Mum Guilt Kicks In

I’m not sure if it’s exhaustion, hormones, guilt or a mix of all three but I stood in my parents house today crying a silent cry as BB screamed with snot streaming down his face.

He’s ill. The change of routine, the full days at nursery, being lifted out of his cot while still asleep and bundled in to his car seat to be dropped off at whatever childcare option he’s going to that day.

He’s more exhausted than I am. Regardless of how adaptable and hardy babies are, it still takes it toll.

Then add in to the mix a little separation anxiety and a new tooth cutting – you’ve got a poorly baby.

This morning wasn’t the first time I cried this week. Last night I lay in bed, sobbing. Those heartbreaking, body shaking sobs. While Mr tried to console me and BB sniffled away in his room across the hall.

Why was I crying? I’d calculated that in the last four days, I’d spent a combined 3 hours with my son. 3 whole hours. Going from day in day out care, to 5 minutes in the car and if I’m lucky, half an hour before bedtime.

On Tuesday I didn’t see him at all. I had a work visit and had to be at the airport by 7am which meant leaving home at 6am. And I got home at 8:30pm. 2 hours after bedtime.

Last night, a presentation in the office which meant I left 7 minutes after my usual departure time was the difference between seeing BB awake and playing before the tiredness takes over and Mr answering the door to me with a semi conscious BB in his arms.

On Monday, his first full day at nursery, he was the first baby to be dropped off and the last to be collected. But there’s no alternative.

I feel like the nursery nurses were trying to give me exciting news of some crazy developmental leap where my son understood the concept of people leaving when they told me that when the children from his room left, BB waved and pulled a sad face. It broke my heart.

I need to make every second of the weekend count. I need to swap my work guilt for Mum guilt and leave the office at 5:30. 

This is totally foreign to me, I’m usually the one who’s first in and last out. But now that’s my son. I need to be able to tune out the idea that I have to stay behind. There’s nothing that can’t wait until tomorrow, or be finished in the evening once BB is asleep if necessary. I’m feeling myself tense up if someone comes anywhere near my desk at 5:20.

This will change, and it will get better. And BB being with his Grandparents while he’s got a stinking cold isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He’ll get spoilt and cuddles as between them there are four hands and if one of them needs the toilet, he can be handed over to someone else for those few minutes. But as he screams “mama” when I disappear for a second, any positivity that I’ve pep talked myself in to fades.

But then I whisper the magic words “mummy has to go to work now” and the smiles return. He snuggles in to Grandma as they wave me off at the door. I know he’s happy, but the guilt remains.

On a lighter note, I text my mum about how I felt on Monday and this was her reply. And that’s when I knew, it’s all going to be OK. Despite the fact that my nursery had locked me in at one point after all the staff had gone home!


Working Mums everywhere – I salute you.

Alex

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