Do I hold it against them? Not one bit. I love my parents. Ash will forgive you, but you should always think about forgiving yourself. It kills me that my parents haven’t.
    Sincerely, a daughter.

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  244. Manon Klemp-hoogeboom

    My first child cried every night, the whole night for about one and a half years. I was so very very tired and unsecure that I as his mother couldn’t find a way to make him fall asleep or at least be quit without me holding him and walking and singing and feeding him.
    I couldn’t stand the sound of him crying so once I took a long shower just so I didn’t hear him.
    And my third child fell of the stairs when she was 9 months old, we just moved in our new place and forgot to check if the door upstairs was closed. We all heard her falling… the doctor looked at me and asked how this could have happend! I was just so very happy she was allright that the judging eyes of the doctor did’t hurt as much though.
    (I’m dutch so hope it’s understandable ;-)
    And thank you for making motherhood human x

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  245. Mel

    All of the love – the song is wonderful. I’m not a parent, but still got all the feels. Artist to audience emotion transference = good art.

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  246. Kirsten Steytler

    My mom has learnt to just laugh it off now, she still tells us the stories as if they were jokes even though we all know she didn’t sleep for a week after it! I drank drain cleaner when I small and then fell down the stairs a minute later. My older brother sped away on his little piwi bike when he was 5 and met a nasty end with our gravel driveway, his entire face was a scab. My favorite story of hers is of my youngest sister who is a little helicopter when shes sleeping, she managed to crawl to my moms feet. My mom thinking she was one of the cats, kicked her off! (She had just turned a year old)

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  247. Laura

    I’m not a mother, and I don’t intend to be for a veeery long time so no stories from me.

    But I do have a story from my mother; she is the sweetest, best person that I’ve come to know in my whole life. When my brother was less than a year old he was lying on the floor playing with his stuff and my mother accidentally stepped on his foot, she crushed two of his tiny toes and she started crying, and panicking and went to the hospital. The doctors healed his toes, bandaged them and told her that he would be alright because his tiny toes were still too “undeveloped” and so they’d grow normally and adapt. However, she felt horrible, she thought she was a terrible mother and even if the story is told at anytime now that my brother is 25 she still cries about it. She has some other stories that she’s always ashamed to remember about me and my brother growing up, but for us she is our lovely mother in all her perfect imperfections and we love her very very much!

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  248. Jeanne Marie Bernavage

    HI Amanda, I throughly enjoyed your song. Many times I’ve heard parenting is the biggest guru, best ride of your life, but also the lonliest job ever. I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant, too scared too abort, but subconsciously relieved that I had a newfound purpose in life. I immediately quit drinking and smoking. I got a job and worked after my schooling was over- all from 6am till midnight, basically on my feet. I got complications from this though, varicose veins and a large blood lot in my left leg. Post-pregnancy and after surgery, the varicose veins are still there… I wear fucking compression stockings year round, the only pro of this is that they make me look more fit and firm that without. Around 2 years old, after I left the baby’s father who was abusive and an addict, I intuitively felt that there was something abnormal about my child. Excessively long and intense tantrums, he had a speech delay, and I saw some atypical behaviors in him (what I now know as ‘self-stemming). To make a long story shot, my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at 3, has been in Early Intervention, Special Ed, and most recently been referred to a non-public center where children with extreme behavioral disorders and emotional disturbances go. Kind of like the last stop in education for these children. Since my sons diagnoses, I have started working in special ed and am currently an in-home ABA therapist for youth with ASD. I am blessed to have my son, and vice versa. He changed my life for the better, and certainly gave me a purpose. I am now dedicating my life to serve those with ASD, and to advocate for equal opportunities in education for the children who have no voice, and their families who are vulnerable, grieving and completely overwhelmed. It’s incredibly easy to see the positive side of things when you are pushed to see them for the sake of another being. :)

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  249. em Dehaney

    When my son Ewan was about the same age as Ash in this story, I put him in his car seat but didn’t strap him in. I’d just sat him in there while a friend and I were eating lunch, so he could see us. He was happy, gurgling away. I was happy, eating and waving down at him. Then, after I had finished, I went to pick up the whole car seat by its handle. But I hadn’t clicked it into place properly, and the car seat flipped over as I lifted it, violently propelling my son head first onto a hard wood floor. He screamed. I screamed. He cried. I cried. I cried longer than he did. Once he was latched onto me and feeding away, he calmed instantly.
    We are all good mums, just doing our best. This is a beautiful song. At least the baby didn’t die is every new parents mantra. If you decide to have another, it gets easier and harder at the same time. X

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  250. Eryca Judi Green

    My children are big, REALLY big (like 6ft4 type big), and STILL I feel guilt. And STILL I cry. And STILL they love me. And STILL I would die for them. I loved this song SO much x

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  251. BaronessHeather

    I don’t have a baby, but the other night, I was cold, so I made a cup of tea and started a fire in the fireplace. Turns out the flue was broken, and in short order, the apartment was filling with smoke. Alarms started blaring, and as soon as I opened the door to let the smoke out, the dog bolted. In chase, I tripped over the cord of the fan my husband had just set up to blow the smoke out, banging my knee on the ottoman, on which sat the tea, spilling it all over my laptop, phone, and a stack of books. I finally got the dog, and husband got the alarms to stop. We’d just seen you play at Shakaroo, and just looked at each other and belted out, “at leeeeeast the baby didn’t diiiiiiiiiiie!” Knowing that someone – you – had written a song about all the ways we screw up in life and feel like total failures, only for it to really, actually be okay once you get some perspective, really helped us not just feel like we totally sucked at life.

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  252. Cestay

    When my son was around 2 months old I had gone upstairs to change his diaper, and then decided to come back down the stairs with him, and a basket of laundry at the same time. I had him cradled in my left arm and a laundry basket propped on my hip and gripped in my right hand. I missed a step; fell backwards hard, and slid down to the landing (thank God for the landing) when we stopped sliding he pitched forward out of my arms and on to the (thankfully) carpeted landing. I screamed ‘FUCK’. He was SCREAMING, his aunt (who was living with us during that time, and to whom I cannot express enough how much that time meant to me) scooped him up while I pulled myself together. He was fine, I ended up with a huge bump on the back of my head, and bruises on my back and the backs of my arms. I felt horrible about it, and actually still do, I didn’t even want to tell his dad about it.

    1- My son was born June 3rd, so being a new mother at the same time as you has been AMAZING as you have really expressed so much of how I’ve felt. I love this song. 2-I also have a thing about his dad not dying. It’s a rule. Not allowed. Because I’m inadequate as a mother, but he is the best father anyone could ask for. 3-I have done more crying in this year (especially in cars) than I have in the last 5.

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  253. Kim Beasley

    One day when I was leaving the grocery store and trying to get my 2 year old into the car while he was in the middle of a huge tantrum, I set my 12 month old in the driver’s car seat to deal with 2. I thought the door had closed all the way. I saw him falling to the ground before I could catch him. It was terrifying. He had a bit of road rash but was otherwise ok. I think all of us Mother’s have things like this happen. I’m so sleep deprived all the time I probably wouldn’t have realized I accidentally shop lifted Chapstick or sunglasses *HUGS* You Aren’t Alone

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  254. Cassandra Bunk

    also laughing and crying – almost all of these things have happened to me and my baby as well – she fell off the bed when i was peeing when i thought she was sleeping and safe, i actually DID have my licence revoked and got pulled over with my baby in the car and have to have some one come rescue me and spent the next two days in the DMV trying to get it fixed with my infant and my friend with her two very small children – i have lost count of how many things got “stolen” cuz they fell in the babys car seat while grocery shopping… the list goes on. At least the baby didn’t die, right? and now she’s 4 and we are so bonded and she’s so awesome and it’s all turning out all right in the end. love and hugs you got this mommy.

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  255. Barnyard2

    I am not feeling smart enough to tell you much, but I can tell you that it’s natural and it doesn’t stop. The only people who don’t feel like terrible parents are the ones who don’t care.

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  256. Nicole James

    *enters the AFP Parental Confessional*

    I lost my daughter under the couch. She was premobile (I thought) and safely on a blanket (not Helen’s blanket, obviously, but a very nice blanket nonetheless) in the middle of the living room floor and, yes, I went to pee. No eyeliner, just pee. And I came back and she was gone. Took me almost 10 minutes of frantic searching and crying and trying to decide if I should call the police because my baby had learned to apparate or maybe someone broke into my apartment silently and stole her in the pee minute but no, that just cannot have happened and oh my god, I have a baby, right? I didn’t just imagine having a baby, right? Am I insane? Is this like that “Normal Again” episode of Buffy where I find out that the last year of my life was a delusion and I never really had a micropreemie that survived a three month stay in the hospital and come home with us*? And then I heard something under the couch. A baby coo. Guess who learned how to roll while Mama was peeing.

    *This was something I worried about for a long time, actually. That she hadn’t survived, but I couldn’t cope and so was stuck in a persistent delusion where I had a living baby. She’s 11 now. I’ve finally decided that if this life is a delusion, it’s a pretty good one, and I’m just going to stick with it.

    Reply
    • Nicole James

      (I also have all the usual stories about falls and forgetting the baby in the car – and once I forgot my son on TOP of the car; luckily I remembered that one before I actually started driving – and inadvertently stolen items, because I too used my baby’s stroller as a shopping cart…but the “I lost my baby under the couch” story is the most surreal, and the one I hope makes you laugh a little bit.)

      Reply
  257. Laura Taylor

    Oh the mistakes you’ll make! – should be the Dr. Seuss book they give you at the hospital when your baby is born.

    I’ve made so many mistakes as a parent! My boys are 4 and 2, and I have screwed up more times than I remember. Like, true screw ups and not just “keeping up with the Joneses” slacker moments.

    Latest failure: my 2 year old, William, pulled a dresser down on himself. We had moved he furniture in the boys’ room months ago, and I never re-anchored it to the wall. I knew it was important, but after a while it didn’t feel important – until, of course, he tried to climb in a drawer and make a nest, and ended up pinned and screaming.

    Fortunately my husband was home: a) for moral support b) because he didn’t anchor the dresser either c) because he is a doctor so we didn’t have to go to the ER. We dashed in, righted the dresser, scooped up the frightened toddler and thanked our lucky stars he was okay.

    He truly is fine. He’s actually in my lap right now, saying “Mommy I wuv you!”. I feel horrible guilt for that incident, and every other moment where I failed to be the superhero, but I can’t hold onto that guilt. It’s there, on the shelf, a reminder of what could be if we are not so lucky or safe, but I will not put it on and let it suffocate me.

    For now, I will chant that mantra:
    “At least the baby didn’t die.”

    Reply
  258. koby

    i played the first verse to my wife at breakfast…she has a few ‘changing table’ stories herself. coming home from work one day i found her screaming in the cellar…i took over when she made it back to work and started gathering my own baby events: leaving our oldest in the truck with the groceries as i hiked a mile or more home to get a gas can, watching the same child–now about three–’fly’ his little foot powered bike down our back stairs (when he settled, his comment was, “first i saw the ceiling, then i saw the stairs, then i saw the ceiling again…”), and one of the most memorable times with our youngest–it inspired me to write my own ‘confessional’ verse:

    i was changing my daughter’s diapers
    when i accidentally pushed the pin right through her leg
    her eyes got wide, she looked surprised… but she didn’t cry
    until i noticed what i’d done and pulled the pin out
    then she wailed as the blood spilled out the two holes

    don’t send the parent police–they are 30 and 28 now, happy…not dead

    Reply
  259. Serena Woodward

    When I first listened to this song and saw that you had asked for us to share stories I thought, “Should I give her the whole list, or just my top five?” I decided on top five. When my daughter was two we were going into our local bookstore and I didn’t see her step in front of me, I smacked her in the head with the big metal and glass door. She had a knot and a black eye for a week. I felt like the worst parent ever.

    When she was four I left some change on my night table and for some reason she put it in her mouth after I put her to bed. I was in the other room watching a movie with my boyfriend and luckily I hear her chocking. When I got to her, she was gasping and turning blue. My boyfriend did the Heimlich on her and then I didn’t put her down for 24 hours.

    When my son was six months old we were driving down the highway and it was really windy in the car, we couldn’t figure out why. I turned around and the side door on the minivan….the one right next to the baby….was wide open.

    When he was three, I was cleaning and not paying close attention to him. He was running with a drinking straw in his mouth and tripped. It jammed into the roof of his mouth. I had to explain what happened to the ER doctor.

    Number five is all encompassing. There have been days when I’m tired and stressed and I have simply not liked my children a whole lot. I have wanted to just walk away for a day. I have wanted to never hear another person call me “Mom”. I felt guilty for days every time.

    Honey, you are not alone. Not ever. We all have days where we feel alone and helpless or angry and stressed. We make jokes about the things we do and the things our children do with each other. Ask any mom you know, and without much hesitation she will likely launch into stories about the time her child did *insert craziness here* or the time she *insert emotional breakdown here*.

    Please, please remember that you are not alone. Please remind yourself daily that there is no such thing as a perfect mom. Please remember that it is okay to want time to yourself. Please remind yourself daily that you are more than “Mom”.

    Reply
  260. Carmen

    I also fell when I was a baby, right off my crib, I crawled up and then: boom. On the floor. Nothing happened though, I’m finishing high school so I think I’m okay.

    Reply
    • Carmen

      Also, my mom crossed the street while the light was still red, which I know is not that big deal, but it kind of is when you have a stroller and a baby inside (me), plus a four year old shouting not to cross because the light is red.
      You are a great mom, I can’t wait to see what Ash grows up to be.

      Reply
  261. Dora Tonksová

    I saw you wanted people to share their fuck ups, so… yeah. I’m not a mom, just a sister, but my brother made me believe I could not take care of a child. I mean I didn’t fuck up that bad, there are other reasons. But I did have a panic attack one night when he woke up crying and I spent an hour trying to calm him and, totally knackered, started crying too, and it built up so much I had to call my mom cause I was just not good enough. And when I played with him and he was laughing one moment and the next I used too much strength and he fell on his nose on the carpet and had a bruise and a burn and mom was afraid that if it gets swollen he could stop breathing. And those countless times he was too difficult and I was too scared to let him go anywhere so he had to hold my hand every second on a walk and when he threw a tantrum and tried to run away, I pulled him back, he lay on the road and I looked like I was abusing him, or that time he almost ran under a bus… and now I’m crying cause this is too much.
    But just so you know, I understand your fear, because my mom didn’t go to a psychologist with him for a long time, didn’t ask for help, because he was a very difficult child and she was afraid they would think they can’t manage him, or that they’re causing it… sometimes they don’t look at WHY it happened and that is scary as fuck. But you’re definitely not alone.

