Mummy guilt strikes again
I think once you have children it's impossible not to feel guilty about most things, especially when it's something that you're doing for yourself. To spend time on my own or even meet a friend, which probably happens once a month, makes me feel slightly selfish and a bit guilty that I'm not staying with my family that day. But it's so important that we remember to take time for ourselves, pursue our own interests and don't lose our own identities. I do quite often feel like I'm just ‘someone's mum’ and that the old me is far, far away.
My son started nursery this week. It’s only for one morning a week but I'm hoping to build this up a little bit more if I can. I wish it was for me to purely have me time but then I think I'd feel really guilty, even though I know I shouldn't. It's actually because my world load has been so big I have been finding it hard looking after my littlest one whilst trying to work from home. It's sometimes impossible! So we decided last month we’d put him in nursery one morning a week just so I get at least one morning to myself to work from home without interruptions. I know I'll always be able to complete a client's work on this nursery morning and catch up on emails.
Reuben did his first full morning yesterday after two weeks of settling in sessions and let me tell you, it was bliss. Of course I feel terribly guilty for saying that, but being able to work for just three hours (by the time my daughter was at school) without any interruptions, I got far more done than I usually would and I felt a lot less stressed.
I am also sure that Reuben had an absolute whale of a time at nursery. He must have been in his element; a brand new room filled with new toys to play with and such lovely carers to look after him. He had lunch there, so one less thing for me to worry about this day. I know it will also be really good for Reuben as he's always just been at home with me. When I had Bella I had a lot of friends who had babies around the same time. Every week I went to at least two coffee mornings/play dates. I also looked after Bella’s cousins once per week for almost one year. I took her to Stay and Play, Tumble Tots, Bounce and Rhyme, and we did a lot of socialising with other children of similar age.
With Reuben things have been quite different. One near-ish friend has a similar aged baby, but work commitments mean we can only meet up once a month, if that. My other close friend with similar aged children has moved 45 minutes to an hour away so we only meet up about once per 6-8 weeks. This time is also different as I’m employed every evening and also run my own business during the day. I do not have as much free time as I did with Bella, which means Reuben is at home with me nearly all the time and not socialising with other little people - another thing to feel guilty about!
So as much as I do feel guilty that Reuben is now at nursery and I'm not solely the one looking after him, I do also feel quite happy. Happy for me as I'm going to be less stressed and happy for him as he's going to have other little friends to play with and lots of attention.
I'm pleased to say that his first full morning went really well after a little wobbly start once he realised I was leaving him and cried for ‘mama’. They said he stopped crying very quickly (phew) and settled in really well. He enjoyed running around saying ‘look, look’ whilst pointing at everything! He even polished off his entire lunch of spaghetti meatballs. I bet if I served this to him at home he’d push it away and say ‘NO!’ (Little monkey!)
I think no matter what we do as parents, and especially things we do for ourselves, we will always feel guilty. Even if it's just a tiny little bit of guilt because we’re not dedicating our whole self to our children. But we must remember it’s very important to take time for ourselves. This will make us even better parents in the end as we are less stressed and happier in ourselves.
Does your child go to nursery? How did you feel when they started?