Mum guilt: I can’t live with or without you
Definitely not a tribute to U2’s famous classic, but definitely how I feel about this whole parenting thing sometimes… okay, more often than not.
I recently started university again full-time, and it’s incredibly full on. I barely have time to think about anything that’s not law-related. Except, when I’m there, everything I think about is baby-related.
Our recent settling in sessions with the childminder have been great, Olivia has enjoyed them and is always happy as anything when we pick her up, but it doesn’t make the guilt of leaving her any easier.
The guilt eats at you all day. Some days since re-starting my education I have only seen her for 20 minutes in the morning, and it’s been Daddy picking her up from the childminder because I have so much work to do and can’t afford the distraction of coming home to try and study. As disciplined as I am and as good at time-management as I am, my baby is a distraction. Normally in a good way, in that I just want to spend as much time cuddling her as possible to make up for the time I’ve missed with her.
Does anyone else have a 16 month old who already is the worst behaved little screaming diva? Come on, she’s not 2 yet, those terrible twos should be at least 8 months away!
For the most part, her screaming is a normal part of our daily life now, and it’s something you become somewhat immune/deaf to. Or maybe she’s just reached a pitch that only dogs can hear (if so, I apologise to my neighbours and half of my street).
But it’s one of those awful situations where you’ve missed them so much, you come home and no angelic little sweetheart is waiting for you. Oh no, it’s your darling devil child coming to play, kicking and screeching and really making you wish you’d stayed at work/uni longer, whatever the case may be.
Then you see them snoring away peacefully, and back comes the guilt. Why didn’t I just hug her when she was crying and what am I doing wrong for her to scream like this? The truth is you didn’t hug her because she’d been screaming at you and started kicking/scratching/smacking you and that’s not okay, you had a short fuse because your brain is fried and what your child is doing should be classed as some sort of inhumane treatment, right? And secondly, you’re not doing anything wrong. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a game she plays to make me feel guilty as hell. They know what they’re doing, don’t be fooled!
So, I’m no longer a stay at home mum – to be honest, I was never home all of the time anyway. She would always have the odd day here or there without me, but never as often as this right now. It’s a huge adjustment for the both of us. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the guilt may always be there in the back of my mind even when it no longer bothers me.
For now though, every day is a struggle to be away from her and keep my sanity or to be with her and keep my sanity. And so, babies, this is our dilemma. Please understand and spare us mummies and daddies one night of respite, let us sleep it off and start afresh tomorrow.
Perhaps all parents are destined to be insane, just a little bit…