    Reply
  262. Ty

    I have absolutely no parenting experience and I still feel like I relate to this song. AFP just has that raw emotional power that pulls you in and won’t let go. I absolutely love it! Will be sharing with all my parent friends

    Reply
  263. Mina Matthews

    Amanda thank you for putting this song together. Truly, you’ve captured the beat of every mother’s heart, I think. How many times have we checked to see if our babies are still breathing? I have a 16 month old, and I can tell you that it does change. I cannot tell you how, but simply that it does (though, for me at least, that feeling of “at least the baby didn’t die” never seems to fade). Your song is beautiful.

    Thank you for this honesty. Thank you for always being willing to speak what others cannot say out loud (for whatever reason). Art for art, here is something I wrote a couple of weeks ago that maybe was for you. :)

    Becoming a mother (perhaps parent?, but I dare not speak for all
    experience and my experience is mother) is like opening your body with a
    blade and exposing a vibrating, raw nerve to the entire world.
    Suddenly, everything comes surging, stinging into you like saltwater.
    Every child in the world becomes your child. Every story in the world
    becomes your story/your child’s story. Every experience you have is
    amplified like a giant pyramid, constantly reminding you how fragile it
    all is (and how we are tragically alone, but so not alone).

    Remember Luce Irigaray’s thoughts on the matter (so much more palatable
    than Sartre’s)–the air which separates us (re: Nausea) actually unites
    it because that air touches me always while it touches you. We are one.
    Our electrons are one. We are never really alone.

    And having
    said that, my darling daughter will never have so much as a sliver of
    understanding as to what it means for me to love her. She will grow up
    and move out and become her own person (hopefully everything I do, with
    such fierce intention, will support her development into her own person
    in spite of every nerve in my body crying out to keep and coddle her
    senseless). And when she does grow and go, I will still love her like
    this vibrating, open wound of enormity and empathy and she’ll only know
    the words to the song.

    Reply
  264. Brittany

    At the age of 2 and newborn my daughters witnessed the end of an abusive relationship. In my heart I hope it serves as an example of worth to them. Still I worry sometimes that they’ll lack something being raised by one parent. The guilt only has claws when I think back to all the shit that should have been love and hope that I absorbed it completely enough that they didn’t have to. Your music is medicine on the challenging days. Babies are forgiving and I feel you’ll be an excellent teacher.

    Reply
  265. LLW

    Your voice is absolutely beautiful in this song. And little Anthony is so adorable!

    Reply
  266. Megan McEwen

    This had me sobbing and smiling and remembering and loving my kids…while shushing them so I could listen (another fault of mine). I can relate to everything you said. Everything. I unwittingly shoplifted some perfume from a Duty Free once while carrying my baby (brought it right back, but it was really embarrassing). I also did the dumbest thing ever once: my 1.5-year-old daughter had an ear infection. The antibiotics the doctor had prescribed were giving her so much diarrhea, she was dehydrated and listless. I had the end of some other antibiotics left from her prior ear infection, and she’d never had a back reaction to those before. I gave her a couple of doses of those. The two combined to give her a giant rash all over her body and put her into a listless state for two days.
    She’s going to be 8 on Thursday. A miracle. I can’t believe she survived all the stupid stuff I did to her.
    My son will be five this year. He has weathered even more stupid stuff (distracted lack of seatbelt fastening being one). I shushed him during your song so I could hear it better. All he had wanted to say was, “Mommy, I think you’re lovely.” *sigh*
    They’ll grow. You’ll be amazed. You’ll start to forgive yourself, since you can’t blame yourself for the bad things you see in them without also giving yourself credit for the good things. And there are so many good things. They are truly the best parts of my day, and the only part of my legacy that’s worth a damn.
    Thank you for this song, and for this discussion. In the age of hyper-curated mommy blogs and Instagram feeds, people need to be able to tell the truth about the things they fear are the worst parts of them…if only to find out that those parts are not only not bad, but are not particular to them.

    Reply
  267. Chiara Manni

    One of the most terrifying/funniest moments I have ever witnessed was when my brother-in-law missed the chair with his butt whilst holding my newborn (actual newborn, less than 28 days old), and fell towards the cold hard ground in slow motion. We all held our breath until we had asserted that his posterior had absorbed the full force of the impact, then cry-laughed. You’re doing a great job, Amanda!

    Reply
  268. julianna

    amanda, you never know what terror is until you have a child. don’t worry, every parent who is capable of thinking wonders if they were capable of being a good parent. when he gets older, you will hate yourself (temporarily, i hope!) for things that you do or say – but you know what, kids really do know when you love them and they really do not have a problem forgiving you when you say that you are sorry. share one thing that i still feel terrible about 9 years later: our youngest spent a little over 2 months in the nicu and we came as close as possible to having a child die, without them actually dying – BUT one day, one of the 2 babies (out of 81) that were actually sicker than simon, died. the nurses asked us (our incubator was one over) to leave the room, to allow his family to say goodbye when they unplugged him from all the equipment that was keeping him alive. we walked out of there, and in the hallway i felt a rush of fierce joy that it wasn’t simon who was dying. followed by a wave of horror at myself and then a wave of sorrow and tears for sawyer’s family on the other side of a hospital door having their nightmare come true, and then a wave of fear that one day it could be us.. but that fierce, unexpected joy – shit.. xo julianna

    Reply
  269. julianna

    ps: we also had a dear friend lose her battle with cancer while i was pregnant with our daughter – rushed transatlantic flight to munich, went directly to the hospice, she died several hours later – knowing that we were going to add her name, ute, to elinor ishani.. i and the hospice nurse were the last people she saw before she died. xoxoxoxo

    Reply
  270. Nina Ray Stadler

    Thank you, thank you, BOTH of my kids fell of the bed in similar situations , you would have thought I learned my lesson with the first one but ,alas. Hey, you are out there ,and doing stuff! And dragging little Ash along for the ride, I am sure you feel like a basket case at times but you are such a source of inspiration to me as I am trying to record an album in the wee hours of the night as my kids sleep! I keep telling myself if Amanda Palmer can do this so can I. Thank you for posting the lyrics and the footnotes, I read all this yesterday when I was feeling pretty low and I laughed, I cried and I felt solidarity with you and all the other moms commenting on your blog. Thanks for letting me feel like I have a tribe!!

    Reply
  271. Leslie Durr

    Amanda, thank you. I have two kids, one is a baby, and “at least they didn’t die!” is the mantra I have cried/laughed to myself sometimes, collapsed on the closet floor, secretly smoking, complete mess, since I became a mom 4 years ago. And you’ve turned it into a song. I related so hard even to the little situations in this song, I cried and cried and laughed. Now I can sing my mantra, and I’m gonna sing it, probably gonna be singing it for the rest of my life. I am too timid to share my worst I’m-a-terrible-mother stories, but once I left my baby in her cot with no diaper and I only noticed when I heard her start gagging from trying to eat her own poop. At 3 she heard the story and rephrased it as “Remember that time you fed me poop?” I was terrified she was going to tell that someone and I’d have DSS at my door.

    Reply
  272. Alycia

    This song…so many feels. My daughter’s a little over a year old and listening to this song made me remember all those moments I felt like a failure as a mother and I’d just have to say “The baby’s alive, that’s all that matters.” The hardest was I couldn’t make enough breast milk to feed her. I did everything under the sun, but my body couldn’t do it. Between the frustration and the hormones I cried multiple times a day. I felt like I made a mistake, and would hide in the bathroom so my husband would have to watch her, even for just a few minutes.
    I felt like I failed the first time we put her in the nursery to sleep and she cried like I was betraying her. The first time she chocked on a piece of fruit (watermelon). The first time she rolled off the changing table when I was reaching for the wipes. When she threw herself off balance on the couch and fell off. There will be so many more, she’strying to walk.

    The baby’s alive, that’s all that matters.

    Reply
  273. butwait

    Thank you for this. Love that you thought of it and were able to pull it off and share it.

    Our boy, who has now successfully survived outside my womb for fourteen years, fell down our hardwood stairs twice when he was about three. The first time, my partner Terri – whose mama name is Tama – happened to be standing at the bottom of the stairs. Her athletic instincts kicked in – her dad was a football coach, so she grew up in a family in which catching the ball was super-important – and she basically plucked the boy from the air as he fell. He was a little bruised and shaken, but it was pretty clear he would be okay.

    A few weeks later he fell again (we had a gate at the top of the stairs, but we were transitioning into not using it because 98% of the time now he could navigate the stairs all by himself, no problem), only this time Terri wasn’t around and I was around the corner in the living room, so I got there in time to comfort him, but not in time to stop him from falling all the way to the first floor. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes as I held him tight and said, “Tama CAUGHT me!”

    You can only do what you can do. You’re doing great. Be kind to yourself and make sure Ash sees that, because someday he’ll need to be kind to himself, too.

    Reply
  274. Aaron J. Shay

    69 footnotes and 26 photographic exhibits… This is like your “House Of Leaves” (and I mean that in a good way).

    It was really fun recording the gang vocals for this! I’m glad that I got to be a small part of it all.

    Reply
  275. woollythinker

    My first baby fell all the way down the stairs, not once, but like… three times. Real, proper falling, down a whole flight. Three times. Clearly I am the worst, but nobody took my baby licence away so then I had ANOTHER baby, and this one has only fallen down stairs once (because we moved and no longer have stairs inside our actual flat), but he HAS rolled right off the changing table. But the babies didn’t die (and I’m pretty sure they’ve also escaped brain damage) and even I somehow survived the impossible, unbearable baby years. So I figure I’m ahead.

    Reply
  276. soha

    When our son was 4 months old, my partner dropped him. In the hospital they looked at us and asked: “this is your first child, right?” and sent us home. but we will never ever forget that day. He’s now five years old…

    Reply
  277. Theresa Pridemore

    Thanks for sharing these confessions. I don’t have any children of my own, but I was raised for a long portion of my life by a single mother and I am too familiar with how mothers torture themselves while in the midst of the almost impossible expectations brought to them under the yoke of motherhood. I know when talking to dear friends of mine who are mothers the level of shame that lurks under the surface. There is so little permission in our culture to talk openly about these very real and normal things. By being open about it you end up with a crosshair on your forehead. But thank god, you also give other women permission to unlock that closet of shame and share their experiences. We all need that healing, whether you’re a mother or not. It takes a lot of courage to be open and to keep living in a big way and not let it shrink you. Life has so much more potential than spending all our energy avoiding potential disaster and making sure we’re always 100% ethical all the time. You gotta live. And that is something you do with intense passion and grace. I know Ash will appreciate that you taught him that, most of all.

    Reply
  278. Sandra Jean Taylor

    I am laughing and crying. Your honesty is what makes motherhood frustratingly beautiful. I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten in the car and cried. Sometimes the tears are happy, most of the time they are not happy. Not happy doesn’t mean sad though. It is so weird how motherhood gives us these new emotions that reflection changes how they feel.
    I forgot a special night at my older daughter’s school this week, I had to go sit outside and cry because my youngest was inconsolable this week and I didn’t know what to do. You are amazing and I hope this will help all of us have more honest conversations.

    Reply
  279. Steffanie Yeakle Lemasson

    My 14 year old is still mad at me for the tip of ear that I cut off when I was trimming his hair. He must have been 5 years old or so. You can still see the scar / missing bit. Unlike my daughter, no scar left on her back where I stabbed her with the scissors I was cutting her hair with. Needless to say, nobody allows me near their hair anymore.

    Reply
  280. Marguerite

    Oh Amanda, you are so, so normal and so not alone – not in your tears, not in your doubts, and not in leaving the baby in the car. Yep, I left my 1month old sleeping baby in the car, in the garage, while my very pregnant girlfriend and I ran in to get a drink, started talking about childbirth and babies, and kept talking until my husband walked in and asked where the baby was … oops. He was in the car, screaming, as it were. At my 6 week post-birth appointment, when asked how I was doing I answered, “Okay. But I have become acutely aware that you have no return window.” He laughed. I wasn’t kidding. A couple weeks after that, just a block away from my girlfriend’s house, I was pulled over for an expired registration. My baby was screaming and I was flustered. I asked if I could just drive to her house & he could ticket me there. The young policeman – despite the screaming baby – said no, and kept talking. Then I started sobbing and asked if I could at least get out of the car and pick my baby up, please? At this point he was as flustered as me by the screaming and let me go. But when I started working again (he was 4 months now) I still hadn’t renewed the registration. I was overwhelmed, trying to work a reduced schedule at a new job, leave my baby with a sitter, and keep nursing. On the way home during the 1st week on the job, I got pulled over for the same expired registration. My breasts were full of milk and hard and I was already fighting tears before the officer got to the window. He took my license back to his car and my phone rang. My husband asked where I was & I started sobbing so hard he couldn’t understand me. My milk let down. I hung up. The officer walked back to my window. Now I had two very large wet spots on the front of my orange silk blouse and a snotty nose. The officer looked everywhere but at me as he handed me the ticket and said, “It’s not even a moving violation, M’am.” I took the ticket from him, looked him in the eye and sobbed,”It’s not the ticket. It’s my ‘horm-moan-es.’” I still wonder who was more traumatized by that traffic stop. lol. When I got home I undressed and laid down on the bed to feed my baby. And in runs my extremely pale, panting husband who had raced home thinking something had happened to me or the baby because I was sobbing. Those are just from the first 4months of the first child’s life. I have 3 boys. I cried more than they did during the first months. I probably would have given each of them away during the first 12 weeks – if I wouldn’t have been arrested. Hang in there. It gets better. {{hugs}}

    Reply
  281. Christy Love Richards

    you as a parent will have a roller coaster of moments, hours and days……one moment all is well, then the next it feels like it is falling apart. little or big, you will have them and you will get thru it. my son was about 8 mouths at the time, very early in the morning and not enough sleep the night before. i put Kyle on the changing table, took off his diaper and turned in my spot to get a new one, and he pushed his legs and down he went to the floor. i just stood as he cried, so afraid to move him. i stopped breathing, his dad herd him and ran to pick him up,cause i could not move. we took him to the er to make sure he was fine. everything checked out fine. Kyle is 15 now and is healthy as can be. it was a terrible moment in a sea of wonderful moments. you are one of millions of wonderful moms that have bad moments mixed in wonderful ones. you will get thru it and you will be fine. just breath, know you are not alone, and one day when your son is old enough to tell you he loves you and says thank you for being his mom, it is all worth it. xoxoxo

    Reply
  282. Kathy

    Oh, Amanda! I am an old woman now having birthed my babies in the early 80s. But you have written a song that brings back visceral memories of how frightening, scattered, bewildering and beautiful those times where. You have captured it beautifully! Take heart, Dear One! You are not alone! All mothers are with you!

