Friday, 24 February 2017

Our Friend Guilt

Happy Friday :)
All aboard!
When you board the train to parent town, enthusiasm, excitement and happiness are making so much noise (think last train home) you don't notice guilt quietly take it's seat beside you. Unfortunately guilt has a valid, unrestricted ticket for the entire journey. Unlike it's more fanciable counterparts enthusiasm, excitement and happiness that disembark from time to time. Further more your new 'friend' isn't the best travel companion. Guilt has no redeeming qualities. Is highly annoying, extremely frustrating and enjoys ruining as much as possible. Gatecrashing good times, highlighting failures, punishing downfalls and tainting achievements. Generally making life feel a little harder and a little shitter.
Before your new bundle of joy even arrives guilt starts warming up. For those who didn't immediately know they were with child guilt takes great pleasure reminding us of all the things we did whilst oblivious to the tiny human taking shape inside us. Yep, those calculations are right. You were pregnant whilst you gorged on duck pate, devoured seafood paella and drank your body weight in red wine.

I ate a PRAWN!!!!!
When your baby arrives guilt has to share the limelight with many more visitors. Depression and loneliness stop by while excitement and happiness dance around until worn out where they join tiredness on the setee. Meanwhile vulnerability and inexperience introduce guilt to their ally, Google. Between them they team up to totally and utterly undermine and confuse you. Breast v bottle. Home cooked v shop bought food. Baby led v routine based. Working v stay at home mum. Childminder v school nursery etc. etc. The three of them are in their element. That is until confidence and experience decide to make an appearance. Ding Dong.

Does it count as greens if it's in a cup?
With time, confidence and experience start showing up more often and much to guilt's annoyance you prefer their company. They're much more fun and guilt starts to visit less and less. Feeling left out guilt decides to play it's trump card and asks "Are you only having one child?" Ta Dah.. Have one child and you feel guilty that you should have another. Have two children and you feel guilty that number one feels left out but also that number two doesn't have the same level of attention that you gave number one and so on for those that dare go past two! Guilt-1 You-0.

Going from one to two children guilt had the time of it's life with me. I struggled (and sometimes still do) with not spending as much time as I wanted with my eldest. Seizing the opportunity guilt took back centre stage. Poking and whispering sweet nothings in my ear; Wow, your eldest must miss his mum doing his bedtime... Goodness all this attention you're giving your youngest... Let's hope your eldest doesn't resent his brother... Guilt was enjoying this one and going nowhere. I just had to ride this one out.
The three musketeers. You lose guilt, we're a team. 
Guilt doesn't visit so often now (confidence and experience gave him a battering once so he doesn't come round as much) but when he has the chance he still loves to wind me up. This half term I decided to take the week off work but as normal send the littlest to nursery, Monday to Wednesday. Guilt had a go at taking the little ones side. Over and over each morning my youngest quizzed me where his brother was going and when I lied (yes lied) and said I was going to work he replied "You not"  With the help of experience I quickly brushed guilt's attempts aside and got to spend three fab, exclusive days with my eldest. Heaping all my time and attention on him. We got to do all the things which aren't ideal for a two year old. Visit to the cinema, walking round a lake, eating out and general chilling. He got to enjoy his favourite things without the irritation of his baby brother scribbling on his latest master piece, destroying his newly built lego creation and stealing my attention.
Enjoying one on one silly time with my eldest
I've come to realise over a glass (or two) of wine with my favourite companions, confidence and experience that guilt is a pain but isn't all bad. It's intensions are good even though the way it goes about it sucks. Guilt shows that you're a great parent, who cares. Wants the best for your kids and isn't selfish. The trick is to keep it in check. So next time it comes knocking keep your best mates confidence and experience close. Listen, empathise then with a smile show it the door.
Yes Guilt, I am out and enjoying myself.


  1. Amen! I love this. My Guilt Gremlin sits squarely at paragraph 4. You're only having one child? Yes. We 'only' have one child (as though it's somehow not enough). Will she be deprived by not having siblings or will she be lucky to have all our attention? Guilt and I spend a lot of time together hashing this one out! Urgh!!!

    Thanks for this post. And reality check! :-)

  2. Thanks UKYankee! Don't think as a parent we'll ever be guilt free, arghhhh :)