The guilt

Being a mum and working full time is hard. During the week I see Toby for about half and hour in the morning when I get him up, dressed and dropped off at nursery. Thirty minutes where he’s often crying because I’ve had to wake him up at 6:30 am and I have to wrestle him into a clean nappy and clothes. Thankfully these days we rarely have tears when I drop him off at nursery but our mornings aren’t exactly enjoyable for either of us.

In the evening Barry picks Toby up at 4:30 pm after he’s had his tea at nursery. I usually get home from work at about 5 pm and have about an hour of play time before we have to put Toby in bed because he’s absolutely exhausted.

So during the week I see Toby for a grand total of seven and a half hours, while other people look after him for forty-seven and a half hours. I know he enjoys nursery, which is something at least, but it doesn’t stop me feeling sad and guilty that he’s not at home with me. Instead, I’m doing a job I don’t even like most of the time, looking after other people’s children, trying to teach them something they have no interest in learning.

And all this is bad enough when it’s going well. But on Thursday last week Toby fell, banging his ear on the edge of a table leaving a cut and a big bruise. The next day he crawled head first into a door stop and bumped his forehead. (And a few weeks ago he fell onto a table again, leaving a straight line bruise right across his cheek.) Then on Friday evening I noticed he wasn’t putting the heel of his right foot down. I thought it was a bit strange but decided to leave it overnight and see if he was still doing it on Saturday morning. Lying in bed that night I realised I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen him walk. He fell on Thursday and I couldn’t remember if I’d seen him walk on Thursday evening. My own child and I can’t even remember if he was walking or not. According to nursery he was walking while he was there on Friday, but if so something must have happened on Friday afternoon because he wasn’t walking by the time I picked him up.

I know all of these falls and injuries could just have easily have happened if he was at home with me. I know toddlers get bumps and bruises. But it doesn’t stop me feeling guilty. It doesn’t stop me thinking that if he had been with me then maybe he would be OK, or maybe at least I would have seen what had happened and we wouldn’t have such a mystery on our hands.

Because despite a trip to our local minor injuries unit on Saturday, a visit to our GP and to A & E today and two lots of x-rays, no-one can tell us what might be wrong with Toby or why he has stopped walking. They can’t see any breaks on the x-rays, he is still crawling and climbing, he is still putting weight on his bad leg and he doesn’t really seem to be in any pain. But he just won’t put his heel down so he has no balance to walk. So all we can do is wait. Give him Calpol and Nurofen and hope it improves on its own and if he’s still not better in a week we have to go back to A & E.

And while we wait I have to try not to let the guilt take over. I feel awful. I don’t want to take Toby to nursery tomorrow, to hand over the care of my child to other people so that in turn I can look after other people’s children. It doesn’t make any sense. And I’m so bloody tired. Toby still doesn’t sleep well. If we’re lucky there might be one wake up during the night, but more often there are two or three. It doesn’t help that he’s going through phase of only wanting me to comfort him so I have to be the one to get up to him. I just feel like I’m not doing anything properly at the moment. I’m being pulled in too many directions so I’m not doing my best at anything; being a mum, a wife, a teacher, a blogger even! I can do them all better than I am right now, but I can’t do better and do them all. But I have to. For the moment at least I have no other option. I just have to take a deep breath and keep on keeping on.

Apologies for the brain dump. I feel a bit better now.

Guilt is to motherhood. . .

Mummy guilt

I’m linking up this week with the lovely Sara at mumturnedmom for her shiny new linky ‘The Prompt’. Each week Sara will provide a prompt – the rest is up to you. I’m already joining in with a few photo linkys so the idea of one focusing on the writing appealed to me and hopefully I’ll be able to join in every week. You can read more about why Sara decided to start the prompt here.

So without further ado…this weeks prompt…

Guilt to motherhood is like grapes to wine. Fay Weldon

It is morning. I hear my baby wake up and start babbling to himself. I don’t get up, I wait. He goes quiet, I turn over and go back to sleep. Ten minutes later I hear him again so I drag myself out of bed to go to him. He is happy, lying in his cot and grinning at me, but I feel guilty in case he has been lying awake and waiting for me.

I sit on the sofa, scrolling through Twitter on my phone. My six month old son is lying on the floor, wriggling and reaching for his toys. He is happy and yet I feel guilty that I am not giving him one hundred percent of my attention, that I am not down there on the floor playing with him.

My boy is in bed having a nap. I hear him wake up and call out. I don’t go to him straight away. I just nip to the loo first and get the washing out of the dryer before I go and get him. He is happy looking at the stars and planets on his wall and yet I feel guilty that I don’t go to him as soon as I hear he is awake.

We go out to the park to meet our friends. Toby is sat on my knee whilst we chat. He reaches out and tries to grab the teapot which only a few minutes earlier contained boiling water. I move it away and he is fine, the teapot was cool, and yet I feel guilty that I didn’t think to move it out of his reach earlier.

Home from the park, and it’s time for bed again. My son loves to sleep and I know he needs his nap and I yet I feel guilty as I hope he sleeps for a few hours, so that afterwards I don’t have to entertain him for too long before it’s time to go and pick up his daddy from the station.

Only an hour until bedtime. The little bear is happy playing with his daddy and yet I feel guilty for counting down the minutes until we can have some time to ourselves.

My baby is clean and ready for bed. He lies on his daddy’s knee having his last bottle before bed. I kiss him good night and tell him that I love him. He is happy……… and so am I.