Dear Stupid Parents,

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know about my current ‘foot issues.’ Something ridiculous is wrong with my right foot leaving me in constant pain and unable to walk. I’ve had X-rays and blood tests but nothing obvious seems to be the problem. It’s getting better; tomorrow I might even be able to put shoes on and leave the house but right now, I’m nearing the evening of the THIRD day in a row that I’ve been stuck indoors, medical visits aside. It’s the least fun, especially when the house is matchbox sized and ESPECIALLY when it means the poor, overactive toddler is stuck inside too.

Most of today, I’ve been feeling horrendously guilty about not being able to get out and about with Toddler Boy and sadly, this is a feeling I know too well; since having Baby Boy, I’ve felt guilty a lot. ‘Mum guilt’ is apparently the official term for it – used to describe when a mother experiences immense feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness for sometimes the most ridiculous reasons. It’s called ‘mum guilt’ because it seems to be the female parents who suffer most.  I’ve never heard anyone talk about ‘dad guilt’ or even ‘general parent guilt’ but I could be wrong. I asked my husband if he ever felt guilty about going to work or making parenting mistakes and he just responded simply “why would I feel guilty? Everything I do is for this family.”

Funny enough, his simplistic attitude to the uselessness of feeling guilty is the exact attitude I used to have to it. I never felt guilty about the many errors I made when I had my first baby. Even when I didn’t notice his pooey nappy leaked out on to his clothes for the millionth time, I didn’t feel guilty – I just accepted that not really knowing what I was doing was kind of part of it. I used to listen to other mothers talk about what blunders they’d made and how the guilt was almost all-consuming and I’d wonder why they were beating themselves up about it – being a parent is hard, surely we’re all entitled to muck up occasionally without worrying about it? As far as I was concerned, unless I’d neglected/hurt/harmed my baby on purpose, I’d no reason to feel guilty.

Unfortunately, that logic is all but gone now. Since having Baby Boy, the guilt I feel over my crap attempts at raising the Toddler, is constant – it’s caught up with me and it’s eating me alive! 

Some of the things I feel guilty about are valid, but most are utter nonsense – which I think is normal. (Whatever the hell that is.) Just so you know, if you suffer from this too, you’re definitely not alone – so in an act of solidarity, here are some of the things that most make me feel bad when it comes to raising that wonderfully nutty toddler of mine:

  • For still breast feeding the baby thereby making myself less available to the toddler 
  • For not being able to play with him when I’m dealing with the baby
  • For trying to make up for it by insisting we play later, when in reality, he’s too tired and just wants to relax in front of Peppa Pig for a bit
  • For letting him watch too much Peppa Pig
  • For turning off Peppa Pig before he’s had enough
  • For relying on TV to distract him while I sneak food into his mouth
  • For relying on straight-from-freezer food a lot
  • For trying to force feed him healthy stuff he doesn’t like to appease my own guilt
  • For not always letting him pick his own spoon cos it takes so long
  • For letting him still drink from his beloved bottle even though he’s nearly two
  • For half arsed attempts at getting rid of the bottle that break his wee heart 
  • For not letting him drink the lucozade sport I buy for myself 
  • For sometimes letting him drink the lucozade sport I buy for myself
  • For not eating dinner with him so I can eat in peace when he’s in bed
  • For not saying gooodnight properly most nights because I’m usually dealing with the baby
  • For insisting he baths with the baby even though it does his head in
  • For insisting he shares his toys with the baby 
  • For expecting him to want to be nice to the baby when he’s only a baby himself
  • For having the baby in the first place 
  • For sending him to nursery even though I’m on maternity leave 
  • For being late for picking him up from nursery 
  • For looking forward to the days he’s at nursery 
  • For being so excited about picking him up from nursery then not really knowing what to do with him
  • For planning to go back to work
  • For wanting to go back to work
  • For being so tired that I’m boring 
  • For sometimes taking him to cafes even though high chairs are his arch nemesis 
  • For hiding in the kitchen to eat biscuits so he can’t get them 
  • For sometimes letting him eat biscuits instead of proper dinner cos I’m just so relieved when he actually eats
  • For being on my phone a lot
  • For saying ‘no’ a lot
  • For saying ‘get down’ a lot 
  • For kissing him so much he gets annoyed
  • For not kissing him enough
  • For insisting he brush his teeth
  • For sometimes forgetting to brush his teeth
  • For making him wear outdoor clothes when he loves his pyjama bottoms so much that he cries when I take them off every single morning 
  • For the times we go out and I don’t put enough layers on him and he ends up cold
  • For raising him in a cold country when Australia is a viable option
  • For raising him in a city rather than on the coast
  • For raising him far from both sides of his extended family 
  • For not often enough showing him pictures of his family so he remembers them
  • For not living in a bigger house
  • For the fact that he’ll be sharing a room soon
  • For not reading with him enough
  • For freaking him out by crying when he does the actions to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star because it makes me happy/sad that he’s growing up so fast 
  • For not explicitly teaching him how to count/what the colours are because I just don’t think it’s a big deal yet
  • For educating him in a country where the pressures on school pupils are so high so early
  • For not being able to speak to him in another language like I always thought I would 
  • For failing to write him a letter a week like I promised I would when I was pregnant 
  • For not being perfect 
  • For not wanting to be perfect
  • For not being very sympathetic when he falls 
  • For sometimes laughing when he falls 
  • For not doing enough new and exciting things with him
  • For sticking him in the pram when he prefers to run
  • For ignoring his nap time when it’s inconvenient to me so that he ends up grumpy and sad
  • For getting frustrated when he’s grumpy and sad
  • For wanting more adult company
  • For wanting to be alone sometimes
  • For putting him down for a nap early so I can get a break 
  • For feeling like his naps are never quite long enough
  • For the times I watch him sleep until he wakes up before he’s ready and gets annoyed 
  • For pretending to be asleep when he cries in the middle of the night so his daddy has to see to him
  • For not letting him sleep in my arms when he was a baby cos I worried it’d instill ‘bad habits’
  • For insisting we hold hands when we watch tv together even though he HATES it just because I’m terrified of there ever being a last time we hold hands and when it happens, I won’t even know 
  • For never wanting him to leave me 
  • For wanting him to experience all the glory of the world but being genuinely worried about how I’d react if he ever told me he’s going to be as selfish as his daddy and I by moving to a different country 
  • For needing him so much more than he needs to be needed

Ah Motherhood. It ain’t nothing but love and a big old bag of emotional contradictions.

Sep x