    Reply
  283. Cheryl Barnes-Neff

    The fun thing will be when Ash is old enough to hear this song for you to see his reaction. I have lots of crazy stories of things that happened with a very active baby as a sleep deprived mother, with the added burden of being a nurse, so I should know better right? But he’s thirty two now, one of the most compassionate people I know, really talented, has lots of great friends, and he still loves me. Have heart – it’s a wild and crazy ride, and it’s worth it.

    Reply
  284. Shaina Rose Horner

    So our boys are really close in age (mine was born Sept 1). And when he was 3mo old, I set him down on the seat of the glider for a second while I grabbed a diaper to change him. His feet were facing the back of the chair, and he kicked, and the chair rocked back, then forward, catapulting him off onto the floor between the chair and ottoman (where he bonked his head on the ottoman base. He Screamed. And I held him, and rocked, and wept, and said Sorry a million fucking times.

    Reply
  285. Laura Goodell

    Oh Amanda , when my son was two weeks old I looked at him and felt such a rush of love unlike anything I’d ever felt, my next thought was ” how can I possibly keep him alive ?”
    I also locked him in the car with the car keys, my brothers car that I’d borrowed to take him to a Drs appt. I was so panicked I couldn’t remember my brothers work number to call and see if he had extra keys. I tried to smash the window and couldn’t. The baby IS in the sun and now crying , I finally remember the phone number and my brother said DO NOT smash the window I’ll be right there. I was a single mom , no car .
    As soon as a baby senses that you believe they can not move or roll over they WILL for the first time ,contriving to fall off of wherever they have been “safely” placed . They will then cry inconsolably until you do too.
    My children are now 18 and 23. My children have helped to shape me into the best possible human I can be.
    When we talk about the “misadventures” of their childhoods they tell me “mom it’s okay , don’t feel guilty” because despite all odds I did manage to keep them both alive!
    You will too , and Ash will raise you to be the best human being you can be .

    Love to you Amanda
    Xo Laura

    Reply
  286. Anne H

    My son is now 12, and despite being dropped on his head several times, he’s top of his class and loving Maths and Chemistry. He has fallen from the changing table, my lap, the sofa, the car seat (dad opened son’s seatbelt _before_ he walked around the car to open the door – baby dived headfirst into the street and continued into the ditch. At least he’s still alive.

    At 3 yrs, I was teaching him to eat wood sorrels and garden sorrels from the yard. A few days later had to call Poison Control as he and kid next door had been eating poisonous plants from neighbours garden. Yeah, still alive.

    Reply
  287. Sim

    Thank goodness for other mothers to help with this ever challenging project. I left my child on a couch in a hotel when she just four years old. I’ll never get the sound of the slap out of my head as she hit the polished concrete floor. A friend that same week had her daughter fall out of the pram onto an asphalt road head first. It is so hard to stay present and focused with so many thoughts, worries and words running through your mind. Sometimes I too wonder if I was meant for this job. I can’t focus on anything else but her when she’s awake, don’t get me wrong I love her to death but I also have a never quiet mind that wants so desperately to be free and occasionally free of responsibility. I feel like I became an adult overnight. I need to feel the wind in my hair as I cycle down a road, to have a burst of creative energy and have the mind space to follow through with it!

    Reply
  288. Sim

    Thank goodness for other mothers to help with this ever challenging project. I left my child on a couch in a hotel when she just four years old. I’ll never get the sound of the slap out of my head as she hit the polished concrete floor. A friend that same week had her daughter fall out of the pram onto an asphalt road head first. It is so hard to stay present and focused with so many thoughts, worries and words running through your mind. Sometimes I too wonder if I was meant for this job. I can’t focus on anything else but her when she’s awake, don’t get me wrong I love her to death but I also have a never quiet mind that wants so desperately to be free and occasionally free of responsibility. I feel like I became an adult overnight. I need to feel the wind in my hair as I cycle down a road, to have a burst of creative energy and have the mind space to follow through with it!

    Reply
  289. Dorothy

    One has not truly crossed the threshold of parenthood if one has not almost maimed their child. Congrats but be forewarned, this is the easy part. Wait til he talks and is capable of sharing his version of the incidents. Duct tape comes in pretty colors now.

    Reply
  290. Discoverylover

    I’m not a parent but my Mum told me that I was almost kidnapped as a baby. We were living in Zimbabwe and she left me in the car while she went in to the bank. She came back out and some people told her that a couple of other people had been trying to get in to the car and they’d stopped them.

    Reply
  291. Mel Mahler

    Been there, done that. I’m a mother of six, and the youngest is sixteen, and I was just asking his next oldest sibling, sister, am I a bad mother? I don’t really have doubts anymore, the kids are grown and good people, but I remember. Some things you get better at (by the time I had several I just put the baby on the floor), some things still happen (left the youngest in the car once…) Now I am waiting for grandchildren, and the chance to reassure my kids when they worry if they are the worst parents in the world. I had that. I had to learn parenting from scratch, from books, worried any time I did something my mother had done. I still survived. Children are remarkably resilient. More so than us worried moms I sometimes think. You are doing everything right, really. I used to say the #1 job of a mother is to worry. You’ve got that down. Now give yourself a break because, after all, the baby didn’t die. He didn’t even get injured. I love that song, btw.

    Reply
  292. lentower

    epic ode! you’re the punk cabaret’s Homer!

    you’re also a great Mom !!!

    Reply
  293. Eben Dombay Williams

    Hey Amanda! I ain’t a mother but I’ve got one, and she’s awesome! I was probably dropped a million times growing up… but then as my mum says: babies bounce! My story is that back when we used to live in London, my mum got locked out of the house once with me still inside at about 4 years old, she was terrified… She spoke to me through the letterbox to try and calm me down and get me to reach the latch and open the door but it was too high up and I couldn’t reach. My dad was at work and he had the spare key but she couldn’t get in touch with him, so ended up having to phone the police. When they finally got the door open they found me asleep in front of the TV, I think I’d got so stressed out that I’d put on sesame street to calm myself down, haha. You can imagine how awful that must have been for her at the time but we all laugh about it now. My mum’s still a bad-ass, she did a terrific job with me and still does with my brothers. It sounds like you’ve got love and that’s all that matters really! xxx

    Reply
  294. Adrianne Sylvester

    ((((hugs @amandapalmer:disqus !!)))) 5 babies, and serious screw-ups with most of them – Bowie is only 2 months younger than Ash so I haven’t had as much time to screw up that bad with him, except for almost dropping him – attempting too much multitasking while breastfeeding. ;) The screw-ups have gotten less with each subsequent baby, so if/when you & Neil have another, you’ll find it easier next time! LOL Some of my worst “mom guilt” moments, most of which I haven’t admitted to anyone and all of which I’m ashamed of big time:

    - Being in a hurry and refusing to stop for a potty break when my oldest was 4 and, unbeknownst to me, coming down with the stomach flu. Spare you the details. ‘Nuff said.
    - Thinking my 2nd son, at age 3.5, was throwing a tantrum when he really had broken his arm. Badly. Needed surgery. :’(
    - Leaving the kids in the car while I ran in “real quick” to drop off my auto insurance check, agent got chatty, went back to car to find it was suuuppper hot in there to the point my then-2-yr-old daughter was screaming with a nosebleed. I cried. Actually, I cried with all of these.
    - Forgetting to pick up my son from school when he had an appointment – spaced on both completely. A kind neighbor drove him home because she happened to be there.
    - With baby #4, I was a wreck with PPD and didn’t notice that she was losing weight, even though she was nursing constantly. She was hospitalized for a week, and monitored for 2 months. Worrying that my baby might die sure snapped me out of my depression!

    But with all the screw-ups, bad mommy moments where I’ve been an irritable bitch instead of Mary Fucking Poppins, dropping f-bombs in front of my kids, etc – at least the baby didn’t die! I think we all worry about this, and the fact that you DO worry about it means you’re a good mom! You care – you’re trying hard – doing a great job – and that’s all any of us can do! Keep loving that beautiful baby! Loooovvvve yoooouuu!! <3

    Reply
  295. Noomi

    He is almost 9 months old and snoring next to me (he has a cold and does not usually snore). So far we’ve done pretty well. The scariest was last weekend when he was playing on the futon sofa next to me (it sort of leans up so harder to get out of) and I was putting on make up to go out and he just launched himself off. I didn’t catch him. I just saw him fall in the corner of my eye and then he was on the floor. It wasn’t high and on a rug. He didn’t hit the table. None of the terrible things I fear have happened yet. He actually has his first bruise on his little knee but I have no idea where he got it. I love the song. And I love all the confessions/comments. Makes me cry and smile and cry. And I love the blanket. And I panic when he cries and I am driving. I hate it. And I cannot believe that there is no better way of driving with an infant. And I have learnt to breastfeed him in the seat if I am in the back and my husband is driving. It has saved many panicked traffic jams/motorway journeys. Thank you for making art. Love you.

    Reply
  296. Kristina Sloan

    Accidently stolen so many things in the stroller (most of which I returned, usually the next day, but the time I accidently absconded with a book from the bookstore I read it before I returned it; in my defense it was a 5 mile round-trip walk with two kids in 90 degree heat, and I just couldn’t face doing it again the next day, so I skipped a day before making the trek). My oldest rolled off the changing table. I fell down the stairs while carrying both kids at once because I was too tired to make two trips. Put 2mo old in the car seat but forgot to buckle her in, about 10 miles down the road I looked back at her and realized what I had done and started screaming at her dad to pull over, nearly causing an accident in my hysteria (I’m normally pretty laid back), then cried inconsolable for 20 min. So very many more things, far too many to list. Related only to the mommy brain mush; took baby to a baby shower for a friend, baby started vomiting mid-party (actual vomit, not spit-up), which I caught in my hands to save the carpet. Quickly wiped my hands with a napkin, cleaned her up and rushed out to the car with my mom. Someone handed me a plate of food to eat while my mom drove us home, figuring I might not get a chance to eat later. I was scaring down nachos as we drove, licking nacho cheese from my fingers, when I realized I’d never actually washed my puky hands, and they still smelled like vomit. I was halfway through though, so I just finished my dinner.

    Reply
  297. Pamela jaramillo

    There was one time my first child rolled off the bed into my purse while he was asleep and I panicked for about an hour trying to find him until I finally found him sound asleep in my purse. And then when he was about three he went and grabbed the bar where the belt goes on the vacuum and had to take a trip to the E.R. because he got a 3 degree burn. But there was no incident with my second child. (Luckily)

    Reply
  298. Cat Maine

    yessssssssssssss! we have all done all of these things!! You are a magical mom, regardless. :) <3

    Reply
  299. Sherri Collett

    I wanted to share with you, about my recent baby arrival, but I haven’t had the chance to do it, I did type something out on twitter, but since I don’t tweet much I didn’t realize I was restricted to a maximum amount of letters and I tend to write quite wordy, I failed. its important to me that I share with you because I want to thank you. I am 37 years old, with a 17 year old son, I never, EVER, wanted to be pregnant and have another child, I was ready to rock the alone time, I have severe phobias and one is child birth, also, what world is this?. when I found out I was pregnant last year, I was a jumble of emotions, fears, anxiety and depression, I kept the pregnancy for my future husband’s sake and because after three miscarriages in my life, I couldn’t bring myself to lose another life. when I heard you were also pregnant it gave me quite a bit of strength and courage. I was afraid of my age, medically and socially, for baby and me. I was afraid of loss of freedom, I was afraid of a lot. I was a single mother with my first son and until he was about 13, we lived in poverty, I didn’t want that again. your strength gave me strength to overcome a lot of fear. while I was pregnant my father passed away, so far its the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, following his death my grandmother had a stroke and is now in a nursing home, I found out my grandfather has Alzheimer’s (I hadn’t seen him in a year, it was a devastating visit) my aunt passed a few months later… it seemed my family was cursed. I was pregnant the entire time. I was severely depressed, that is an understatement. when I would log into social media I would see your posts, I would feel less alone, I would feel your courage and strength. i am trying to make this short. thank you for sharing your life. thank you for helping. baby is now about to be 4 months, hes the best thing ever, my freedom isn’t gone, just temporarily disabled. hes healthy and labor was rough but we lived. most days i am losing my mind, i am stressed out, bumbling through motherhood, but my sons are my life and they bring me happiness. so far i have no guilty stories with this one, possibly because i have OCD and its been fully dedicated to hovering and micromanaging everything about baby, i have realized the deaths in the past year have gave me PTSD and now i am terrified of losing him (yay therapy!)
    My first son, i was very young and had no idea what i was doing, there was a pack of cigarettes left in arms reach and he had just started standing, he found them and quietly ate half a pack, i found him (due to being oddly quiet) and gagged him over the sink.. one day he was pulling himself up on the radio stand and shaking (dancing) and a large porcelain unicorn left a cut and small egg bruise on his head after falling from about two feet above (i sat and rocked him, crying, in fear he had a concussion)… i almost left him in the car several times, the feeling of naked arm (that feeling you get when youre so used to holding something and then its gone) is what saved him and me…once i was on the computer chatting or something and he was sitting behind me, about 2 years old, i wasn’t paying attention and he nodded off, fell off the box tower he had built and somehow went face first into something and blood was everywhere, we went to the ER and he had just bloodied his nose and his teeth penetrated the inside of his mouth, causing a LOT of blood, i had convinced myself on the way to the hospital that he was dying and i was the devil.. but probably the worst was sometimes i would get incredibly angry from exhaustion when he was in his first year.. i think i feel the worst about that, getting so angry i had to leave the room to calm down, zero sleep, chaos, him crying so much and not sleeping as im delirious with sleep depravation… i might have yelled at a baby a few times and then hunkered down in guilt and shame and cried with him.
    thank you again for giving me strength.

    Reply
    • Antoinette

      I love your comment! I can relate with the OCD. Read my post as well. I just posted today. We could be friends!

