I think we've covered Mummy Worry reasonably well in the past (see it here and here for a refresher). Let's explore Mummy Guilt. From what I understand, as your child grows, so too does your Mummy Guilt. Mine is currently 7 (almost 8) months old, which compared to say, my mum's (love you, mum), it barely registers on the radar. Times it by the 3 of us, and her Mummy Guilt is off the chart (and don't even try to add on the Catholic Guilt). Regardless of the size of your Mummy Guilt, you feel it acutely. Here are a few things in the last couple of months that triggered Mummy Guilt. I know I will have many more instances in the future - probably far more dramatic than these, especially if we ever have a teenage daughter - but bare with me, I'm new to this...
- Bad mum: Not paying close enough attention so that I confused "I'm super duper hungry" with "I wanna go home and nap".
Good mum: Running home uphill (well, a decent incline, anyway) and singing to my increasingly cranky and STARVING baby when my milk has come in and I really need to pee.
- Bad mum: Knowing that if I host a BBQ with my mates, my gorgeous, super sociable little fella will barely sleep and will be buzzing from all the excitement hours later... and doing it anyway.
Good mum: Standing in the shower for 20 minutes so he can have nice, calming, warm water bouncing off his back while I shiver in the corner of the shower.
- Bad mum: Watching Chicago with my baby boy who seems to enjoy show tunes more than Sesame Street.
Good mum: Fast forwarding through the gratuitous sex and violence.
- Bad mum: Drinking beer and breast feeding (not actually whilst breast feeding. I'm not the Devil).
Good mum: Only drinking 1 and 1/2 light beers over the whole day, some of which was warm (and you know what? Still good. Which is a sign I don't drink often enough), and still being paranoid about the timing of feeds. Since it took the usual 3 hours to get him down, I'd say it was out of my system. Maybe I should consider the timing in the future... Don't judge me. You've all considered it.
- Bad mum: Sitting up at 4am and blowing off steam online.
Good mum: Despite being completely knackered, when little O wakes at 5.45 and wants to play, I'll get up and even be nice to him.
- Bad mum: Telling my screaming baby that all he does is scream (and that "I wish the Goblin King would take you away. Right now").
Good mum: Not running away after being screamed at for 2 days straight (and, if it came to it, being willing to running through The Labyrinth, meeting weird and wonderful creatures, and then facing off with David Bowie who, if memory serves, will be in tight pants, a cod piece and a massive blonde wig).
- Bad mum: Changing the words to a lullaby to include the line "Go the f*** to sleep"
Good mum: Starting a swear jar before he learns to speak.
- Bad mum: Running to get the camera when O is stuck in an amusing and cute dilemma, such as wedged between the bookcase and the cushions.
Good mum: Checking his isn't in any real peril before running off to get the camera. Extra good mum: stiffling giggles and laying on the sympathy after taking the picture.
Now that I've said them out loud, they're probably not that bad - certainly not anything he'll be describing to a psychiatrist in the future - but in those moments, I really did feel bad. In front of me, there is this beautiful, trusting, innocent person, who needs my help for so many things. But then he cries for 2 hours straight, does a poo as big as your head (totally just called you a poo head) and wont even do the most basic of things - sleep when he's tired - and you think, yeah, I'm gonna let that bit of Mummy Guilt go. I think I'll save space for the real ways I'll bugger him up. You know, like letting him watch the gratuitous bits on movies when he's 2yo.