I certainly wasn’t the only pregnant woman to ever wonder if she was doing everything in her power to create a healthy growing environment for their small-fry.
Was I stressing too much about seemingly insignificant in-the-grander-scheme-of-things stuff? Was I getting enough fresh air? Sleeping enough? Eating healthily? Was the little life in my belly getting enough nutrients? Moving enough?
Did I breathe in too much second hand smoke (the alarming amount of people happy to smoke in front of obviously pregnant people is a whole different topic, especially given that it’s nearly impossible to escape without causing a scene or becoming a hermit).
Did I care too much about that one thing and let my blood pressure get too crazy too often?
And then he was born…
Did I try hard enough to have a natural birth? Should he have gone to chiropractor since he was a C-Section baby? Did I do him any harm by taking him for a checkup with the paed at 7 weeks instead of 6 on the dot?
Should he be vaccinated (yes!), and if so are the government-issued vaccines enough?
Is he listening to the right music, learning the right things and eating the right stuff? Should I be spending more on his food? Did I breast feed for long enough?
There are logical answers to all of this that will show the lengthy considerations and debate that have lead to the decisions we’ve made, but the thoughts still linger.
And then we get to… work.
Leaving your child at home whilst you forge your path in the corporate world, all the while hoping that he’s ok, happy, developing (he is).
It doesn’t matter how much love this little child gets, how many kisses and squishes and beautiful naps in a warm, cosy bed. My mind will always wonder if it’s enough. Not for me, but for him. So that he never says, “I wish you had” and can do everything he dreams of doing.
Then I kick myself because I’ll be damned if this child is entitled and things he’ll get every thing he wants just because he wants it, without having to work his cute little dimply butt off to get it.
I think you get the picture.
So, let’s talk about what causes it.
It’s those little, “Should he be doing X by now?” and “When my sugar plum princess buttercup was that age I think she had started Y-ing, but don’t worry it’ll happen soon I’m sure.”
And the, “Oh, you’re back at work. Shaaaaame, it must be SO hard.” – it wasn’t and I feel SO kak for not crying and being an emotional mess when I leave him, even though I know my emotions are justified because we found THE BEST NANNY EVER.
You’re on solids? Isn’t it too early?
You’re not on veggies? Isn’t it about time for that?
You don’t go to baby yoga, super nifty kiddie hydro spas or take your child for a walk in the fresh air EVERY day? WHO ARE YOU?
I saw this on Scary Mommy and liked it:
So instead I’m choosing to embrace the guilt, because doing so allows me to do two things:
To accept that I’m not perfect. Oh, I try to be. Or I at least try to give the impression that I am. But I’m not. And when I accept that I’m not, I can get on with the important business of loving my kids as an imperfect mom. Which means I can teach them at an early age not to expect perfection from imperfect people, including themselves. And I can model for them how to make amends when that imperfection leads to hurt, as it inevitably will.
And it allows me to realize that I care. I mean, if I didn’t care, I would have nothing to feel guilty about. The fact that I foolishly feel guilt over anything and everything proves that I really want to do what’s best for my kids. That realization alone allows me to breathe a big sigh of relief.
And the more I googled phrases like, “Why do I feel so guilty when I’m doing nothing wrong – motherhood” I realised that I was not alone.
Here’s something from Huffington Post blogger, Kathy Radigan:
When something does occur that’s not in my plan, it’s easier for me to blame myself. If I was at fault, I can control it and make sure it never happens again.
I wish it was that easy. Experience has taught me it’s not.
Or, rather, Lizzy has taught me it’s not.
Though Lizzy’s challenges were not in my plan, they’re a part of her.
As she sings her version of, Do You Want to Build a Snowman, substituting the words, do you want to buy a juice box, because I have banned her from having any more since she decided it was more fun to explode it on my new floor than drink it, it’s hard not to admit that Lizzy is who she’s supposed to be.
She doesn’t blame me for the things she can’t do. She’s too busy living her life and blaming me for ruining her life because I won’t let her have my iPhone, or wear my favorite blouse on her head.
I want to say we should all just keep our opinions to ourselves, but that’s not the answer. Some of the opinions that have been shared with me have REALLY helped. We have a content little baby, and so do you, so maybe, like so many other areas of our lives these days, we just need to cut ourselves a little slack, take a breath and have a little faith in ourselves being enough.
I don’t have the answer, guys and gals. Sorry. But I can offer to make you some tea and have an honest conversation about all the things I don’t know and am worried about so that you, too, can let down your guard and just parent.
p.s. Again, I am saying I, instead of we, but I am not alone in this. I just needed to vent, daddy didn’t.