I have two sisters. A twin and my little sister. I say little, she is in her mid twenties. Of my sisters, she was the first to have a baby.
My first niece or nephew! How exciting. I’d help out with babysitting, do general Aunty duties and generally love this new baby.
And being a teacher I know about kids, babies are practically the same, I can give her all sorts of advice on how to do things.
How helpful am I?
I was coming from a good place. But I forgot one very important thing:
I was not the baby’s mother.
When I think back now to how I must have made her feel sometimes, I genuinely hate myself. The first night I babysat him, I prioritised going into the town the next day over getting him back to her and had the nerve to feel affronted when she called asking where we were and was clearly annoyed that I was going to take more than an hour to get him home to her.
I took photos of my nephew and failed to ask her about what she wanted with regards to them going on social media.
I took hundreds of snaps of me and my nephew and very few of her with him. Because I had no idea how it feels when the entire family is taking pictures of your baby with everyone except you.
I judged her when she became exasperated with her baby. I mean babies are adorable, I’ve had him overnight and I’m not snapping at him.
Sometimes I didn’t give her the baby back until she asked. I could see she was hovering and I knew she wanted him, but I felt she was with him all the time, I was owed cuddles.
Once he was crying, I thought I was the best person to soothe him. I cringe at this now, if a baby is crying hand it to mum! (Or dad!)
I am so sorry my darling, if I’d had even the slightest idea of how it felt, I wouldn’t have been so selfish. I forgot one very important thing, what I thought didn’t matter. Because I’m not his mum.
I’m a mum now too, we do some things differently. That doesn’t make either way wrong.
But I had no idea what’s it like to not feel heard. To be the voice that’s lost in the crowd to be the most significant but feel utterly insignificant. To feel judged by everyone, including those with no fucking idea what being a parent is like!
I can’t change how I’ve acted in the past, but in the future, if I ever do anything like that again please, please…
just tell me to stop being such a fucking twat.