Reason 5,678 for mum guilt 

I miss my daughter, it feels like a terrible thing to say but as I have made it to the first birthday of my son I find myself realising just how much that has encroached on our time. I would not reverse the clock, I adore my George but there is much that has changed and the things I find myself with a lack of are time, patience and attentiveness and these things are so important to any child. I get the guilt. Another dimension of mum guilt, one that I didn’t have the hindsight to predict. 

My daughter is happy, like the most happy and delightful child I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and I am so lucky that she is mine but I feel like I am missing a lot of this to tend to her brother. I am lucky because she loves the (not so new) newcomer more than words can possibly describe and this love is likely to be the ultimate remedy for anything she may be lacking following his arrival. That’s what family brings, it supplies you with what you need even before you know you need it. 

I think that maybe I need Millie right now more than she needs me, I miss her more than she misses me and this, I think, is because she has adapted so gracefully into being a family of one child to that of two and it really should be celebrated. Unfortunately I need my Millie fix, I need our previously I disturbed chats about unicorns, I need time to do crafts with her instead of being too scared of George choking on the beads, coating himself in glitter and eating the glue, and more than anything right now I want her to sleep in my bed and spend the night kicking me. 

I think the main reason that this hurts the way it does is because of the age gap, it had been a massive 7 years between having to put any other persons needs above my daughter. I got all of her and she got all of me. 

The guilt is stupid because she is still my ray of light and the fact that I have been blessed with another ray is extraordinar and the love the new brings is new, it doesn’t half what you have it doubles. 

Please tell me I’m not crazy and this is completely normal. 

Daily Mail Mother Hating.

I read an extremely rude article (obviously a daily mail special) about how fashionable it is to be a selfish mother, drink a lot of gin and confess to the moments your mothering has been a little under par. I get it, I write openly about how hard parenthood can be and I want so desperately to remove the stigma that plagues us all with having to be the best at something that is so notoriously hard for many of us but we need to do this with a degree of restraint because glamourising dysfunctional behaviour can be very damaging. The ‘instamum’ fad is something that I follow because it’s somewhat interesting but it is far from my life, I often blog about the difficulties of every day life with a baby and child and all the washing and the bloody bottles and before that the problems I had with boob feeding but it is all required to raise my little humans. I laugh at the size of my butt and the hangover I may have once a year when I dare to make that trip back into normality, BUT to me and many other mums it is not normality! I cannot afford to drink fancy gin infused with the flowers from a Beatrix Potter like garden, I cannot afford the beautiful shoes and all the fancy clothes, I cannot afford to resume my previous job and benefit from some of the freedom that may allow. I am not bitter, I have two gorgeous children and the last thing I want to do is be judgemental but what we should do is take the things we see with a pinch of salt because these mumma’s with the thousands of followers on social media may not be portraying the reality of their life (barely anyone does these days) and in allowing others to see what makes them popular as the norm of their life may lead to the imitation of this and it could become dangerous. Let’s face it all that gin they apparently consume may be a lie, and if it isn’t they may have a really good support network of people that help them out with their busy social life.
Essentially what I am trying to say in the most nonjudgmental way possible is that for the vast majority of us parents we cannot simply (and I do not believe we should either) slip children into our lives, we need to adapt and change to what they need. It is hard to retain your original identity when you have children, and I am not saying that you will never get it back or that at times it is not okay for it to make a comeback whilst you are at the bar drinking shots but that is not the reality your children need as a common occurrence. Children need to come first, that’s right I have to take a back seat with my own needs and wants to fulfil what I want for my children. I choose to populate, I need to ensure that I do it to my best abilities.
I also am suffering from postnatal depression and anxiety and whilst I do my best at as mum I can sometimes see the lifestyles of others who are more confident, outgoing and relaxed mothers and want a slice of that, I know my limitations and I cannot afford myself to slip into the bad habits of lazy parenting because it would be so detrimental for me. Remove the stigma of accepting that some days are a little shit, some weeks, some months even, do not glamorise the notion of being a mother that doesn’t care (not saying that they don’t) is okay. You get me?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4508726/Why-women-boasting-slummy-mummies.html

 

I Hate Everything.

So as I ponder what might be a fun activity to pass the many hours until bed time I am reminded of how much I hate activities. These are a few of the many things that I have the displeasure of doing quite frequently:

I hate Parks.

I cannot remember a time young or old that I enjoyed parks, they seem to be an area containing an inexplicable number of climbing apparatus designed to both entertain your children and very likely damage them. I swear half the ‘play things’ found in our local parks have been designed by people who hate parents and they just keep getting higher and faster as though there is any actual need for this. I know that I sound like a grumpy mumma who hates the idea of fun but actually I am just a chronic worrier which is undeniably worse. Then there are the things that really shouldn’t be in the park such as dog shit, smoking swearing teenagers, and often the very distinctive smell of weed so if we combine the antisocial behaviour and the risk of death I like to avoid parks where I can but unfortunately with two children I cannot. Bravo.

I Hate Soft Play.

