Eleven weeks into parenting and it’s safe to the hardest thing to cope with is the guilt. If you ever get to read my CV you will see that I describe myself as ‘Self-evaluative’, what I actually mean is ‘self-critical’ and not the healthy kind. I have spent most of my life telling myself ‘I’m not good enough’, is this healthy? Good Lordy no. In an unfortunate turn of events I have found that ultimately telling yourself this over and over results in actually not being good enough, or rational and ending a teaching career that had barely begun..
Anyway I digress.
We took Wills on his first holiday last week and he caught a cold. The symptoms are a cough that sounds like a bark, lots of raspy breaths and enough snot to fill a small pond. When it was clear something was wrong, my go to reason for him getting poorly was not the fact that he had been spending time with his two cousins who are little snot factories at the moment it was quite simply:
He must be poorly because I’m not breastfeeding.
It is my fault my child is ill.
When he woke in the early hours crying and struggling to shift mucus, I hated myself. Why did I let something like the fact that every time he latched (poorly) it felt like someone was taking a razor blade to my nipples stop me? When he got jaundice why didn’t I persevere with a feeding method that reduced me to floods of tears every time he so much as came near me and its ineffectiveness had caused the jaundice in the first place?
I felt like this for about a day. My cousin told me I was being ridiculous. That helped. I need to fight the mum guilt! I have many years of it to come so getting a handle on it now is essential. Here is a list of other things that have caused ‘Mum guilt’ for me recently:
When Wills woke up poorly his dad woke up to his cries before I did.
I don’t put kids TV on for Wills, I want to delay being subjected to that for as long as possible.
I’ve only taken him to one baby group.
I was annoyed when he threw up on me the other day.
I don’t know what he should be doing and when he should start doing it.
I can only remember the words to about three nursery rhymes.
When he cries, I don’t. (Well not when he’s crying for food)
I didn’t pay for a newborn photoshoot.
I’ve brought myself something new to wear and didn’t get anything for him.
I used the hand drier in a motorway services and it frightened Will so much he cried, and I didn’t feel guilty about making him cry. (Feeling guilty about not feeling guilty..)
These are but a few examples of why I feel guilty, any of them familiar? I would say realistically there is no way to avoid it, the trick is not to be consumed by it. When I get a handle on that I’ll let you know. Should give myself the reality check again…
In other news:
The cats have returned from the cattery Captain has shown affection towards hubs and Wills, not me. Furry little traitor.
Wills now smiles A LOT. Hubs and I could watch him do this all day, it is so lovely!
Still not confident that I can sneeze without weeing a little bit.