Episode #20 Mum Guilt: The never-ending story

The other morning I was feeding Ollie his morning cereal. He was a bit cranky thanks to the two new teeth that were on their way to taking up residence in his mouth. I was feeling a little delicate after having a combined 4 hours sleep the previous night and being home alone with bub while Aaron was on a work trip. I loaded up a spoon of cereal and started up the choo-choo train noises. Just as that spoon of food was almost at his mouth, he slapped my hand. This is not uncommon and normally I’m on the lookout. Not today it would seem. The spoon’s contents were sent flying and landed on the wall behind him and the couch. Suddenly, I felt unreasonably upset.

He slapped his hand on the tray of the highchair in protest. I did the same and loudly said “No”. He looked at me and his tiny face crumbled and he started to cry. I stood up, flicked the TV to the kids channel, put a couple of toys on the tray and slunk into the kitchen. I put the bowl of cereal down on the counter, then sank to the floor and cried. I should note that by the time I had reached the kitchen (which is around 10m from where Ollie was) he had stopped crying and instead was laughing at something Peppa Pig was doing.

I must have sat on the floor for all of two or three minutes throwing myself a pity party. During that time I mentally berated myself for (but not limited to): worst Mum ever; getting upset and raising my voice at a baby; mimicking the behaviour of a one year old and then saying no; for emotionally scarring my child by behaving like a nut case and wondering when my neighbours would be calling child protective services. Yes, I managed all of those wondrous thoughts in a short period of time. No need for applause, I know just how talented I am.

I was well on the road to calming myself down when I heard Ollie laughing. I popped my head up and saw him smiling and playing with his toys. Interesting. That didn’t look like the face of an emotionally scarred little boy. He turned around and saw me watching him. I smiled at him and instantly his face lit up. In an instant we were best friends again.

For the most part, I cope pretty well with sleep deprivation. However, it doesn’t take a genius to know that if you are very VERY tired, it’s more difficult to gain perspective of a situation. In this case, Ollie is a baby and he just wasn’t that into his cereal and apparently also was not a fan of my choo-choo performance. That’s it. It wasn’t a personal attack on his part. The cereal will come off the wall and the couch. It’s no big deal.

In reality, this is a very rare occurrence for us. We do have challenging days together but they are outnumbered many times over by all of the other good days in between. I have written some other blog posts (check out a couple of them here & here) about guilt and did say that I was going to make a BIG effort to be more kind to myself. I can say that I have succeeded in this regard. Of course I have off days, but then again, we all do. It’s just how life is.

I would love to hear about the wild and wonderful things you have Mumma guilted yourself over!

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