      Reply
  300. Kirsteen Black

    The first time my mum went shopping at the local corner shop she left me in my pram behind because she forgot she had baby and was so used to just walking home without a pram. I went head first down the stairs after first learning to walk. My dad tried to catch me and instead we both ended up rolling down the stairs, though he came of worse than I did. And my sister has been scalded, left in a car and had a full glass cabinet fall on her. We are both functioning adults and now what were horrifying moments originally for my parents are now funny stories we all laugh over.

    Reply
  301. Bee

    I dropped my son when he was a baby. Just dropped him. I was switching arms and suddenly the baby was gone. SO MUCH GUILT.
    And the time he fell all the way down the stairs because I didn’t have a baby gate. I relate to the speeding and screaming so much. The first time it ever happened to me I just sobbed and sobbed when I finally got to feed him. I was just lucky not to have been caught because without realising it I think I was going at least 20mph over the speed limit. He was about four months old. It happens.

    I can’t even count the number of times I’ve held my kid and cried just saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He was usually asleep at the time. I don’t know a single parent who doesn’t have about a thousand of these stories. For instance, my aunt fell down the stairs carrying her eldest son and both his legs broke. He was less than a year old, I think. He’s fine now, but I imagine the mom guilt was monumental. The time I fell down the stairs holding my kid I picked him up and checked him all over and immediately declared, “At least I didn’t break his legs.” He was screaming and I’d scared him (and bruised my tailbone) but at least he was in one piece, right??

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  302. Antoinette

    I’ve always had OCD since I was around 19, and since I had my baby, the OCD themes changed to my mistakes with my child. Unlike some of things you’ve mentioned in the song, I’ve done things on purpose with my son, that haunt me every second of every day. I have 3 incidents that replay in my head every moment of every day. I analyze my actions over and over. I decide what I did was ok, until I analyze it again, and decide it wasn’t ok. My ambivalence constantly tortures me. I’ve been in counseling since I was 20 and nothing helps. I’ve come to just live with the OCD and accept it will never go away, and as my son grows older, I know will add more and more incidents to obsess about. Here are the things I’m embarrassed, ashamed, and sad about every day. These incidents rotate depending on different triggers.
    The first incident was on Halloween. My son was asleep in my bed and I was just about done with my Halloween makeup when my son woke up. He usually has to be nursed right when he wakes up because he gets really upset, but I just needed literally one minute to finish my makeup. I put him in a bouncy chair next to me while I did my makeup and he screamed and cried so hard. I couldn’t leave my baby to cry, so I picked him up, nursed him, and not wanting to put him in the awful torture chair again, frantically looked for something that would keep him happy for a minute. I saw my makeup case. He loves playing with my makeup case, and I haven’t ever seen him stick anything in his mouth, so I decided that for one minute, he could safely play with the makeup case while I finished my eyeliner. I put him on the floor a few feet from me with the makeup, and he was happy. Phew. I quickly finished my eyeliner, just trying to hurry and worrying in the back of my mind if he was ok, but didn’t even think to look back at him every few seconds. My only objective was to finish what I was doing and get back to him. He was fine when I returned to him, happily playing with a Q tip. We got our Spiderman themed costumes on and had a great night. The next morning, I got a sick feeling in my stomach when I remembered what I had done. I told my husband about it, and he thought it was fine since our son plays with the makeup all the time. I looked at the makeup case again, and I found a cough drop. An evil choking hazard that kills children or makes them brain dead when they choke on them and can’t get any oxygen. Just look up Lily Higgins. She’s paralyzed for life. I spend hours a day looking up the words “choking hazards”, “cough drop”, “child died from cough drop” on Google just to torture myself and prove to myself that what I did was wrong. I’d rather let a baby play with something unsafe than let him cry for a moment? Where’s my logic? When I finally calm down from my daily panic attacks, I tell myself, “The only thing that matters is that he’s ok.”, similar to your lyric, “at least the baby didn’t die.”
    The second incident is the infamous Old Navy incident. There was an awkwardly set up display of pants in the kids’ section and I was determined to find a pair large enough to squeeze my fat, postpartum ass into, since it would make me feel skinny again since I used to fit into kids’ pants pre-baby(I’m 5’0″ and just over 100 lbs.). I didn’t see how I could look at the display so i decided to park the cart with my baby behind me, and then walk forward to look at the pants. I rationalized that he’ll be ok for a second. The even dumber thing was that I parked the cart so that he could not see me, and I could not see him, since we were back to back to each other. I frantically searched for a pair of pants, paranoid that I couldn’t see my baby, but feeling stuck with my decision. A little girl with her mom approached the cart and said, “Look at the cute baby, mom!” That snapped me immediately out of it. I imagined how that looked to the mom and the girl, a child in a cart with her mother facing the opposite direction and not in her line of view. I started babywearing when I shopped after that. I feared getting distracted again and someone stealing my child from a cart. I Google “child stolen from shopping cart” or “shopping cart abduction” almost daily. I’ve had my husband block Google and Facebook so I can’t search or ask people what they think about the incident or other incidents.
    The last one is the one I’m very ashamed of. Unlike you, I intentionally left my baby in the car. We were getting ready to drive off when I remembered that I’d used the stove before we left and wasn’t sure if I’d shut it off. Pre-baby, I’ve left the stove on with food in it overnight while I slept, so I don’t play around with stoves being left on. I decided that I probably shut it off, and started to leave. I had a terrible image of my house burning down with our dog in it, so I decided I needed to check it. But, the baby’s carseat was heavy! I barely got it into the car (seriously, they aren’t very friendly to mothers who are the size of middle schoolers)! I went back and forth in my head, should I drive off, or should I leave the baby in the car and check the stove? I didn’t even think of unbuckling the baby out of the carseat and taking him in with me. I’m ashamed that I thought of no other solution. So, I decided the baby will be ok for under a minute in the driveway with the doors locked, me taking the keys, on a January afternoon where it isn’t too hot or cold. I ran in, checked the stove (it was off, of course, but I touched the knobs just in case), and then ran back to the car and checked on my happy, smiling guy, that I expected to be crying because mommy left him in the car. The day went on. The next day I got the pit in my stomach feeling and once again asked my husband what he thought. He said that he thinks the baby should go wherever I go, but what I did was ok and safe. Once again, Google to the rescue. Last night I spent about an hour looking for “baby stolen from driveway”. I’ve yet to find a case where a baby was stolen in a locked car where the mother took the keys with her, but if I search hard enough I might find such a case. It’s no reassurance that the only stories I’ve encountered of children being stolen are when parents leave the car running with the baby inside, because anything is possible, and one day Google might show me a story like that so I can prove to myself how wrong I was. I was terribly upset when I ran across an article that called mothers who leave their babies in the driveway “lazy”. They don’t know how hard it is for a petite woman to carry a carseat!
    I feel that other mothers’ mistakes are ok because they weren’t intentional (like when you thought your baby couldn’t roll off the table). Mine were intentional choices. I’m way worse than any of these mothers who posted here.
    I digress, because at least the baby didn’t die, Amanda. I love your song. I’m crazy for life, but at least my mistakes have taught me how to keep my baby alive.

    Reply
  303. Stephanie Rowe

    Oh god, where do I begin? I have two boys and they are 5.5 years apart. My firstborn is VERY cautious and observant. He would rather watch the party than participate in it. My secondborn is the LIFE of the party. I knew early on that I should’ve named him Loki. I was told repeatedly while pregnant with him that he was a girl, until the last ultrasound at 36 weeks when he suddenly became boy. He is 6 now and has given himself 2 concussions, broken his arm while playing right in front of us, almost drowned twice and still has no fear. These kids are so resilient. Its amazing that the human race has survived this far and yet, we do.

    Reply
  304. Nicole

    Amanda, oh my god. I feel like I could have written this song, except for the details about Neil and his relatives. Everything else, spot on. I have two kids, the oldest is 4.5, the youngest, 1.5. I have shoplifted so much shit on accident, but I don’t notice till I’ve got them all loaded back in the car and they’re tired and hungry and walking all the way back into the store sounds like hell on earth. And to be fair, I had just bought like $100 worth of crap. And I locked my 4.5 year old in the car accidentally when he was like six months old, but at least the car was running and we were in the shade. And I feel so useless, as well. I drive them around doing errands and listen to NPR (my only connection with the outside world, half the time) and I feel like I’m doing nothing. I’m a writer. I have a fucking M.A. I worked as an editor for five years before I had kids. And I know it will get better. But right now I’m barely carving out time to work on my career. I love my kids to death. But sometimes I feel so lost. Thanks for this confession.

    p.s. One time my son fell off the changing table because I didn’t know he could roll over yet. He never had. At least he’s ok! Right?!

    Reply
  305. Karly

    Pretty sure the guilt-inducing events never end… This weekend I decided to wean my 18 month old completely, something that neither of us really wanted to do but it needed to happen. My period decided to arrive at the exact same time so I got hit with a double-whammy of fucked up hormone levels. My daughter and I spent the entire weekend going through a roller-coaster of emotions. One minute we loved each other the next minute we despised each other…it was so tough, at one point she was way past due for her nap and we were both so upset and frustrated I had to leave her room and scream into a pillow, something I’ve never done before. Everytime I lose my patience with her I feel so much instant guilt, like I’m the worst mother in the world. Who in their right mind freaks out on a baby who can’t talk or explain herself? This weekend I was convinced that my baby hated me and would never love me the way she used to…then when she finally did fall asleep in my arms I started to put her in her crib and she grabbed onto me in her sleep in such a sweet and innocent way that I just melted into a puddle of tears… These ugly moments that are seared into our brains are not the only moments with our children… luckily they are too young to hold these moments against us, they still love us and need us and want us to love and comfort them… I have to keep reminding myself that… perspective is SO important when you’re in the early years of parenting… Ok I’m gonna go cry again now…

    Reply
  306. Lucy j

    I left my second baby (now 3 months) on the sofa, for a second, at a few days old. He rolled off. I should have known. This was my SECOND baby. Anyway, after that I remembered a saying from the first time. A baby can’t fall off the floor. I am sticking with that now.
    The mothers guilt is ever present, but we are all trying our best, right? X

    Reply
  307. Jane Brown

    I was carrying my son (then aged about 3 months) in a shoulder sling and I bent to pick something off the floor. He fell out of the sling and landed on his head on the floor about 18 inches below. I was terrified of what I’d done and drove straight to the doctor’s. They said that he was fine and he’s 15 today and his head looks OK and he seems fairly intelligent so I think I got away with that one. I’ll never forget how I felt though.

    Reply
  308. Teresa Toro

    This is so raw and honest, and I’m still celebrating my feelings of honor, wonder and privilege that I get to be a part of this as a patron… though I’m disturbed that mother-hormones have awoken a startling kleptomania in you, along with the nurturing. I’m here if you need to share. XOX

    Reply
  309. Theresa Jarosz Alberti

    Aw Amanda, what a sweet story-song. I love how you are representing so beautifully and tenderly all the moments of emotional turmoil that mothers go through. Most of us have done everything you wrote about. Gee, now I’m having flashbacks to my baby son falling down the stairs in one of those baby-walkers-on-wheels that we used to have back in the day. He’s now 21 and survived quite well. :-) But that moment sure sucked.

    As for the unintended thefts, that does happen to me too. But I try to be kind to myself about it and think about all the times the store has over-charged me (so often!) or I’ve paid for 2 instead of the 1 I bought and I don’t bother to go back for a refund… so it all evens out in the end. These are all mistakes, and mistakes happen.

    Keep writing… more mothers need to write and share the real experiences.

    Reply
    • Theresa Jarosz Alberti

      Oh! one more cringe moment– we brought home our preemie twins from the hospital, these little 4.5 lbs babies (so sweet), hooked up on apnea monitors, and my husband dropped one of them face down on the floor! We were horrified and terrified, and luckily his mother was there to pick up the baby and reassure us that everything was okay. And it was. They are now 24. Parenting is sure an adventure.

      Reply
  310. Eva

    Finally found the time to listen to your song. In the last seconds, when I heard the baby sounds, I realized that I had forgotten to turn on the baby monitor for my sleeping (nearly) 2-year old son. Aaaah!

    Reply
  311. Nadine Warncken

    Oh boy. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I cried. I laughed.
    When the little one was just a few weeks old we were lying on the couch nursing. I was checking my emails on my cell phone or something (no, I wasn’t totally zen about feeding my baby with my boobs like you’re supposed to. I was just plain bored.) and I dropped it on the baby’s head. I felt so bad. I was convinced for a minute that I’d have to take him to the hospital immediately, that he’d have brain damage and would possibly die. (He didn’t. He was totally fine.)
    I cannot count the times I bumped his feet against a doorframe while walking through it.
    And when he was six weeks old my husband had to have surgery on his heart. They had to replace a valve. I was sitting at home alone (with the baby) waiting for the doctor to call and tell me my husband was allright. The call didn’t come. I was freaking out. I forgot to eat. The baby was freaking out with me. When the call finally came I broke down. I had been so scared. People (family) had to come and take the baby, because I couldn’t take care of him. I was diagnosed with postnatal depression later.
    Yep. Being a parent is fucking hard. We’re all doing our best.
    I love you.

    Reply
  312. Wick

    No kids. The greatest and maybe only regret of my life. Thank you for this beautiful epiphany. You’re all gonna be fine.

    Reply
  313. Emma Small

    About three weeks ago, I took my just crawling 6 month (now 7 months) old up for a nap, I was so tired I drifted off, next I hear *bang* followed by crying, poor boy went face first off the bed, the carpet burn on his nose healed this week.

    I’m sure there’s loads of stories from his sisters babyhood, she’s three now, so she survived, I do remember daddy running with the buggy, falling and taking the buggy with him, that was my worst short term moment.

    Reply
  314. Cathy Darling Allen

    Just wanted to say a big thanks. You always hit the nail on the head!

    Reply
  315. Darth Shepard-Picard

    I know exactly how you feel!
    My son, who’s six now, and just started primary school, was very very sick with jaundice. We were in and out of hospital for weeks just after he was born.
    One day, not long after we finally came home, I plonked him down in the middle of my mother’s massive bed and I went to have a shower. I hadn’t felt properly clean since he was born because the hospital bathrooms were filthy and then when I got home there was the routine of 45 minutes of being a human cow, followed by 30 minutes of feeding, burping, changing etc, then an hour nap, and then the milking again, so all things considered I think maybe I hadn’t had time for a shower for something like three days?

    So I’m in the shower, I’ve got shampoo in my hair and soap all over, and baby starts screaming like an air raid siren. Like he was being murdered.

