To all the mothers out there, have you ever felt guilty about something you have or haven’t done to do with the kids? Of course you have, its in the job description. Obviously some mums feel it more frequently than others and I don’t know where I sit on the spectrum.
How the Guilt Starts
The first feeling of guilt I remember with my son was when I decided to give up breastfeeding. If health visitors and midwives don’t put enough pressure on to continue breastfeeding, you can count on self punishment to tip you over the edge. My decision was based on the fact that I simply couldn’t meet his demands and it was seriously getting me down and just to kick me when I was down, it turned out he was allergic to cow’s milk. It felt like, if he could, my son was giving me the finger and saying ‘this is all your fault’.
Throughout his short two years on this Earth so far, I have managed to torture myself over all the things I have done ‘wrong’ obviously completely ruining his chances in later life.
Like, the time when he told me (and everyone in the library) that he had done a poo. I believed him because the evidence was wafting through the air, but as he was still in nappies I thought, ‘it can wait til we get home’. Until I did get him home. Then, I discovered the sweetcorn riddled turd had, in fact, run down both of his legs.
Fortunately, he had jogging bottoms on that were elasticated at the ankles, which my own mother affectionately calls ‘shit stoppers’. Now I know why.
Nightmare of a Day
Today, I had another wave of guilt drown me. My son had been whining all morning, which I put down to him attention seeking because I was feeding and changing his sister.
Rushing around Aldi with the double buggy, then to the library only to discover I had left Thomas the Tank Engine book at home, he whinged the whole time. It wasn’t until we were leaving the weighing clinic (which I walked in and straight back out again because the queue was as though they were giving away a gallon of Calpol to everyone) I noticed my son’s hands and lips were tinged blue, bags under his eyes and a temperature like the surface of Mars.
After breaking every speed limit on the way home, I put him straight to bed with a dose of Calpol and immediately phoned the doctor for an emergency appointment. The earliest they could do was 6pm and even then I would have to sit and wait til the doctor had seen everyone.
Dinner Date or No Dinner Date?
What I failed to mention earlier is that today is my husband and I’s wedding anniversary and we have planned a child-free evening out for dinner and wine. So in the back of my mind I’m now thinking ‘maybe he isn’t that bad’ and instantly afterwards kicking myself for putting my night off first. This internal battle has guilt on both sides; for not realising why he was whingeing in the first place and for being selfish.
My guilt soon subsided though when I hear ‘I want Peppa book, Mummy’ at the top of the stairs. I go to see how he is and he is smiling with rosy cheeks. Phew! Dinner date is still on.
He is now sat on the floor next to me throwing talcum powder all over the floor and the baby. So I now I feel guilty for leaving him to play on his own for ten minutes. Hmph!
How do your kids make you feel guilty?