It wasn’t until Meghan had her twins and I gifted her my old stroller, that I realized I had been using it all wrong and my babies were never actually secure in it.
Let me rewind a bit.
I wanted my home and nursery to be organized the moment we brought our new babies home.
I organized, purged, labeled, cleaned. You name it, I did it. I was on top of my nesting game.
I was assembling cribs, shelving units and the one that got me so excited…the Snap-n-Go stroller!
So when it came in the mail, I immediately opened the box and started assembling. I remember using the instructions to put it together or at least I think I remember (mom brain…insert eye roll). Once I got it all assembled, I attached the car seats and proudly sent a picture to my husband.
The lightweight, quick and easy to use Snap-n-Go double stroller that I was counting on to help get me out of the house and functioning on my own with two babies, was finally ready to go! I saw this contraption as my gateway to connecting me with the real world; I wouldn’t have to manhandle two car seats while trying to get in and out of stores or mommy and me groups.
The thing is, I always wondered why this Snap-n-Go stroller never lived up to its name. Friends raved about it, the reviews were awesome, yet, the car seats never SNAPPED into place like I had expected. If I am being honest, the car seats never really felt super secure on the frame.
I pushed through in those early months and used the stroller, but I never loved it. It wasn’t living up to all the hype I was hearing about it. So eventually, it got folded up and stuck on a shelf in the garage, until it was time to gift this beauty to Meghan!
Now Meghan, proving to be more resourceful than me, found a YouTube video on how to assemble the Snap-n-Go and safely attach the car seats. So, naturally, when we met up after her babies were born, I quickly discovered that I had gotten it all wrong.
My jaw dropped as I stared in disbelief. There she was, a new mom just whipping those little babies into the stroller and off she went. I realized, that in fact, the car seats DID snap into place and were VERY secure. How could I have gotten it so dangerously wrong?
Embarrassed with my tail between my legs, I had Meghan show me the correct way. Boy, were my stroller skills lacking; my poor babies were probably in danger and I didn’t even know it!
I was immediately flooded with intense mom guilt, feeling like I had epically failed in keeping my kids safe.
That’s just it. Parenthood is a trial and error operation, where we learn from our mistakes and adjust to each situation as it comes.
There are going to be moments where we just don’t have it all together, where we wish that we had done it differently in hindsight.
Meghan’s supportive reminder that I wasn’t intentionally putting my kids in harm’s way brought some relief to the guilt I feel about the situation.
In the end, though, I’m not sure the guilt really ever goes away completely. It exists because we always want to do our very best for our children, and when we don’t, well it drives us to do better the next time. So I have learned how to acknowledge the guilt, practice self-acceptance, and reflect so that I continually grow as I navigate through motherhood.