    I storm out of the shower and go sliding across the floor, bounce off the cabinet and the doorframe, trip over a little round carpet thing…and the baby’s not on the bed anymore.

    He’s still screaming though, and he’s close by, which means at least his father hasn’t shown up or something, and I’m frantically searching the entire house (and if you picked up that nowhere in there did I mention grabbing a towel or rinsing the shampoo out of my hair, you’re more perceptive than I was at that point) or at least the room he was in and the living room…and I find the baby. Eventually.
    Somehow he slid off the bed and into the gap between the bed and the wall. To this day I don’t know how he managed it – he could just about manage to keep his own bobble head upright at that point, with a little bit of help, but he certainly wasn’t able to roll over, let alone make his way across half a king-size bed, shoving the pillow that was supposed to be keeping him penned ahead of him, and bungee into a gap that I could have sworn would never take him, in the maybe 5 minutes that I was in the bathroom.
    So I shove the bed out of the way and grab the baby, now covered in dust-bunnies and due for another bath – and a big clump of shampoo lands right on his face.

    The baby lived, but for a while there, between the shampoo in his face and the dust up his nose, he wasn’t happy about that.

    Reply
  316. Meghann

    I’m not a parent but as a kid I once hid myself so well my dad thought I had run away, my sister and I pulled a vintage wardrobe down on top of ourselves (we only didn’t get squished because one of our beds held it up), my sister ran off a balcony (and still has a dent where she cracked her head on a tap) and I ate gravel. Multiple times.
    My parents were awesome and I can only imagine how awful they must have felt after each of these accidents – up until now I pretty much saw all of them as my fault (or my sister’s) but my parents must have felt so guilty. I should probably tell them that next time I see them.

    Reply
  317. SianBeast

    I think the worst story I have so far is from when my daughter was between 2 and 3. We had a long house with doors in a straight succession, this allowed her to bolt up and down with little to no hassle. It was great, she’d do that for an hour and knacker herself out. But then the other half in all his infinite wisdom decided it would be a fantastic idea to leave an open computer tower in the middle of one of said doorways. She comes bolting down into the kitchen just as were taking out her dinner, we tell her to go in the living room and wait and then BOOM, face meets case. Her chin was pissing out blood, and I went into full blown panic mode (just as well the other half can keep a level head, even if his common sense is somewhat lacking). Went to A&E she got a couple stitches and was fine. She was pretty close to putting a hole in her windpipe which we didn’t notice until the nurse mentioned it but she totally die.
    To be honest my early days as a mum were tough, I was barely 20 and didn’t have a great support network, I was incapacitated by an emergency ceasarian for about 3 months because of the lack of support I kept tearing stitches and setting my recovery back. It strained my relationship with her to begin with I’m not proud to say there was a brief period where I regretted the desicions leading to me being a parent.
    The house/area we lived in at the time weren’t exactly known for being reputable. We had many a drongo come and go and despite a strict rule of “no smoking in the house” I had to pull a dog end from my child’s mouth! Thats my most infuriating experience, the pure lack of respect for not just my home but (in my mind) my child’s life, needless to say I flipped my shit at everyone that day.
    And I to have also left her on the bed while I make myself a quick brew, 30 seconds later there’s a thud so I run upstairs to be greeted by her hanging upside down on the edge of her crib (her nappy had, fortunately, caught itself on one of the raised edges if her crib and stopped her from splatting straight on the floor.) I absolutely shat myself, created some noise that can’t be described as a scream or a wail.. Yeah, its kind of amusing to think about now, a lot of it is now, but at the time its terrifying.
    Last one, which was even funny at the time, my partner was throwing her in the air and catching her, as you do. She must’ve been about a year old at the time. During the game she gets excited and started clapping, the other half them seems to forget that he needs to catch her again, so he throws her up, starts clapping and then the look on his face changed as he realized ‘I fucked this up’ and to be fair to him, sort of manages to catch her on his leg a little bit upside down.. He’s also thrown her into an iron light fitting (my parents have them low hanging in their living room), I’m sure the only reason she never got left in a car is because we didn’t have one at the time.
    I think what I’m trying to say is, all of this stupid “bad parent” stuff we judge ourselves for, there’s always someone out there who’s done it before. The kids will stay happy, healthy, mental little grot machines.

    Reply
  318. Susan

    I’m so glad you’re speaking up and reaching out – new motherhood is SO HARD. And when we share our stories and talk about the things that shame us? We cast light on our guilt and regret and they hold less power over us.

    My new motherhood survival story is long and hard, and it’s not so much about how my baby survived my complete NEWB status, as much as it’s about how I survived motherhood myself. I suffered from undiagnosed severe anxiety and OCD when I was pregnant. I thought all pregnant women felt like I did, obsessively counting kicks and avoiding all possible toxins, having panic attacks and health anxiety concerns, and feeling a HUGE sense of regret at being pregnant with a baby I had really and truly wanted. My OB didn’t help dispel that myth, telling me “all pregnant women feel worried.”

    After my daughter was born, it cascaded into a depression that showed up as rage. Blind rage that the baby wouldn’t sleep. Rage that breastfeeding was harder than I ever imagined it would be. Rage at the old man in the grocery store who wouldn’t get out of my way. I distanced myself from friends and family. If I wasn’t angry, I was crying. I felt like a failure as a mother and wife. And I knew for sure that my baby didn’t love me.

    In reality, I was (and am) an amazing mom. I took loving care of my baby. I probably took better care of her than I took care of myself. Thanks, OCD.

    There were days and nights when I was just so tired of trying to be okay. I would lay down and wish to just not wake up the next morning because it was just too hard. Not a day goes by now that I am not deeply grateful that I DID wake up the next morning. I survived.

    It took 5 months of this after she was born for me to finally call a psychologist and say “something isn’t right.” It took 6 months of therapy and medication after that for me to feel like myself again. And even when I started to feel better, I held such guilt about being so ill for so long. I held guilt about needing treatment. I didn’t really believe I deserved to get better. It wasn’t until I found a community of other PPD survivors that I really believed I could be happy again. I needed to see hope reflected in their eyes so I could find my own.

    I’ve since had a second child, who is now 4. I still experience anxiety and depression but I feel like ME because I have found the right treatments and therapies and supports to help me thrive in spite of the mental illness. And though that second baby fell down a few steps twice, the oldest child has anxiety issues, and I’ve called poison control a handful of times (because apparently acrylic paint is delicious)? Even though I make mistakes parenting every damn day? I am a good mom. I am a great mom. Most importantly, I am STILL HERE to be their mom.

    I tell you all this because I am not ashamed. Motherhood is a time of emotional metamorphosis for ALL moms (and parents). But if you’re reading this and are thinking “I am not cut out to be a mom,” or the HARD that is having a new baby feels like too much, I want you to know that postpartum anxiety and depression are SO common and SO treatable. You don’t have to be miserable and lonely and isolated. You deserve to be healthy and whole.

    Reply
  319. katherinepostpartumprogress

    So for any new mamas here reading your lyrics and accompanying footnotes who truly believe they have gigantic flaws, and do feel that they’re the only one who isn’t a normal mother, and do feel regret and misery right now, and are hoping that they’ll be able to get through each day or even the next minute but they’re not sure how, I just want to say, “You are not alone.” Being a new mother is difficult for anyone, but for those of us who experience depression or anxiety postpartum, it’s devastating. And scary. It convinces you that you should have never become a mother and your family would probably be better off without you. But that’s just the illness talking. PPD is temporary and treatable. If you are suffering in silence, know that you don’t have to. There are hundreds of thousands of women who’ve been right where you are and we care.

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  320. Barb Buckner Suarez

    Wow, this is a great song, but more than that – a whole epic experience! LOVE it! I’m a Momma of 4 kiddos and I’ve worked with expectant families as a Childbirth Educator for almost 20 years. More Mommas need to hear this confession – and realize that they’re not alone! I’ve assembled my own tribe of Mommas over the years, those wonderful women who will listen to MY confessions – and then try and top them with one of their own. This parenting business is not for the faint of heart. So important to realize that no one does this even close to perfectly. And that’s okay. Confession of my own: My preschool son had collected an armful of “pretty rocks” that he wanted to bring home with him. I agreed but told him to throw them in the trunk of our mini-van. I was shutting the trunk door at the exact moment that he decided the prettiest rock needed to ride up front with him. I slammed his head in the door. And there were witnesses. It was super ugly and I felt so bad. It happens. To everyone. We’re all doing our best!

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  321. alphatroll

    Have you seen Gilliam’s _Tideland_? Point: Children are resilient. Personal example: I (age 3) knocked my sister (age 1) off a table while strapped in a carrier (her, not me) and 39 years later I’m pretty sure she’s doing better than me (Karma knows me well). I won’t even start on the traumas I inflicted on my other, younger sister, but at least none of those were physical…

    Also: HOT DAMN GIRL, you and Neil make one fine lookin’ kid! His eyes in particular are AMAZING.

    Finally: Was that an early 1970s Marantz quadraphonic receiver in Jason’s houseboat (foreground, exibit ‘O’)? Did he perhaps aquire it in the last 10 years? Did the front display lamps need replacing? ‘Cause that looked EXACTLY like the “treasured family heirloom” which I LOVED DEARLY until it was stolen. (People who think there’s no crime in the rural midwest have NO IDEA. The entire Keosaqua, Iowa historical museum was emptied by burglars a couple of years before my personal loss. It happens all the time. And YES, the front door was locked! ;) So NOT TO ACCUSE or anything, but I really do miss that old monster and suffered an accute pang of heartache on seeing what’s probably just one of its dwindling family of close relatives.

    Anyway, thanks for being awesome and please do keep that up if it isn’t too much trouble.

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  322. lanika

    I have two kids with a difference of twelve years between them and both fell. The oldest was 4 months old when I learned he could roll, when he managed to roll out of my bed and fall from it. All my paranoia about it didn’t help prevent my daughter to do the same.

    At two daughter managed to jump to my bed and roll off it in the middle of the night while we were asleep so I woke up startled by a crying screaming scared toddler with a bloody mouth, feeling the worst mother in the entire world because I didn’t wake in time to avoid it.

    My (at the time) five-year’s old son has managed to get lost in very literally two seconds. He asked me to buy a soda, I asked him which flavour, he told me, I gave the money to the cashier and when I looked back at my son that was supposedly by my side he was nowhere to be seen. I called him, no response. I felt my entire body pale with terror. I left money, soda, everything behind and proceeded to frantically look for him and scream his name, mind reeling. Time froze so I can’t remember how long it took before I found him with a security guard, that called me out as irresponsible. It was so unfair and I was so shaken that I could only hug him and cry my heart out.

    At five my son has also managed to get off my grip and run across a street full of cars and buses when he saw grandma on the other sidewalk. Terror. Pure terror. I am so paranoid about it after that, that I have digged my nails and locked my grip on their pulses to the point of bruising and feeling terribly guilty for hurting them but no kid of mine will ever wander across a fucking full street again. Ever.

    I also have a limp because when my son was two years old and asleep in my arms I managed to get a foot stuck in a broken patch in the sidewalk and fall to the ground with baby in my arms. I had seconds to decide between trying to steady myself or protect baby from fall. Fuck the foot, I thought. But it hurt as hell as it broke while I shielded the kid, that cried from being slightly scratched when we both hit the ground.

    Despite the terrifying bits I have put two amazing human beings in the world. The son has survived my ineptitude to reach 18 years in September. I guess I’m not as bad as I feel I am most days.

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  323. E. Christopher Clark

    This is the first 10-minute song in a good, long while that I’ve listened to twice in a row. My god, as a father, I have felt so many of these things too. So many. And now that they’re 9 and 5, I’m still feeling them in new and different ways. The story I published today is all about that, about a time I saw my kid both bullying and being bullied and tried to fix the problem and probably only made it worse.

    But, this morning my older daughter thanked me at the bus stop for calming her nerves last night when she was worried about the swaying tree out the window. And the other night my younger daughter, who likes to fight with me all the time, fell asleep in my lap.

    At least the children didn’t die. Damn. You captured it, Amanda. So, so well.

    Reply
  324. DeeDee Wri

    I posted this link to my Facebook with the following description:
    “Raw moment here. As a mother and a writer and an amanda Palmer fan (as well as a fan of the amanda palmer/Neil gaiman offspring) this was an incredible 25 minutes to have. Posted here is a 10.5 minute song by amanda palmer, also the lyrics and footnotes.

    I opened the lyrics and the footnotes in two tabs and read them side by side and then I listened to the song with everything in mind and I’m just so struck.

    As a writer, there is this incredible way that Amanda regards the idiosyncrasies of writing and doing things like recounting memory or time and this oddly unforgiving yet understandable of making fact malleable for the pallets of our audience but also for the cadence of our song. Just incredible.

    Second, as a mother I have to say the hook of sorts “at least the baby didn’t die” is almost crude but so accurate in relation to what it’s like getting through life when facing survival mode/having a newborn to care for. I experienced this with both Alastair and Artemis. There is a way in which we are haunted, as mothers, by the mortality of our children. There is also a way in which we are blessed, as mothers, by our children continuing to breathe and bless us with…themselves. There is as way in which parenting opens us up to mistakes that can hurt us to even talk about.

    As a mother, I would love to be beyond reproach but that isn’t life. I’m not a rockstar married to a brilliant writer traveling the country and making art with an infant but I feel this piece so deeply despite it being so personal and particular. It makes me feel like maybe I should take to paper more frequently about this knot in my chest that comes with raising little humans into bigger little humans into people. And maybe I should let more strangers hold my baby, within reason of course.”

    I want to extend a personal thank you as all 10.5 minutes of this song has resonated so deeply in me for a multitude of reasons. For all the mistakes I’ve made with my children as infants and the mistakes I’ve made with my 4 almost 5 year old as a toddler and little person. They, these parenting hiccoughs, carry so much weight with them and perhaps that is why this song is so heavy.

    I will share with you 2 instances that stand out in my memory of feeling the mom guilt. Once I was at Best Buy with my husband and we each thought the other had our son with them. He was 2 at the time and we became frantic searching for him and found him within minutes. Ever since then I’ve been close to obsessive compulsive about communicating with my husband the whereabouts of our spawn.

