Ah mummy guilt you’ve ever been a close companion of mine ever since the moment I first looked into my boy’s eyes and asked ‘why isn’t he crying? Is he breathing?’
This week I spent a couple of fairly terrifying nights in the kids emergency with Bear after some complex febrile seizures due to an ongoing battle with recurring tonsillitis. We had to sit and watch his little body spasm while the nurses repeated the words that are supposed to be reassuring but really every parent dreads – ‘there is nothing you can do or could have done to stop this from happening. ‘ While intellectually I can accept this, apparently that horrible little voice in my head disagrees and starts harping away:
‘This is your fault you know, if you’d hadn’t had that dagwood dog/coffee/ham sandwich while you were pregnant he wouldn’t be having these’
‘oh look google says that kids that are breastfed to one year are less susceptible – maybe if you’d just tried harder at that you wouldn’t be sitting here right now’
‘oh he picked up the bug at daycare – so if you hadn’t gone back to work you would have a healthy son, god you’re so selfish’
guilt guilt guilt oh look more mummy guilt. The wars running in forums and comment sections have nothing on the guilt cooked up by my brain combined with some feverish late night googling. I have never had a moment where I felt like I was succeeding as a mother and spend every day feeling just that little bit guilty, just that little bit behind everyone else. Like being a good mother is this amazing club, and while I love my son (oh god I love him more than I ever though I could) I just don’t meet the entry requirements. It’s like being a 13 year old nerd all over again. No matter how many hours I held him or songs I sang to keep him happy while people stuck him with various objects the jury in my head always comes back with the same verdict – you could have done better.
And it needs to stop.
For all my faults as a person, it’s about time I admit to myself that I am constantly trying to be the best mother I can and surely that has to count for something. So today I am going to pat myself on the back for my recent achievements in motherhood.
- I played ‘Where’s Bear’ for 45 minutes straight without going insane. He actually got bored of it before I did.
- Over the last few days, I discovered that in my brain I have stored most of the Wiggles back catalogue. I’m fairly certain its pushed out something really important like the ability to sleep but hey, being the only one in the room who knows all the words to Fruit Salad might come in handy again one day. It certainly did this week.
- I held him when he cried. He knew he was loved and safe while he went through something traumatic, and that is a big deal.
They might not make me mother of the year but they make Bear smile and its about time I took that as the award that it is.