In the very early days of parenting I don’t recall there being a tremendous amount of Mummy guilt. I was always around for my little man and so got really accustomed to just living each day being around him all the time and being there for him twentyfourseven.
The first major attack of Mummy guilt came when I had to go back to work after Maternity Leave finished, or in my case, start a new job. Jesus Christ, the emotional pain I felt that first day I had to leave him was the crushing kind and is a memory that will be etched into my mind forever. I can remember feeling like I’d been kicked in the stomach and the hole remained. But obviously time went on and we both got used to the new arrangements and it all got a little easier. It became a part of life and the psychological hole in my stomach healed a little, and just left a little scar that ached every now and then.
Then came nursery. Little man was three when he started nursery which in comparison to some kids, is quite old. He only does mornings but on a morning when he doesn’t want to go and the bottom lip starts quivering, the tears start forming in his eyes and he clings onto me with a grip as tight as a vice, good old Mummy guilt kicks in again followed by that nasty kick in the stomach. And, it will stay with me for the duration of the time I’m away from him – even though I know for a fact that ten minutes after I’ve left he’s forgotten all about the fact that he didn’t want to go. Oh to have the carefree memory of a child again.
Then at the weekend I went out for the first time in, well, I can’t remember. My Mum and Dad babysat for us and I ended up staying out a little bit longer than we had planned. It was weird. I didn’t worry about him because he was so super excited to be staying up a bit later and having his Nanny put him to bed so I didn’t get the guilt. But the following morning when I spoke to my Mum and she told me that at bedtime he said “Nanny I’m sad, I miss Mummy and Daddy”, well I could have burst into tears. A few little words that he had told her when he was feeling his most tired and vulnerable have made me feel the most guilty I have felt in a very long time.
I know we are allowed a life aswell and are entitled to the odd night out once in a while (or once in a blue moon in our case!) but I just feel so completely sad that for that split second, the two people he loved the most weren’t there for him. Now he was fine and went to bed soundly and slept well, so he wasn’t that bothered. He has no idea that I even know he said it, let alone the feelings it’s left me with.
Needless to say I probably won’t be going out again for a little while. I will eventually, of course. I just need the guilt to fade away a bit first.
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