    I think the most painful mistake for me was that my son started school this year and his teacher had been telling us that he was behaving extremely poorly. When questioned about his behavior, he {Alastair} blamed it on his hair. Long black locks that, in combination with his thick doe-like eyelashes, often got him confused for being a little girl. (But, oh, aren’t children so androgynous anyway?) Regardless my husband and I decided it was time for Alastair to get a haircut and he was fine until he saw the first handful of locks hit the trash. He sobbed like he couldn’t breathe, like he was losing a part of himself. And I cried and kept cutting because we had already begun. There was no turning back.

    We got a therapist involved with the school situation and she observed him in class and not only did she tell me that he behaved normally and wonderfully but she also said that his art teacher and student teacher said they were surprised to see her there observing my son because he is generally a pleasure. Cue even more guilt about the chopping of his curls. 5 months later and his hair is finally growing out and starting to curl again and it looks more luscious than ever before. I guess it goes to show that even from ill advised choices there can be bounty and beauty.

    Thank you, again, from my heart.

    P.s. I laughed so hard about the random river drum!

    Reply
  325. Chelsey Blair

    Ash is getting so big! He’s the age of baby that I adore. My mom likes newborns–the younger the better. Team WHO–she calls them “mush” and will cuddle them forever. I love them from 3months and up, when they start becoming a person.

    I’m not a parent but my little brother is 11yrs younger and my elder brother’s kid is 20months younger than littlest bro. One of the first pictures of the two of them is the older one holding the little one who is bowling. Their relationship, while friendly, has always been on the chaotic side. One night, when they were toddlers and not very verbal (both late talkers) my mom ran into the grocery store–it might in fact have been a Publix–when she came back to the car, the boys were shrieking at the top of their tiny little lungs, pinching, and throwing toys. Meanwhile, I was in tears, convinced that I would never be able to be a mother because I could not get those two to sit quietly in car seats for fifteen minutes. I’ve not yet to prove myself wrong, although I am not as terrified of the idea as I was stuck in a car with those two toddlers.

    Also I follow a video blogger whose toddler locked himself in the car the other day while she was cleaning it. She had to break the window to unlock the car. also she was cleaning it because he had puked all over the backseat.

    I have other horror stories from my mother about raising me, because my disability makes my skin bruise and tear, so you can imagine how learning to walk went, fall-wise. Those however are not universally relatable stories.

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  326. thomandalicia

    Don’t know if you’re still reading these but I dealt with crippling PPD after my son was born. I cried almost non stop for at least 6 months. There were moments I was holding him, and we were both bawling our eyes out. When he was 7 or 8 months old I put him in the high chair without strapping him in and forgot to mention it to the hubby. He takes off the tray and walks away and I heard the loudest thud followed by the most blood curdling scream. He had face planted onto our wood floors and immediately had a huge welt starting on his forehead. I almost threw up with guilt. Luckily a call to the pediatrition calmed me down from running to the ER and here we are 5 months later and he seems fine. I can now joke that he probably won’t be good at math because of that fall. ;) Thanks for keeping it real! You’re amazing.

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  327. Marzipans11

    That is so weird, we stole a chapstick too, except it’s from WalMart so no guilt. It was one week postpartum and we didn’t know which way was up. Note I say ‘we,’ cause I’m totally throwing my husband under the bus for this.
    My confession: Had a happy month-old baby cooing in my lap, under a blanket. Shifted position and he went from happy noises to anguished screams. Lifted the blanket and his right leg was bent sideways at the knee. AUGH. Moved his leg and he immediately cheered up again, while I suffered guilt pangs for days. No injury at all. Moral: babies bounce! (But don’t push your luck.)

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  328. Meyla

    Can I just say that I don’t have any baby stories, but I’m from Atlanta and I’ve never heard of Vons before reading this story and I’ve only heard of Safeway (never seen one – not positive that they really exist). Publix, however, is on every corner here. If you’re performing this song on the east coast, I’d go with Publix. Thank you for your consideration!

    Reply
  329. Hayley-Renée Baldwin

    Amanda-
    I’m not a mom, but i need to gets this off my chest because I feel terrible about it.
    So my girlfriends step mom had a baby about 6 (7??) months ago and my girlfriend and I were sitting on the deck, with me being closer the the railing (Don’t worry I did NOT drop the baby) but anyway, the stepmom walks out and asks me if I can hold the baby “for a few seconds” while she pees. I said yes and took the baby. All was fine until the mom left and the baby started screaming and flailing her arms. I tried to comfort her and she got angry so she arched her whole body unexpectedly and banged her head pretty hard on the wood railing. She started to scream more and I felt like the worse person ever.
    I didn’t tell the mom. There were no marks on the baby but I still feel terrible about it.

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  330. Jordanne Fuller

    Okay, so this song really touched my heart. This is an ode to parenthood, in my opinion. At the end of the day, no matter what, the baby is alive.

    Story time:

    1. When my son was 2, we were at my step siblings’ dads’ house. Brayden (my son) was running around outside, and my fiance was keeping an eye on him. Out of nowhere, he ran straight for the covered pool. It was early June, and the cover had yet to come off (I’m in Toronto, so yeah, waaay too cold for swimming). He sunk to the bottom, and both my fiance and I ran as fast as we could to the edge of the pool. Grown ass people have drowned in covered pools! He panicked, dropped to his knees, and fished our son out. He was so fast, the top of Brayden’s head hadn’t even gotten wet. I felt bad for months. Thing is, we didn’t even turn our backs away, he just escaped our clutches. I had a plate of food in my hands that I hadn’t even realized I dropped until after the incident. I’m also disabled, and can’t run… so that feeling of helplessness was terrible. I still sometimes feel the guilt of that one.

    2. When Brayden was 6months or so, I had him on my now fiance’s bed (before we moved in together). Brayden crawled to the edge and fell off. I was sitting right beside where he fell off. He barely hit the floor before my reflexes kicked in, and I picked him back up. I was sick about it for a long time.

    3. When Brayden was 5, he decided the best way to give the cat a bath was to put her in the toilet, and close it. I was so convinced he was a psychopath that I was too terrified to tell anyone the story until months later. I told my sister, and she laughed and laughed and laughed. That made me feel better. Brayden got in some trouble for that, and hasn’t done anything like it since. We’ve since been affirmed that he truly thought he was helping, and that the kitty would be fine. She was, for the record… and now she likes to sleep in the sink >.> (Pictures to follow)

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  331. Jordanne Fuller

    Oh, and I meant to add> It’s totally crochet, you were right. They both are crocheted :)

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  332. Emma Willis

    I was at a birthday party for my four year old. I felt awkward to keep breaking conversation with the ‘other parents’ who didn’t also have a toddler to chase after.
    Eventually I convinced myself he’d come to no harm and that I was overrating. I sat down and had a nice chat and drink tea.

    I missed the entire accident of my 21 month old falling 4 feet from a stage onto a solid fall on his head. I heard the screaming approach as this lady carried him over and told me what happened. Eventually he calmed down and all was well.
    two days later a massive black eye appeared and I felt truly awful. Especially as I had just got a plane over the weekend to get a text message from my husband of my sons massive black eye.

    I actually felt worse when my eldest got sunburn after a walk in the sling (at 14 months). The back of his neck was so red and entirely my fault.

    Oh and that time I put an olive (whhhhhyyyy) in my 6 month old’s month and he choked.

    There must be so many more >.<

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  333. Acey

    I’m not a parent; I can offer no reassurances from a parent’s perspective. However, I am the only child–a daughter–of two AMAZING parents–so I CAN offer my perspective as a child (okay, not a CHILD anymore, I’m 23–but you get the point).

    My mom and dad both said they don’t remember any specific fuckups–”It’s hard to remember,” my mom said. “I mean, you’re 23 now–it’s been a very long time.” But they did say that every parent has their moments where they do something wrong, where they feel like they must’ve made a mistake SOMEWHERE.

    To quote my mom again: “We all have those moments. Like when the baby’s crying, and it’s 3 AM and you can’t get her to calm down and you think, /why did I do this?/ But we all get past them.”

    It’s a universal thing, I think, and if you ask me, it’s a sign of good parenting that my parents–and YOU–can acknowledge that you’ve made mistakes and haven’t always been The Perfect Parent.

    You’re doing great, Amanda, you and Neil both. Ash is a lucky little guy.

    (P.S.: He’s also adorable.)

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  334. Lin

    I know exactly what a Publix is, they are on the east coast too! It’s just you, Jason.

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  335. Maya Middlemiss

    I will add one more, the first time I drove baby around the M25 London’s ring motorway, was so paranoid checking the straps on the car seat and were they correctly fastened etc. Then after about 80 miles realised the car seat itself was not actually secured in the safety belt, the babyseat was merely resting on the seat beside me… Had to pull up on the hard shoulder shaking like a leaf. That was 16 years ago, she’s still alive…

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  336. Sarah

    I don’t have any kids, but my brother, Jacob is 13 years my junior. I babysat him a lot, especially during the summers. I was watching him one day. He wasn’t even 2 yet. I went to the kitchen while he seemed to be entranced by the TV. I was gone maybe 2 minutes. When I came back, he was gone. I ran around the house searching for him. No way he could have gone outside. The doors were locked, right? After not finding him in the house, I walked around the yard, screaming his name. I circled around and then there he was sitting by the neighbor’s pond, staring at their fish. The little jerk figured out how to unlock the back door in the two minutes I was gone. I still think about how he could have fallen in and drowned easily.

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  337. Katiebell

    Oh it is so wonderful to hear all these stories Amanda, (and to feel like we are on the parenting mystery train together!) thank you!

    My son turns twenty three in a couple of months and is am amazing circus-studying, tight-wire dancing boy, he is fabulous. Just the same spirit I saw in him walking on the walls all the way to day care. I was only twenty when I had him which was fun, but I didn’t know what I was doing, (consciously at least, it is all instincts really). I remember so clearly when I was pregnant reconciling that no matter how much I tried not to it is unfortunately a parents role to fuck up somehow, that hopefully it would not be in a really terrible way. I was worried about saying the wring thing and scaring him emotionally, when I realised all teenagers feel their parents did that! Anyway, that’s what I came to and it helped me.

    Though there were tricky times and awful things happened along the way. Things that filled me with dred, but even the worst seem to work out OK in their own way. From the first moment when he cried and I whispered in his ear that I was there and I loved him and everything would be OK and he cried even more! Or when he was crying uncontrollably in the back of the car and I got in with him and not being able to comfort him and didn’t know how and just began crying too. Or the time went he was only a couple of months old and I had been stuck inside all day and desperately wanted to put clothes on the line and I left him on the big double bed with cushions all around him (oh how neglectful I know!…) I went out to the line and after a moment or two in the open air, I just had this strong instinct pull me back and rushed back in and he had fallen off, but he had pushed the pillow off with him and landed on top of it and was there staring up at me smiling! :) Many moments where it felt like he was being magically ‘looked after’ or looking after us too. There was the time a couple of days later I think, when I closed the folding door on the (ample!) flesh on the back of my arm while I was breastfeeding!!! I could not open the door, no one could hear me call for help, I could not put the baby down… I just stood there, in pain (not that I remember that bit) breastfeeding, glad my baby was OK and waiting for my partner to come inside eventually. I think I stood there for twenty minutes.

    Then there was the time he tantrummed and split open his eyebrow (he still has a nice scar from that) by waking it into the bed, oh and the other time, and the other time and the other time…. sheesh! It sounds terrible even now, and I fear judgement and it was all the worst fears… Sometimes terrible things do happen, you cant anticipate them all, sometimes people do get hurt, and tragically, I hate to say, sometimes people even die… but thankfully not most of the time! So far so good, and I am sure little Anthony will be fine, just like my lad was and is.

    We are blessed, lucky, robust little beings of flesh and bone and love and guts, fragile yes, magically most definitely!

    Oh boy now I dont like my stories at all.. they make me sad because even now I feel like I was inexperienced and inadequate and fear judgement and my own neglect of the most precious person in my world. That is the harshest paradox, you love them so much, but you have to surrender them to the world. Ultimately, that is your job. (It sounds like you are doing a fine one by the way, handing Ash around! Yay! :) ) But it is so overwhelming and intense, you just want to wrap them up and protect them from everything, and yet, they are being born into this world and must leave the womb to fulfill that very thing they have come here to be: Born! Yes, and it is wonderful and scary. There have been many, many heartaches and celebrations for us, and I will not protect you from the truth, we have faced death too…. (I will have to tell you that some other time). But I am me, I am OK mostly, I make art, my son makes art, he is OK.

    But the story I want to end on is this, nothing compares to the feeling I had when I saw my son on stage performing with his circus school in front of thousands of people, leaping and happy and full of bounce and magnificent and fully grown and in tact and beautiful!!! I felt in that moment like he had been born into the world fully, and I was so overwhelmed and proud and awestruck and it was the best feeling ever.

    The beautiful surrender.

    I love you <3 Neil and Ash too.

    Katiebell Xxoo

    PS I wrote you a letter about creativity and how you dont have to fear it stopping once you're a mother, but never sent it. Perhaps you dont need it anymore, you seem to be believing you can do both, by actually doing it. But do you have an address, if you would still like it? Xxx

    PPS Oh gosh, I wrote an essay, hope you get through it OK. Would you believe I took stuff out. Then again, as I write this I realise I am commenting on a song which has… (I had to check) 69 footnotes!!! ;) I guess this should be OK hey? XxxoooxxxX

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  338. Nova Armada

    Hi, Amanda. First of all: thank you for this song. For me it’s the best thing you’ve ever released, both musically and by its lyrics. (Second being Boyfriend in a Coma).
    And now to the motherhood thing (baby falling, to be precise). I get you. The moment you see your little one fall from a place you had put him so recklessly with a genuine belief he cannot yet be that mobile and went off to do your urgent business in the bathroom. The longest second in your life, right? And then the scream, the sound of pain in your heart, the horror in the baby’s eyes, the firmest grip of his tiny hands trying to get the closest possible to you, seaking safety and comfort. You are the one who failed him and yet all he wants now is you to hold him tight and kiss it better.
    These things will happen no matter how hard you try to avoid them. He’s becoming faster, more agile, unpredictable, and most of all super curious. It doesn’t even take a full second from him sitting peacefully in the middle of your giant bed minding his own business with his toes, a blankie or your dirty sock you’ve left there to him falling head first off the bed just a couple of feet from you because he wanted to see what you are doing with his bedsheets.
    As he gets older, bigger and stronger, it will however become a bit easier for you to cope with the consequences of your slowness and recklessness, mostly because it will be on him anyway. He will learn what his body can do and it’s important that he learns it right. So he will fall off the couch, the bed, the dog, the conference table, the chair or anything he climbs to or upon. When he does stand up and climbs and falls, you will watch, wait for a reaction, and then just laugh in a comforting way ‘coz nothing bad really happened to his bum or head. The important thing is, that you will be there for him.
    And that’s my experience with now a 10 month old baby (on Saturday 19th), whom the neurologist called “a spirited busybody” right in his medical record.

