The other day, I had a visit from a friend who had a month old baby. As she left, I told her to take care of herself and sleep when she could.
She replied “I’ll try. And I’ll try to stop feeling so guilty that the eldest is watching so much iPad”.
I remember texting another friend almost exactly the same after the birth of my second.
And there it is; constant Mummy guilt.
We feel guilty about everything.
About not spending as much time with the eldest when the second baby arrives.
About not spending as much one on one time with the youngest as we were able to with the eldest.
About going back to work.
About not going back to work and not contributing financially to the household.
About leaving the kids in front of the TV for an hour so we can make a lasagne from scratch.
About giving them McDonalds for dinner again.
About letting them watch too much ‘crazy-lady-opening-Kinder-eggs’ on YouTube.
About finding the eldest dancing on the dining table whilst the youngest naps, because we’ve nodded off on the sofa through sleep deprivation. (This is actually not my story but my Mother’s. The ‘eldest’ is me at three years old. In her defence, she only had four TV channels, none of which were showing kids programmes. YouTube wasn’t even a ‘thing’, so no chance of having ‘crazy-lady-opening-Kinder-eggs’ babysit whilst she closed her eyes. Parents now – we don’t know we’re born).
But you know what we should do?
In the words of Elsa…….
“LET IT GO! LET IT GO!”
Seriously. I am not scarred for life because, as a three year old, I tapped out a dance routine on the dining table whilst no one paid me the slightest bit of attention. My eldest does not appear emotionally damaged because I returned to work when he was ten months old.
Children need love and affection, boundaries and cuddles. Life is about balance. If your child has worn pyjamas for two weeks and has been fed KFC for every meal then maybe stand back and take stock. Ask for help.
But if you’ve spent the baby’s nap time snuggling on the sofa with the eldest, watching Ice Age again instead of painting up a storm or making playdough; THAT’S OK. You are doing a fantastic job and your child is enjoying cuddles and love and affection.
So, about that guilt?
Let it go.
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