As a mummy I constantly feel guilty about certain things; whether I’m giving my boys the best start, am I doing everything too much or too little, am I overly strict or not strict enough. But some of my friends have had terrible times and I feel guilty that I’ve been so lucky. One friend tragically lost her baby at 38 weeks of her pregnancy and another has discovered she has bowel cancer when her little boy is only 15 months old. Whilst I have done nothing to cause either of these situations, I feel guilty that on a regular basis I am not happy and yet I have everything that I ever wanted. It makes me feel that my problems are so pathetic and not important at all and I’m silly for feeling the way I do. How can I complain about my lot in life when I have two gorgeous boys who are happy and healthy. I also feel guilty that I missed about 6 months of child A growing up because I was so ill during my pregnancy with child B and spent most of the time in bed. He’s not going to remember that mummy wasn’t around much because he was only 18 months old but I know and I remember and I wonder how I can ever make it up to him. In discussion with other mummies I find that the guilt of everything hits everyone but the trick is to not let it take over and get you down. You have to accept that feeling guilty is part of being a mummy and use it to make you a better mummy and not stop you. I’m still struggling with this and on days when it really hits me I struggle to keep going. What I always try to remember is that every mother feels guilty about something at some point and I’m not the only one.
I’m very proud of the fact that child A will eat almost everything and would rather have fruit than chocolate. I have no idea how we have achieved this as I’m an incredibly fussy eater and wouldn’t give him certain foods because they creep me out! So how he ended up being such a good eater is probably down to H’s dna and the nursery. Because of this when it came to weening child B a month ago, we decided to use the same method as for child A. This involves starting at 5 months with baby rice and moving through to porridge and fruit and veg puree and then by 6 months going to baby led weening. Now we only decided to start at 5 months because we thought going from only milk to food overnight would tax his little digestion too much and that we’d try a few more subtle things first. We moved the baby rice to dinner when we realised that he slept better at night having a fuller tummy. But when he hit 5.5 months I got out my blender and made a few purees of carrot, carrot and parsnip and potatoe. Now it wasn’t a huge amount of effort to make these purees but I felt good for doing them. I felt like one of those perfect mums you see pictures of in magazines and on Facebook. The fact that my best friend was holding child B to keep him happy and child A was kept occupied with a fireman sam dvd is besides the point! That evening we tried the carrot and he was not impressed and promptly threw up the small amount he’d ingested. Carrot and parsnip went the same way. The potatoe started off ok but he wasn’t too keen on it so barely touched it. Fearing i had a fussy child on my hands, we decided to try some packaged pouches to give him some other flavours without having to spend a fortune buying huge amounts of veg that weren’t going to get eaten and were less effort. I wish I hadn’t bothered with making my own at all. Although he’s not been as keen on a few as others, they’ve gone down better than the ones I made.
I do not enjoy breastfeeding. I find the whole concept weird and when I express I feel like a cow being milked. But you are told as soon as you get pregnant that breast feeding is the best thing for baby and so as a mummy who always feels like I’m failing, even before the little ones arrived, I made the decision to try breast feeding. Now whilst I don’t enjoy it, I find it very easy. I’m incredibly lucky that I have an abundance of milk (one midwife made the comment that I had enough milk to feed the village) and rarely have to feed for longer than 15 min on a single side and I can express about 9ozs a day on to of the regular feeds. So for me breast feeding was and is the easiest choice. But there are times I envy the bottle feeders. Yes you have to wash and sterilise everything and make up a bottle and warm it up, but partners can help with night time feeds, you can have a rest without worrying that the little one will demand food within 10 min of you lying down and you can go out. Now I know I could express a bottle and leave H with child B, but if he’s too tired he won’t take it and child A refused the bottle completely no matter which brand we tried! So I do at times envy the bottle and think I could stop feeding and switch. But then I would be a failure in my eyes which is utterly ridiculous because I do think in certain situations bottle is best. I have a few friends who have had the disadvantage of little or no milk and have therefore not had a choice and I’ve had other friends who after various lengths of time have stopped breast feeding and switched to bottles. For some of my friends I’ve actually advised them to move to bottle feeding in order to relieve the pressure on them and to have some rest but they have all felt guilty about it. “Breast is best” has become a saying that is churned out again and again to any new mum or expectant parent but I was even told that I would have to give child B vitamin supplements because I’m breast feeding and not bottle feeding. So if breast is best, why do they need supplements. I was purely breast fed and H was purely bottle fed and yet we both achieved the identical degree from the same university so is there any advantage to either route? A very wise friend of mine once said “happy mummy, happy baby” and I agree whole heartedly with that. So I believe that the choice of breast vs bottle should not be down to what is expected but for all the information to be given and for people to be able to make their choice based on what is right for the family and their situation and not to be made to feel guilty about that choice. By anyone.
After one of the worst nights of being a parent where I was woken numerous times by not only the children and H’s snoring but by the smoke alarm deciding to run out of battery at 2.20am, I have resorted to putting child A in the bed next to me with the ipad and child B in the cot so I can get some rest.
I am lucky that I have grandparents who take child A one day a week which happens to be today but he is still watching the ipad as we wait for him to be collected. He has mounted up a total watch of over 2.5 hrs of nursery rhymes and silly songs with the odd episode of peppa pig. But is this too much?
When I only had child A and before the nightmare pregnancy of child B, I was proud of the fact that my child never watched tv and didn’t know what “in the night garden” was and now he’s sat on the floor of the lounge glued to the ipad. This is one of the many things that contribute to my feelings of being a failure as a mummy. But am I? Although I’m currently on maternity leave, looking after children is hard work and a full time job! (I now have so much respect for stay at home mummies! I couldn’t do it!) So when exactly am I supposed to do the five loads of washing and the washing up let alone clean the house without the help of the ipad babysitter? If it occupies child A for half an hour so I can make a dent in the masses of washing that seemed to appear overnight, what’s the harm? And how is it any different to sesame street? I’m not advocating using the TV or ipad to do all the entertainment all day for you, but when you’re shattered and need a short break or just need to get a wash on so you have clean knickers, is it really so bad?
The 3am feed is a very lonely time. It’s usually incredibly quiet (even if you live on a main road) and you feel that you are the only one awake!
Whether or not your child has slept through from the day they were born, at some point, whether because they are ill or had a nightmare, you will have been awake at 3am. Now for some reason this tends to be when I think about the world and what a terrible mummy I think I am, whilst cursing my child for a) waking me and b) deciding to have the longest feed ever, even if in reality it is only 10min long which is usually the case. I have decided therefore to make a note of some of these musings in he hope of settling my brain, providing some entertainment/reading matter for those who are also awake, some thoughts that may provide comfort to other mummies or daddies and hopefully preventing me from going any more insane!
I have two gorgeous little boys who I adore but who also, by the end of the day, have me pulling my hair out. The eldest is an incredibly intelligent 2yr old who likes to be ahead at everything and the youngest is my gorgeous bundle of squidge who is only 5 months and only just starting to show his personality. For the purposes of this blog they will be child A and child B with my husband being H. I know a lot of other sites have acronyms but I could never get the hang of them so for ease I am creating my own.
These blogs will just be a collection of my thoughts and opinions and whilst you may not agree with them all, I hope they will show some struggling parents that they are not alone and that other people feel the same way. I also hope to perhaps say out loud (so to speak) those things that some people (including myself) feel that they can’t say to anyone or anywhere else. I hope you enjoy these ramblings and feel free to comment and suggest things but please be gentle as I am very sensitive due to sleep deprivation!