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  339. Katrina Gunderson

    My grandmother sat on my younger brother when he was less than a year old. He was swaddled and sitting in the La-z-boy in our living room, G’ma came over to visit and sat right down. 10 minutes go by and the whole family was trying to figure out why we all thought we heard a cat mewling from somewhere. My mom finally registers that my little bro is not in sight, screams “OH! WYATT! THE ARMCHAIR!” My G’ma ejected herself from the chair quicker than I’ve ever seen, and I watched my mom pull a red-faced screaming little brother of mine from the folds and clutch him to her bosom. He doesn’t remember a thing, but I will always remember.

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  340. Gwen Filipski

    Man! Totally late to the party. Just couldn’t bring myself to listen to the whole song for awhile. It’s beautiful. It’s been almost ten years since my last baby (I have two ferocious girls), but that tender postpartum time is such an excruciating, surreal, terrifying, and perfect ordeal. I have major depression that is exacerbated by pregnancy, and the postpartum depression is severe. So, maybe my experience with new mommy guilt is a bit skewed, but you said what I wanted to hear. It would have saved me many sleepless and tearful nights worrying about ruining my kid. Thank you so much for your words and art. <3

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  341. Lori Ann McVay

    So. Much. Yes. The first time we took our boy out of the apartment where we lived at the time, I stopped just inside the door and bawled because he wasn’t in my belly and I couldn’t protect him anymore. This song – and all its accompanying verbosity – is perfect. Loves!

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  342. Debra Evans

    I think that we all have those moments with our babies. Two days after bringing our son home from the hospital, my husband was carrying him up the stairs from the basement. He tripped and dropped the baby and panicked. After unswaddling him, my husband realized that the baby was fine. Then there was the time that my husband lost our son (age 2.5) in a drug store. For me, this same kid, at age four, climbed up onto a counter when my back was turned so that he could extract a frozen chicken nugget from the freezer after I had told him to wait while I got his little sister a cup of water. I turned to see him reaching to open the freezer door, I cried out, “No!” at which point he lost his balance, falling onto the chair which he had used to reach the counter so that he could climb up on to it. Then he bounced on to the floor. He survived and now is a fully-functioning adult.

    Reply
    • Debra Evans

      I should also mention that my son would do things himself, such as role out of bed and remained sleeping. Once he stuck an orange seed up his nose, because he didn’t know that he shouldn’t (according to him). His sister was always less reckless.

      Reply
  343. Bombastic D Bish

    My only child, a girl, is now 5.
    I never wanted children. I felt it a terribly selfish thing to bring one into the world… the way I believe it is.
    I was 38 yrs old, and she comes.
    The 1st horror story was that of her ride home from the hospital.
    I wanted to sit in the back seat next to her. (She was very tiny)
    And, after listening to her father… I sat in the front due to my surgical complications and the compactness of the back k seat.
    When we arrived at home my Mother and Grandmother were standing outside waving and taking videos….
    All I can remember is that I saw Ahahna slumped down on herself. Excuse the baby car cradle shifted. She reminded me of the little dead birds I found as a child that had either fell from nests or been pushed out. Red, bald… tiny and helpless. To be sure all the videos of that arrival are of me flipping out, then after sobbing, finding she was …okay… cussing of the most vulgar sort at her dad.
    The next time was at a hotel. It’s a long story, but to put it short, her and I were playing peekaboo on the bed… the center of it.
    She was 6 months old. I’m disabled enough I should have known better.
    She was such a Roly poly sort of thing… so cute, much like your Ash biting his wee toes. And she finally was laughing… after a horribly stressful move… we were both finally laughing when suddenly she rolled backwards. .. my arms criss crossing as the missed her and she continued to roll back… I dove for her.. caring not an ounce for my own safety of course… and as we both plummeted to the floor upside down.. head first. .. it was all in slow motion. My eyes never leaving her as i then remembered the floor was concrete with a rug tossed upon it. I watched even as my head smashed… her little neck bend back in a manner it should never be accustomed to.
    I rushed (limping quickly) to the nearest emergency room in this new strange town. I tossed the keys of my car to some poor man that I was screaming all this information to as I ran inside… leaving the door wide open.
    We were okay… SHE was okay… and the man came and found me. He parked my car and searched for us… he was newly moved from South Africa with a heavy accent. What a kind heart.
    The 3rd time… was when she had found a wood screw and put it into her mouth…. who knows how. And when I was changing her noticed she was chewing on somthing… and when I wet to retrieve it she started to choke. I turned her over on my leg and patted her back… then back around… finally giving her some juice. Not until later in bed did I think it may have been something as sinister as those sharp pointed screws. When they showed me her x-rays I about fainted. 4 days of waiting and everything turned out okay…
    But let me just say… parenthood is worse than I feared. I have never loved someone so much…and the fears only change a little by her age.
    But still…
    I’ve never loved someone so much. ;)

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  344. Sandy

    Dear Amanda,
    Thank you so much for creating this song and sharing it. I’m currently in my seventh month of pregnancy with my first child (who I swear kicks every time I play your music) and needed to hear this.
    I worry about my baby even though she isn’t external yet. I worry about fucking up. I worry about being the best for her. I worry that I should have redone my kitchen floor and cry about spinach expiring. And although the song made me cry, it made me worry less, realizing that shit happens, and it’s okay. So thank you for that.

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  345. Cassidy Srock

    My baby fell off my bed when she was 6 months old and I felt so terrible about it but luckily I was weary and hadn’t done laundry in God knows how long and she fell into a pile of dirty clothes. My brother said “baby saved by abysmal housekeeping”. She’s 2 now and recently fell down a flight of wooden stairs. She pulled her arms in and managed to only get 2 bruises. I thankfully wasn’t present for this. I would have died from panic. My husband was there and do was my aunt who’s house it was.

    I also feel my husband to be careful driving EVERY TIME HE GOES ANYWHERE.

    This song made me cry. At the time I was pushing my daughter around on her trike. I sent it to my husband who also cried. He was at work. I wanted so badly to share it on Facebook but I have at least 2 friends whose babies DID die and I couldn’t.

    I often wonder if I should have had a child and even if it was a lie it still made me feel better to hear (read?) someone else say it.

    Her name is Antigone (after the play) Naomi (after my grandma who is still alive and quite healthy) Grace (just because).

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  346. Morgan Hood

    Son this evening My mom and I took my wife year old twins to

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  347. Franki Valentine

    The first time my dad held me he didn’t know how close he was to the wall and smashed my head into it. He didn’t hold me again for a while. And I was his fourth kid, so practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect. Just roll with it, honey, it’s all going to be okay.

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  348. Camile Lyon

    I’ve been around babies before becoming a parent from younger cousins, friends’ children, and helping my mom at daycare centers. I KNEW that children fall and otherwise hurt themselves. Hell, I broke my finger looking for Ninja Turtles at age 6. NONE OF THAT prepares you for when your kid gets hurt. I have two. That I don’t have a head full of gray hair from their near death/OMDTHANKGOODNESSYOUHAVENOMAJORINJURIES moments is a miracle. My son is none days younger than Ash (in fact, My sister is a big fan and told me “you’re pregnant at the same time as Amanda Palmer!” when I made the official announcement). He rolled from my arms to the floor when he was not even a month old. I cried so hard. He just turned 8 months. He’s crawling, trying to stand without assistance, eating solids (!!!!) and babbling in a way that implies that he is actually responding to my questions. This means more falls (from the bed, the couch), head bumps from crawling into things, he keeps finding cords no matter how well we hide them, and he thinks anything he can get his little hands on is meant to go into his mouth. Every cheer for his advancement is coupled with “please let this day end with two living children.” The older one is about to turn seven. Before I met her father, she had kicked out a window screen of a second floor window, and dangled naked long enough for neighbors to call the cops. She also dismantled the child locks. Since I’ve been one of her parentals, she has: nearly hung herself from the cord that opens the blinds; fallen ribs first into the shelf of a heavy, wooden cabinet (she was reaching for flowers); nearly busted her head open in the bath (reaching for her poof); nearly gotten her fingers broken by the ceiling fan; tried to stick her fingers in a light socket; and can’t forget the times I walked into the room to find her standing on a pile of stuff, leaning over the edge of the balcony rail… But we let her climb a 30ft rope tower on her own. Go figure. No matter how many times I remind myself that babies fall, kids find ways to bang themselves up, they’re sturdier than we give them, and even that I’m not the only mom who has had these moments; I still find myself needing to go into a room by myself and have a moment of OMDTHATCOUKDHAVEENDEDBADLY.

    Note: OMD= Oh My Death

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  349. Claire Stevens

    Loved this song and wept with you and for you, and for me. I remember the same fog of fear and insecurity when my first child was born. She didn’t die either, but she’s now nearly 13 and I still feel guilty in off moments of weakness, and the I shake myself and keep going. My version of motherhood. Thanks for the music, m’dear. X

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  350. Joy Kay

    Oh good god Amanda- you crack me up! I didn’t cry so much as laugh till I cried. I remember those white knuckled times. And 25 years later I still use this mantra, slightly adjusted. “Right. As long as I don’t destroy anyone’s life all is good.” It’s worked well for me.

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  351. ShriektheMighty

    I know it’s been a while since this song came out, but I just shared it with my mother, and she said that she loved the song and that everything you expressed was so real. Her exact words were, “in that one song she basically says what every mom thinks at one time or another.” I am not and have never wanted to be a parent, but this song still brought me to tears the first time I listened to it, and it was nice to share it with my mom.

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  352. Dayna

    Hi Amanda,
    Oh gosh I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time whilst reading and listening away to this. A friend on Facebook sent me a link to your site after I put a status update yesterday saying I’d failed as a mummy. I’d left my 6 month old on the sofa whilst I answered the door to the grocery shop man (we’re lazy and do our food shopping online lol). Whilst I was taking the shopping into the kitchen, I hear a thump and then my baby girl crying! I run into the living room, my heart hammering, to discover she’d rolled off the sofa on to the floor! I felt so awful and like the worst mum in the world! Once I’d picked her up though, she stopped crying and was all happy and smiley again! It’s nice to read your post – and everyone else’s comments – and not feel alone! When I first had Willow, I cried a fair bit. I wasn’t sure I was going to be a good mum as I wasn’t walking at the time (I’m a below knee amputee and after having Willow by emergency C-section, everything just swelled up so bad, it was impossible to put my leg on) and felt like I couldn’t be all that I needed to be. I felt like a failure. We adapted and made it work so I didn’t feel quite so crappy lol. Eventually the swelling went down and I was able to walk again. It was such a relief. In a general sense, I still have my off days with my leg but I try not to beat myself up about it lol.

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  353. periferite

    I heard this for the first time last night in Edinburgh. I’m the guy you caught laughing (the only guy in a room full of people!) when you sang about ash falling. It was a knowing laugh. I remember the first time my son fell off my sofa onto my wooden floors. I can still hear the thud of it. He has a lot of motor function difficulties so him being able to make himself fall off the sofa was a kind of weird victory but it didn’t really soothe me much when he started screaming at me. The sharing of the parent truths is anguished filled but vital endeavour for the sanity of every parent that follows us. Thank you for your bravery.

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  354. Alex Harper

    So, i know it’s been a while since this was posted, but just now i decided to post something, so here it goes
    Well when *I* was a baby, i rolled down the satairs of my apartment in my walker, i once jumped on the top of a glass table, cause i though nothing would happen if there was a pillow on the top of the table to get the impact, i once walked a logn distance asking my mom to hold me on her arms and she though i was trying to be charming, but actually my shoes were too tight, once my dad let me spend the day in the beach wth absolutely no sunblock, and tons of other stories of huge and little slips my parents made
    But i’m still alive and mostly well, and these stories served as bonding for the three of us, and are quite funny to share over diners. so yeah, you have nothing to worry about
    i just imagine ash going to school and showing kids the things his dad writes and the art his mother makes. he’ll have tons of fun showing his friends how his amazingly cool mother performed as a half naked living satue while eight months pregnant. If i were a friend of his, i’d be jelous.

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  355. Hannah

    i am not a mother yet but i remember when my half brother was born, my step mother was so fucked up because he always cried. he was not an easy kid. my parents even thought about giving him away. but thanks god he is older and not so difficult now. and we love him.

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  356. Stephanie B

    1) I got pregnant without asking and didn’t believe in abortion, so I kept the baby. I named her after my great grandma Vivian who had had mental health issues and similar circumstances as me throughout her life. She was tickled that I named my daughter after her. She passed away a few years after my daughter was born.

    2) I did all the wrong things in order to have more time with her, but nothing illegal. There were judges that defended this, but you can’t stop someone from filing against you when you aren’t within 500 miles of the courthouse.

    3) my daughter fell off a bed and hit her head on the dresser as she fell. I was pretty sure I was going to lose parental rights because of that. Another time, she was in the crib and I was upside down on the bed watching her, and she decided to jump over the crib side because she wanted to be close to me. It turned into a flip so she somersaulted over the crib side and onto the floor. Nobody believed me that she’d done that. She wasn’t technically old enough to even be able to pull herself up, but she had been. She was strong. It knocked the wind out of her.

    4) She has clubbed foot, which I wasn’t aware was a genetic defect in my family. My mom never mentioned it until well after the age of braces being effective. I have made friends since then that have said it’s horribly painful and can be very debilitating. I’ve felt guilt over not getting her braces when she wouldn’t remember wearing them. She’s currently in body therapy. I don’t think she knows that I know that.

    5) A semi truck tire retread came apart, and I’d been speeding, but in traffic, to get her to the doctor for what I thought was an ear infection, but ended up being a zit. I didn’t have car insurance and the semi truck tire from the semi in front of the car in front of me…the biggest portion came apart and flew over the car in front of me and landed on my windshield. It dented the body about 1-2 inches only, enough to claim my car as totaled. I had to speed up to get the truck to pull over. When he did, he was cute, but I was so upset I couldn’t think straight. It was hot and my AC wasn’t staying cool enough for my daughter, so she climbed out and onto the glass. By then the doctor office was closed and I’d have to get her to the ER for her ear, and now potential glass shards. I kept telling her not to touch her eyes, it was a nightmare in my mind. She hugged me and told me it was going to be ok. Everything was going to be ok. It’s not okay, but it was so nice hearing her comfort me. She was 2.

