Wednesday, 7 December 2016


I guess I could admit that before I had Ava I was selfish. A good selfish. But selfish nonetheless. I didn't have a great deal of responsibilities. I was able to take off wherever I wanted when it pleased me. I was able to sack in a responsible career because life was too short for wasted opportunities. I was able to walk away from situations and men whenever I felt the need. Then I had this kid. And bam. Along with it came a tonne of responsibility.  I could no longer just wander out the country when life wasn't going my way. I couldn't just throw away a successful career because I envisioned more glamorous prospects for myself. I had rent to pay. And more than one mouth to feed. It was all so very, very different.

What else comes with the endless responsibilities of having a kid? Guilt. A lot of guilt. Guilt at the colic induced wailing during those first few newborn weeks. Guilt that you can't make it better. That you can't ease their pain. Guilt as they get older and you leave them in their room alone with only a night light, despite their pleas of being 'scared'. Guilt because you remember being that little and feeling that scared of the shadows too. Guilt when you watch them whimpering after a painful fall. Guilt because you only took your eye off them for two seconds. Guilt that you don't see them as much as you want to. Or spend every weekend together crafting. When they don't eat, you feel the painful hunger pangs also. When they tell you that yesterday they sat through breakfast club alone because none of the other children wanted to talk to them you take on that internal struggle too. Guilt because you rely on after school care when their friends are going straight home at quarter past three. Guilt because you never get to drop them at the school gates. And guilt because the truth is that you really, really want to.

Right now I'm struggling with the work guilt. Guilt because I never get to wave her into school. Guilt because over the last week or so, I've been the last parent to pick her up from the after school club. Guilt because when this happens it takes her at least an hour to start talking to me again. Guilt because she hates arriving for school an hour earlier than it actually starts. And guilt because it's my fault she's doing that. But mostly guilt because I don't just need to work 40 hours a week. I want to.

So I find myself appeasing my guilt with bribery. Promises of extra chocolate at the weekend. Extra toys if she can do just another week for me. I find myself making promises I know I can't keep. Scribbling notes and working out my working hours like sums. Trying to find a balance. I hope that when Ava's older she realises I tried. That even when I was narky, stressed out or tired, that really, everything I did was completely for her. And I'm going to try extra hard to stop giving myself a hard time and to just let go of the guilt. 

 I'm going to try extra hard to be the mother that I strongly suspect she already thinks I am.


Gillian Main Herbert said...

I can relate to most of this, thanks for sharing! It sounds like you are a great role model for your daughter who will grow to appreciate that even more, especially when she's older. I wonder if we would feel guilt no matter what decisions we made!! x

Dawn Young said...

I imagine we probably would. Thanks for commenting xxx