I haven’t showered in four days. My son has bathed every night but not washed his hair in three. My daughter hasn’t napped anywhere but on me for two days now, and I have given myself one night, tonight, to get the hell over it!
The extreme guilt I am placing on myself because my wee family has been struck down with the common cold and because I now have two children as well as myself to care for when this happens, is driving me to despair.
People will tell me I am a ‘supermum’ but that accolade does not come with any practical, real-life superpowers that sure would be useful right now. It comes with a great weight of responsibility. It assumes that in testing times I will come out resilient and on top. But what if I don’t? What if all I want to do is take a shower and curl up in bed? And what if, as a stay and play at home Mum whose husband-man often works away for long stretches, what if I’m not the supermum people tell me I am and that I believe my kids deserve?
I am covered in breast milk. And I mean covered. Not, ‘heck I got a little dribble on my new pristine Warehouse kimono top I was going to wear out for brunch with the girls’ covered, but rather, my let-down is so intense and mestitis boobs so full that the mere sound of my daughter squirming in her cot has already soaked through the good (read expensive) breastpads and into my ill fitting pajama top. Add to this the milk bath I had at the last feed and will recieve again at the next one as she alternates between furiously burying her head into my chest as if she hadn’t fed a mere hour earlier and recoiling so fast so as to send a spray of milk half way across the room, drenching me further. As this has been going on for several days now and her brother is just getting to the end of his cold, I haven’t had a chance to shower, so believe me when I say, I am COVERED in milk.
I love breastfeeding my baby girl, as I did my boy, and I am in no doubt that it is the best thing for her to help get over this cold. But I am covered in milk and I feel disgusting. Worse still, I feel guilty that I feel disgusting. I feel guilty that I can’t spend all my days curled up on the sofa dedicated to getting my tiny baby girl (she’s actually not that tiny anymore, sob) back to her usual cheery self. I feel guilty when I do sit down to nurse her because her tiny nose is blocked so she is struggling to latch on and breath so she isn’t eating much but wants to feed lots and this is resulting in my two year old getting even less physical Mum time.
People always mention how great it is to have two kids – they will keep each other company, be the best of friends, thrive in an environment of constant peer led daily exploration. And they do and they will be and it is wonderful and I wouldn’t change it for anything but oh the guilt. The guilt of suddenly not being 100% there for a toddler who up until now had access to Mum whenever he liked pretty much. The guilt of saying for the zillionth time today, I’ll be with you in a sec honey, Mummy is just *insert one of a hundred baby related things that need to be done. The guilt when my beautiful boy looks up at me with those all knowing yet completely innocent big baby blues and says in a slightly deflated tone ‘ok Mummy’ and runs off to amuse himself.
And then there is the guilt I again project on to my baby girl. Am I giving her the same amount of attention I gave her brother as a baby? Are we working hard daily to meet those developmental milestones? Setting aside time for tummy time and a programme of extensively researched baby activities that ensure all aspects of her growing self are able to develop and grow like a pro. No, no I’m not. And I feel the guilt.
So so much guilt. Don’t even get me started on if I spend enough time with my husband-man, just us two, like we use to be. Or on my career (which is currently none existent, having been pushed further and further away and forgotten about) or my dreams and aspirations for the future. I should really start work on that portfolio. And I should really clean the bathroom. And the kitchen. And if we want to move soon I need to sort out the loft. And on and on the list goes and the guilt of not being able to complete anything in a sensible time frame or to a reasonable (read pre-babies) standard is killing me.
And how am I going to tackle this? Well I’m going to have to embrace it. I tried tackling the lists head on in order to feel more accomplishment. Running around like a mad person daily, never sitting down, but then even less time was spend with the kids and more guilt was felt. So now, I am going to try at least, to just embrace the imperfections. To enjoy the perfect times I do have; doing crafts with my boy as my girl naps, cuddling my daughter for excessively long periods while my boy naps, and sitting down in the evenings to just watch some tv with my husband-man when he is home and not worry than I haven’t accomplished anything ‘real’ that day. When all is said and done, I have the unconditional love of my two tiny humans and one rather larger human being, and they think I am a supermum even when I fail.
Now I have spent too long typing this up and feel guilty about that so must dash!