    6) When she was about 5 years old, by then I had to visit her in a supervised visitation place because of her dad using my mental health issues (the ones he created) against me. So I was visiting her, and never ever had I said a bad word about him…not one utterance. She collapsed in my lap at the end of the session and cried. She said she didn’t want to go back with her dad. Her eyes dripping with tears the size of Alaska. She wanted to live with me, and kept asking why, and I couldn’t tell her what he’d done to me, or how he didn’t want me to have her at all, ever, not even for these short expensive moments.

    7) I lost parental rights. That really just stung worse than anything, and since I never felt well enough I thought I wouldn’t handle things well to try to sit in court to get her back, against someone that raped me, blackmailed me, and stole all I had left from me. I’m scared she’ll blame me for everything, but at least she didn’t die, right? -_- I miss her with every breath of my soul.

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  357. VanessaFawley

    Somebody linked me to your song on YouTube. My third daughter is 3 weeks old now and I was listening as I did some housework and well, I cried. Anyway, here is my guilty parenting story. I have many but this is the first.

    When my oldest daughter was 4 months old, I was working full-time while my husband worked from home and took care of her. I felt guilty all the time. Guilty about the amount of time I spent with my husband, about my messy house, but especially about my daughter being without me all day. I know it’s fine, people work, kids are completely fine, but I couldn’t get past it. Anyway, I wanted to make my husband a cherry pie for his birthday. I bought a rolling pin one day on my lunchbreak for the pie crust and I went home and was excitedly talking to my husband all about this delicious pie we’d be having while my daughter lay in front of me on the floor on her blanket. I pulled the rolling pin, which had a piece of cardboard around one end for the price barcode I guess, out of the bag. I started to remove the cardboard, sort of unconsciously and when I pulled it off, that end of the rolling pin smacked straight into my daughter’s little forehead. She cried. I cried. My husband laughed. “I knew you were going to do that,” he said. Seriously. Luckily she can read and write and stuff so I guess I didn’t hurt anything.

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  358. Paula Carr

    I haven’t scrolled through all the comments, but both blankets are crocheted. I crochet, and I get a bit bothered when people confuse them. But if you know that one knits with needles and crochets with hooks (it’s in the word) I’ll deal.

    No kids, but last week I was carrying (she’s so long and klutzy she can’t negotiate steps) one of my doxies out for a tinkle, and she wriggled out of my arms, hitting her head on the top step. She screamed and my heart stopped. She seems to be fine, but I still feel so guilty. Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have kids!

    Helen and her sisters are an inspiration. Survival in some situations is the greatest feat of all. I went to school with several children of holocaust survivors; several kids I knew had parents evacuated from California because of their ethnicity (Japanese Americans). My older sister’s college roommate’s older brother was born in a horse stall at Santa Anita Racetrack where they were interned until being shipped out of state. I’m terrified we’re on the brink of similar calamities. It’s a true act of bravery to have a kid nowadays. The best kind of bravery — the kind that endures.

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  359. Kiki

    At the moment I only have the one child, he is two and some months. I can’t keep track….I have had a few super scary moments so far.

    Ever fall asleep while breastfeeding in a recliner with a boppy? I have no idea how I didn’t drop him or smother him. It was actually the best sleep I ever had.

    I locked him in the car once. I closed the driver door to turn and open the back door to get the baby…..But the second I closed my door, the whole car went “BEEP!” And all the doors locked. I panicked for like a minute and then realised I had the keys in my hand.

    I had stitches from childbirth so I had to soak multiple times a day for like twenty minutes.(I can’t remember the actual amount of time.) But it was just the baby and I sometimes. My mother was out and my husband was working so I put him in a bouncy chair thingy that I could hook him safely into and sat him in front of the tub while I did my soaks. I feel asleep once, the water was nice and warm and I was running on zero sleep cuz I was feeding him on demand and having to soak all the time. But thank goodness we both just had a little nap. I woke up before he did. He is such a blessing. I know you are doing a great job! Remember, at least the baby didn’t die.

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  360. Samantha Howard

    i haven’t even listened yet, as i am at work. i read through everything between member transactions (i am a credit union teller)…and i really must say, my eyes feel like they’re going to explode. holding back the tears that are filling them up is really hard. i gave birth to my first child three months, one week, and some days post you giving birth to your first child. i can’t even begin to explain how i feel right now after reading what you had to say. as if giving birth wasn’t the craziest thing i’ve ever done….this last year…holy shit. i almost want to write my own ‘footnotes’ alongside yours because even though i have friends with children..and a close friend who had her first child a month after me, i don’t relate to their experiences as a first time mother like i do with what i just read…and now i’m ugly crying… ugh lysm <3

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  361. Gemma Gray

    I know this is old, I don’t know how I missed it! I just listened all the way thru and cried. Doesn’t matter wether it’s true or there are lies or half truths. My little man is about 3 months older than Ash, and I can completely relate to this song.

    First guilt story- hubby and I were sitting h in our tiny shitty apartment and he was cuddling our little man, who was flailing around due to reflux/upset tummy . He flailed into the corner of the coffee table. He was maybe 6 weeks old. I looked at hubby with horror and as gently and kindly as I could snatched him out of his hands, and bit my tongue so I wouldn’t berate him. This tiny little helpless little human needs is to keep him safe how can a grown adult not hold onto a 6 week old baby, I wanted to yell at him. But I saw the guilt in his eyes. So I told him to call the health line and ask. He was totally fine.

    My son has fallen off couches. He has slipped out of arms. He’s spectacularly wriggly, he’s been accidentally tripped over. He has bumped his head so many times because he is little, with low muscle tone, with a rather large head and sucky gross motor skills. And I have felt guilty every single time even if he did it to himself, because I felt I was supposed to make sure nothing bad ever happened to him and while none of it is msjor, it still made me feel bad. He’s been plonked on the bed where I thought he would think bouncing was fun and he’s looked at me with a omg what did you just do to me mummy look. It’s very hard to hold onto a struggling low muscle ton d poor gross motor skills baby with a big head. I used to feel bad getting him to do tummy time because he couldn’t do it and would cry. Between his big head and low muscle tone he struggled to hold himself up, and would cry so pathetically and then I would cry cos ide feel mean- even though it was good for him. He’s 2 and 3 months now.

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  362. Luna Zen

    my half brother dropped me on my head as an infant… i didn’t die that time…or the time i had a severe allergic reaction to cough syrup at 1.5 years old. it’s going to be fine.

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  363. Kait Alexander

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4eab637eb74ba3d2051c828a8cf5fd5ecb644e369371f1fb06b0e0d51f7a3714.jpg Thanks for this. Just discovered. I’m a new mom, too! I saw you and your hubs at the Tampa Theatre on Valentine’s Day (2014?) before you had this bebe Ash. You talked about abortion and other sad things (on Valentine’s, of course you did) and it was great.

    On day six of my son’s life we had to take him to the ER because he had an eye infection. I thought prophylactic antibiotics in his eyes at birth was overkill. It just didn’t feel right pouring antibiotics in his brand new perfect eyes. He ended up with intense IV antibiotics for two days because “they don’t take any chances with newborns.”

    I felt like the worst mom ever. First decision of his life and I chose wrong. So many decisions as a parent, each with different odds of fucking up/killing baby/ permanent damage. At least the baby didn’t die right?

    Now I’m seven months out and he’s vibrant and curious and is ticklish and things are much better and easier than the tiny new baby stage but guilt is still my default state.

    Pic of my hospitalized baby. IV stuck in his tiny foot not pictured. :(

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  364. Malarkey

    A story, not from a parent, but from a brother(despite the age of this post, i always come back to this song and its footnotes. it gives me a sense of comfort like nothing else)

    There is an age gap between myself and my younger brother. and at two he was small, and mobile. and we were redecorating the kitchen. i was ten, and decided that me and the two year old would play hide and seek. and he went missing.

    for two hours…maybe three. We all panicked, clearly he had gotten outside somehow, and my parents were running around the housing scheme trying to find a runaway two year old. meanwhile i’d been given one hell of a shouting at because why would you play hide and seek when he’s two? he could get lost…..which he did.

    So i’m in the house alone, crying because i actually quite like my baby brother and would prefer not to be the catalyst for his disappearance. and i flopped down to sit on the kitchen floor. and noticed material sticking out from the bottom of the lower cupboard door.

    My two year old brother had fallen asleep, with his head resting on a shelf in the cupboard in the kitchen. quite soundly.

    I’m a youth worker now. and whenever someone mentions hide and seek i get a sudden pang of guilt and fear.

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  365. amanda

    I share a similar fear (hence the anonymous) of sharing too much even if it’s the simplest thing, not really a big deal. It was my big deal. I know this is an older posting, but what good is writing things down if we can’t find them when we need them most. First of all, you’re a wonderful mother. I feel ya on that whole can’t get the horrible-don’t want to relive it-image out of your head thing. It replays itself for awhile and it’s.. I dunno it’s worse than your heart in your throat, your heart in your stomach.. It’s like your heart is being carved up and filled with bits of your gut. Physically turning your head away fools you into thinking you’ve displaced the scene for a moment. My moment wasn’t getting the car packed up. It wasn’t the fact that we didn’t even go very far. It wasn’t the other car almost hitting us as it sped up to try and beat us to us in the middle of turning our car. It was safely getting out and into the house and looking down and seeing a carseat unbuckled. You are a wonderful mother. I don’t think I’m a bad mother either. I think the worst confession would not be that it happened, but that there was no dread in reliving a fistful of seconds as if the possibilities that surrounded it meant nothing to you. We learn because the reality of what could have been is awful. We apply fiercely, because the reality of what is and will be is beautiful and beyond anything the heart imagines.

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  366. Megan Barney

    Individually, when they were infants, I dumped my kids on the beach <> when I didn’t check that the handle on the infant carrier car seat *really* was locked in position and picked it up. All three of them. You’d think I would have learned after the first one. I had two speeding tickets influenced by my kid(s) (I can’t honestly blame it all on them, but well — panic). And that’s just the beginning of the list **we all have**.

    Questioning yourself is caring. Forgetful mom-brain is totally a thing. Panicking at the sound of your infant crying, even though you KNOW they are safe, and KNOW they will be fine, is a real thing. Being a human is hard, raising one is harder. Everyone else is a lot more understanding than you think. Love to you and your babe, momma. Your’e doing fine.

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  367. Talia Claire

    I’ve already said this on the Patreon FB group, but I might as well repeat it here: I’m not a parent, so I don’t have any confessions like this, but as a child, I was left in a hot car by mistake. It wasn’t anybody’s fault; it was an easy mistake to make. It was horrible, but I didn’t die. And when I first heard this song (last week, in concert) I laughed so hard I spilled my friend’s drink. Not entirely sure why it’s *funny* to me, of all things, but it keeps getting stuck in my head, and I absolutely love it.
    Amanda: I know you know there are mothers out there who are profoundly relieved to hear you share this anecdote in your music, but now you know that there are babies who were left in cars who feel the same way. I’m glad that you’re singing about it. Because I didn’t die, and that’s the important thing.

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  368. Maraike

    I am crying everytime I am hearing this song, because I can relate so much to it. Sadly I didn´t found it two years ago, when my daughter was at that age (she´s almost the same age as Anthony, 2 1/2 now). But all horrible moments with my firstborn came back. I not only left him in the car. I left him and the key… Some constructionworkers managed to open the door. You can still see where. And it wasn´t even my car. It was my mothers with she had lend me for the week. I still feel horrible about that. And for his first haircut I cut in his ear. He ist not afraid of getting a haircut now, because he doesn´t remember and I am not planning on telling him (he is seven now).

    My daughter has fallen out of our bed several times. But it´s not very high, so nothing has happened. With her I just feel a kind of general helplessness, because I never know what she wants or likes. And she changes what she likes a lot. She always was a small, skinny little thing and the doctor talked seriously about not giving her enough to eat. Bevore she was in kindergarden I had the feeling I was buisy the whole day either making food or trying to give her food (which mostly she wouldn´t eat, because she was changing her preferences every day).

    Now she is in a very good kindergarden and is loving it. It seems the problem with her and me is that she just thinks I am very boring and simply uncool. Looking forward for her to reach puberty ;D
    Thanks for sharing you´re stories and giving us room to share ours.

    Reply
  369. Dr. Whom

    I wanted to read all the comments first but there are 503.

    This is so…. incredible, Amanda, not as in “can’t be believed” but as in “so fucking good”, which with you is no surprise but is still awesome so many ways, every time, so many times.

    I’m a dad, and dads can have such moments too. And this song+story+narrative about all the oopses OMGs WTF!??s Where is he‘s, reminds me unavoidably of one of my such moments. We were in grad school at Berkeley, living in family student housing. I was down in the parking lot, changing a tire or checking the radiator or something. My wife and our daughter, then about 3yo, were with me. (details fuzzy, this was about 1978 or -9). So I was busy with the car, and my wife went upstairs to the apartment. And when I was done a few minutes later, I went up, and one of us asked the other “Where’s Susannah?” And the answer was “I thought she was with you!!” I looked down to the lot, and there she was toddling off toward the road.

    I teleported. I do not remember anything between seeing her down there, and running as fast as I could across the lot calling to her, an instantaneous transversal, and then reaching her and picking her up, before she could reach the road. Oh my God.

    There have been times, but that one sticks with me, painted in brilliant colors in my memory even though many of the details have gone blurry.

    Reply
  370. Jill Davies Wear

    Girl, my son is 10 now and my memories of that exhausting time of his infancy are so visceral that this made me tear up. It was so wonderful, but so overwhelming. My scariest moment was being completely sleep deprived and not seeing an oncoming car as I went to turn left onto a neighborhood street. Luckily, they had better reflexes than I did and nothing happened, but I went straight back home and decided that I was not fit to drive without a major nap. Now he’s a tween and playing video games and trying to see how much swearing he can get away with and shushing his friends if they start saying anything sexist so that he doesn’t have to sit through another installment of my History of the Patriarchy lecture series. We all do our best. It’s a miracle any of us make it to 18, but somehow most of us muddle through. Give Ash lots of snuggles right now at this age. It’s pretty delicious. Little boys are the sweetest, most tender little things. Thanks so much for the Tuesday cry. Love to you and Ash and Neil.

    Reply

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