Probably one of the worst ‘child friendly’ activities for the attentive parent, these places breed the notice that as long as your child is okay on their feet and they are passed a certain age (massively variable from parent to parent) it is totally acceptable to have a cuppa and stare at your phone for two hours. I also begrudge paying for my son (when taking my daughter) who is under a year old when he is confined to the smallest area of mat with a few balls and soft toys, the real issue I have with this is simply that I have to police this area for it to be safe because all those big children who cannot read the sign saying ‘babies only’ jump through it knocking over all the little ones, whilst their parents are still sipping that cold coffee and checking out what Susan did over the weekend. And breathe. Also who cleans that place? How do they clean that place? They are normally not very well ventilated and full to the rafters of children sweating like they are in a night club; I have found old socks, plasters, bits of tissue in these places. Also like if those points were not nearly enough to have to deal with let’s talk about colds, these areas of play must be a haven for germs and with the lack of possible ways to clean an establishment that has 15 ball pits in I very much doubt the child with the snotty nose and the cough is keeping himself to himself.

I Hate the Swimming Pool.

Now swimming pools are not that bad, they are clean (regardless of the amount of child piss that must be released) they are well manned by people ready to save your life and very often the baby friendly area is lovely and heated but if like me you are still carrying some baby weight mixed with some emotional weight and a good serving of exhaustion weight you might wish to avoid them anyway. There is nothing that feels me with anxiety like the idea of getting down to even a one-piece for all those people (who are not actually watching) to see, it is not just the extra padding that has found its way onto my arse, my thighs, my arms, well let’s just say everywhere it’s those unwelcome fucking friends it has also brought like Mr Cellulite and Mr Stretch-Marks (they are Mr’s for obvious reasons). Consider the time it takes just shaving for such a catastrophic event, especially when that time isn’t given freely by your baby. If like me you are also scared of the hairdressers you will know the very real threats of having people see you with wet hair, it feels me with horror that a women being paid to sort the birds nest I call my hair has to see it let alone people just heading out for some leisurely fun.

Sharing

You would imagine a baby/toddler/child who is constantly demanding that they are entitled to half if not more of everything you have would get the concept of bloody sharing but hay it’s just not that easy. With the eyes (and later mouths) that scream ‘I want that food’, ‘I need the remote’ (regardless of the fact that they are indeed about to change their channel and then hissy fit about that shit) and the most parent humiliating ‘give me that toy before I end you’. Nope. Nope. Nope again. Sharing is the super hard thing that not only teaches the child a valuable life lesson I would hazard a guess shortens a parents life by approximately 5 years, it can be utterly gruelling and you may find yourself saying the same sentence more times than you thought possible. The other real fucker about this sharing malarkey is that, of course with every other achievement, it comes at different times for all children! It is hard to find the tactics that work and sometimes it’s a case that they get there eventually after a painstaking play date where you nearly drop kicked little Sally. Another thing, when do the little grabbers even have the require capacity to learn this important social skill? Socialising with your tiny human can indeed be traumatic, I find I worry a lot less about the other children participating than I do mine which I watch like a hawk to make sure they are sharing but with that there is always the secret judgement of ‘that parent doesn’t care that their little boy has jumped the queue to the slide 15 times’ thought in the back of your mind. Now this is where we need to be giving that parent a break because who knows what sort of parenting shit they need a break from, we all do it, we all let these things slip and the benefit of the doubt goes a long way. However repeat offenders will be hung for their sins (just kidding). I guess I’m asking for patience for those still teaching the value of sharing and a little bit of slack.

Other people’s Children 

I hate children, with the exception of my own, the children of friends, and of course the ones I am related to, and for years I thought I was a monster for avoiding them at the park, kid’s parties and of course the dreaded soft play venues. If you are also feeling like a cold hearted bitch like me fear not for I have spent much time rationalising this and it’s all to do with boundaries or indeed the lack there of. Let me break it down for you:

The horrible kid: is actually not a bad kid we as other parents just don’t know how to deal with them, let’s face it all children go through the stages of not wanting to share, biting and downright difficult shit mode, we have all been there. The difference is I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams tell another child off, it’s not my place. 

Assumed responsibility: a child falls over in a park we all rush to check they are okay, or maybe every other adult there is looking at their shoes (I have found this especially true of men) and suddenly you (and rightly so) have to comfort this child and return them to their parents. So there is also a chance this kid is bleeding and doesn’t want to tell you where their parents are so you are attempting to persuade a child that has probably learnt ‘strange danger’ to come with you. 

Food thieves: there is nothing that attracts the unwanted attention of little sods like the opening of a food wrapper but you can’t just feed other people’s sods because they may have crazy dietary requirements that you haven’t even heard of. Even if the child is allergy free it’s still not okay. 

The crippling fear: my fear is not merely reserved for children but also parents too, even though I have risked the outside world I am not always ready to talk to another person let alone another mumma. Parents can be the worst people to talk to, the likelihood is they have yet to speak to anyone for the last god knows how long and there can be an air of desperation around us all. It is worth talking to them or you end up a hermit like me who actually really needs friends. 

Kids are disgusting: it’s true! Don’t judge me, unless you are running around after them wiping their noses, checking for poop, and stopping them from licking everything it’s likely that’s they are snot covered, shit smelling, little dribblers. It’s okay mine have been/will be the same.

Just a snippet from a book I’m complying titled ‘The Practical Guide To Why There Is No Practical Guide To Parenting’.