I live with my family and when they say that it takes a village to raise a child, they are so very right. I am ever so thankful to my mum who is always ready to take Elliott from my hands to allow me some respite. To nap, to meet the husband for a quick dinner, for a much-needed facial to save my desert-dry face. Unfortunately, as much as I love taking time out for myself, I am always stricken by mummy’s guilt. I used to laugh whenever I read about this whole “mother’s guilt” thingy and wonder why in the world would mothers not leave their child behind for a holiday or for a spot of shopping on their own.
Well, now I know.
The other day, there I was enjoying a relaxing facial in a darkened room. Lovely smells of essential oils filled the air and I took it all in. Suddenly, a vision of Elliott crying his head off popped randomly into my head.
Oh no. Is he doing ok?
What if he’s crying uncontrollably and needs me?
What if mum fell asleep from exhaustion and doesn’t realise that he has covered his face with the swaddle?!
The more I thought, the more ridiculous the scenarios became. The moment the facial ended and I had access to my mobile phone, I leaped out of the bed and sent my usual text message to mum:
Is E ok?
And the reply was: Yeah. Just fell asleep after drinking milk.
No drama. All was well. BIG PHEW. Mind you, it is not as if my mum has any problems managing Elliott. It’s just all in my head!
That same evening, I met up with the husband for a lovely Japanese dinner where I drank 2 bowls of soup, ate an entire portion of tonkatsu pork loin and finished up the entire bowl of rice because erm, breastfeeding makes me very hungry. We also had adult conversation where it wasn’t just about Elliott. It was very nice. But we did hurry home immediately after dinner to see our son, not lingering behind to shop. Hur hur.
On another recent occasion, I was getting ready to leave the house to meet up with ex-colleagues whom I haven’t seen for a while. I was brushing my hair and putting on make-up, something I haven’t done in a while. It felt nice to look nice instead of stomping around the house in nursing wear and unkempt messy hair. The husband was carrying Elliott while I prepped myself to head out. Elliott started to cry. It was probably gas or he was feeling hot, all usual occurrences but my heart was heavy. I felt soooooo guilty for…being frivolous. My son is crying and there I am, putting on make-up?! And brushing my hair?! It took all of me to grab my (non-diaper) bag and head out of the house while he wailed.
So yes, mummy’s guilt. Some days are good, i.e. I don’t feel too bad leaving him behind while on other days, I feel guilty just getting ready to leave the house. Is this normal? Should I be feeling this way? Please let me know, fellow mothers, new or otherwise!