Posts Tagged ‘guilt’

Motherhood with a capital G

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Let me preface this post with the much maligned expression that this is a first world problem. It is, I know it is, but it is my first world problem.

There are a lot of emotions that sum up motherhood, and they vary depending on the day you are having, or the day your kids are having.

Today for me it is guilt.

I dropped my two boys at daycare this morning. It is my bubba’s second day. He is only there for a few hours and it is breaking my heart. Monday he didn’t cry when I dropped him off, but when I picked him up he was sitting on the floor with his wrap that he loves, crying. I nearly started.

I scooped him up and he stopped straight away. They said he had been okay. They showed me photos of him happily playing outside, crawling over the equipment with a big smile. And then they told me that he hadn’t eaten, slept or had anything to drink. My heart sank.

Sleep, no big deal, he can go home and sleep and he is trying to drop that morning sleep anyway. Hopefully when he is there for a whole day,(next week!), he will get tired enough to sleep. Eating, well that’s a struggle during the day for me at home. He eats heaps of brekkie and heaps of dinner, but not much in between some days. Drinking, that’s a problem. Today it is meant to be stinking hot. He has to drink. I have taken his own bottle in and asked them persevere, often he rejects it from me five times before he has a drink.

So as I take the dog for a walk on my own, something I would normally love, I have to stop myself from crying. Inside there is an epic wrestling match going on. The blue team say he will be fine, so many children do this, there are many in there younger than him, there for much longer than him, some every day. One Dad who followed me out today, told me to just keep walking, its hard, but it gets better. He should know, his daughter cried for three months before she settled and now she loves it. Her baby sister who is also there, doesn’t even blink. But inside the red team are throwing some serious punches. Why am I doing this? I don’t absolutely have to go back to work yet. I can work for the rest of my life. He is only little. It’s selfish and cruel. The red team is winning. The tears well up.

As I wait in the coffee shop and look around, there are no other children, but lots of parents, not working, just hanging out with their mates, socialising. They don’t have guilty parent stamped on their forehead and their kids are obviously all somewhere else. I want to tell everyone that it’s my second day on my own, I want them to tell me its okay. I want them to share their experience and show me that down the track, their children aren’t traumatised by it. That their family is much happier for a bit of balance, a bit more money saved for the big trip, and a bit of independence from their mother didn’t hurt anyone. But their experience is not my experience, so whatever they say may not help anyway. And there are obviously lots of dedicated mothers not in the coffee shop, but at home making some kind of playschool craft with their children.

I have been down this road before. My wild child didn’t like daycare much either when he was littler and I was so lucky to find the perfect solution. He went off to a friend who did some daycare in her home. He loved it. In fact, I think he would have rathered have them as his family some days. But even then he cried when I left and then before I could get out to the highway a photo would land on my phone of my cheeky wild child happily playing with the other kids. He still talks about them all the time. And I honestly believe he is better for that experience.

Do I go back to that? I can’t afford both children to go there, so do I change daycare days, do two drop offs, pay a fortune and pack a bag with lunch and nappies and hope that my bubba is better there? Or do I persevere? Or do I quit? I don’t want my baby to cry all day, but I also don’t want a child who has to be around his mother constantly, that is not healthy for anyone. I have to work next week so he has to stay for two days. My husband can get him if he is not coping, but hopefully it wont get to this.

So instead of doing the work I am supposed to be doing, I am writing, trying to console myself. Inside the red and blue team are still in the ring, pounding it out and its only been an hour since I rang daycare to check on him. Tomorrow motherhood might be filled with joy, or frustration or pride or boredom, but today guilt takes top spot, at least until he is back in my arms, or throwing food across the room, and then the cycle starts again.




Oh Day Care, how I have learnt to love you….

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Today is day care day in my house.

It usually means a mad day of rushing around and getting all of those jobs done that are fraught with danger with a nearly three year old and bub in tow. I buy only what I need at the grocery store, instead of all of the extra ‘silencers’ that buy me some time when my toddler comes shopping. I clean the floors, once, and they stay clean. I do the washing, dishes, pay bills, check emails, walk the dog without stopping and head into school to tutor some Year 12 boys. Oh yeah and I feed, change, play with and settle the baby.

My day flies past. I rarely eat lunch or do anything for me. So today I decided to do it a little differently. Today I have decided to read the paper, write my blog, eat lunch, talk on the phone, all things I love doing but never find time to do. The problem with never finding time to enjoy these ‘luxuries’ is I get to a point at some stage during the week where I just get pissed off. Pissed off that I don’t get any time to do anything for myself, by myself. (Now granted I still have my bub with me on day care days, and prior to his arrival when I only had one, I couldn’t do any of these things, but you learn to be faster and very good at using one hand when there are two hovering at your ankles.)

I’ve had a few days up in Melbourne visiting lots of friends, hanging out with my family and getting a few jobs done. My husband gets some time to himself and my family get to spend some time with their nephews/ grandsons. Then I walk in the door to have friends arrive to stay for the weekend. They are easy friends. They let their kid eat whatever, watch telly, sleep wherever and don’t make too many comments about how crazy my kids are – which is nice. But by Sunday night I was knackered and bubbling under the surface was this angst.  As I pat my baby back to sleep having just got into bed and realising there is a load of washing in the machine to hang out, the angst grows.

I have just spent four solid days of making sure everyone else is okay, doing my bit to help out, check in, support, build relationships, offer food, clean up, make conversation, listen, make sure others get sleep and by last night I was done! I took the lap top and a book to melbourne, hoping to read and write, but couldn’t find the time to do either. Now my life is pretty easy compared to lots of my friends with sick babies at the moment, but it’s always busy and by Sunday night I was exhausted. I want someone to make sure I get uninterrupted sleep, or that my toddler isn’t being too offensive. I would like my kids’ uncles to make the effort to hang out with their nephews instead of me having to drive two hours with two kids down the freeway. I would like to go to bed complaining how long it’s been since I went for a really long bike ride, instead of how nice four hours of sleep in a row would be. I would like someone to call me on an afternoon and say, hey haven’t seen you for ages and we are just up the road can we come visit.

So instead of whinging about it, hang on, as well as whinging about it, today I just took a couple of hours off. I did my chores while by babies were awake and now while I have a little bit of quiet I am relishing it! Sure, I’ll pay for it later when the dinner isn’t made and the house is a bomb and the washing piles up and the dog hasn’t been walked, but today I don’t care. My son is in day care and I’m having some time off. I’m not feeling guilty about him being there. Not justifying putting him there so I can clean and cook and shop and work. I’m tired of telling people who don’t put their kids in day care why my son is going. Because for those of us without the luxury/ interference of grandparents round the corner, we know the benefits of day care. When you are two years old peer pressure is fantastic! You learn to use the toilet, stop crying at drop off, share, eat good food and even SLEEP IN THE DAY.

So goodbye to the guilt, sure it’ll be back this weekend when we see the in-laws and they wonder why he goes for a whole day when I work for one hour, but today we are strangers. Now for another cup of tea and a tim tam.

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