Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Guilt Edged

I've been thinking a lot about how I parent GG lately. We've now graduated from the "just please let me keep her alive and breathing" stage of parenting, to actually raising a person. One with (hopefully) smarts, resourcefulness, confidence, compassion, self-worth, kindness, a sense of humour and the wherewithal to finance my retirement on board a luxury cruiseship.

I like to think most of the time I am doing a pretty good job, but since I have a tendency to over-analyse absolutely everything, I can't help but get worked up over where I think I could be doing better, and "guilty" has become my default setting. They're not big things, but Oh Lord!! Mummy guilt is the worst feeling I have ever experienced in my life.

Like this morning, GG was up at 5am. Uurrghhh. Because this is an hour early for her, she was tired, clingy, argumentative and just generally discombobulated. After a few hours of having her permanantly attached to either my lap or my right leg, I'd had enough. "GG!" I snapped, "I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!! I AM NOT YOUR SLAVE, I AM IN CHARGE HERE (I believe I actually stamped my foot at this stage, just to really impress upon her my natural authority) AND I HAVE THINGS TO DO!! I HAVE LAID OUT YOUR PLAY-DOH, YOUR DRAWING AND HI-5 IS ON IN THE LOUNGEROOM - GO PLAY!!!"

She threw me a black look, burst into pitiful wails and stormed off (okay, okay, everyone related to me - stop laughing!!!). After I had cleaned up the kitchen, put a load of washing on, tidied up toys and generally experienced my leisure time as I now know it, I went into where she was watching Hi-5. She pouted up at me and informed me she was "a bit wet". GG is toilet training and hasn't had an accident in a week. She was soaked. Ohhhhh....my stomach twisted as my heart sank into it. I gathered her up. "GG, were you too scared to come tell Mummy you needed potty?". Sensing her moment, she put on her most hard done by face. "Yesh", she whispered. Crack! There goes my heart. I felt small, horrible.

Now I know this is a relatively small thing, and I'm sure she's forgotten about it even now. But gee, it really got me today, maybe I'm just feeling vunerable.

Probably from lack of sleep, because nearly every night, yep, GG comes creeping in in the middle of the night. I have been through so many ups and downs with her sleep. Due to pain from an undiagnosed wheat intolerance (colic my ass, Doc!), GG spent the first 6 months of her life being rocked to sleep, sometimes for hours on end. Then I got her tummy sorted, and taught her to go to sleep on her own. I used a fairly "soft" method, but it did involve a few nights of her crying herslef to sleep before she got it, then was good as gold. I still remember the feeling of sitting, tense as a coiled spring, listening to my baby cry, knowing I could stop it in a second. Sometimes hubby had to physically hold me back. After a peroid of great sleeping, GG moved into a big girl bed. Cue more sleep dramas, refusing to go to sleep etc. I have got her to go to sleep in her bed, but only if I sing her to sleep, but if I try putting her back in her bed at night, she will fly into a rage, wailing and screaming til she vomits. Part of me used to like her curling up and sleeping with me, it felt very natural, earth-mother bonding like. But now, I am so over it. I hate the guilt of knowing I am failing to teach her properly. I hate the lack of sleep, the little feet in the small of my back, the infrigement on my *ahem* marital relationship. I am almost at the point where I will devise a strategy and try again at keeping her in her own bed. If only I can get over the guilt of the pain I'm about to cause her.



  1. Sadly, mother-guilt is something that you give birth to along with your child. Doesn't really go away either. I'm still prone to it. All you can do is what you feel is right and, by the way, you are doing a fabulous job. GG (note I'm not using proper name - still feel guilty about that gaffe)is a healthy, beautiful, well-loved,confident child. You and your sister survived me making lots of mistakes along the way, but you were loved and fed and cared for so you survived too. And you are both lovely, caring adults who I am happy to be seen in public with!!

  2. Take heart - you'll be fine (and so will she). This is how it broke down for us: With kid #1 I co-slept, breast-fed, baby-wore,,basically, if there was a hyphen in it I was doing it, and had experiences very much like the one you've just described. With kid #2 I did all the same things but now, if she comes to me and tries to pull my heart strings, I give her an arched brow and say, "Take it to your dad, chick,,,momma's having a drink".
    Ok, I'm exaggerating (I don't tell her to take it to her dad) but you get the point, right?

  3. Oh you're not alone! I had one of those yesterday. Everyone was a little bit sick and grumpy and I think I actually got down on the floor and kicked and screamed with Lil-lil at one point. When Skip got home I said it's one of the worst days I've had since Lil-lil was a newborn. I felt so guilty for yelling, but she seems to have survived - we all have. Hopefully she won't have too many scars. I know I'll stuff up this parenting gig at some point and she'll blame for stuff down the track, but hopefully we all will come out without too many wounds.
    Sleep deprivation is the worst - full stop.


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