We love our kids and this, along with food and sleep is pretty much all they need at this point in their lives. That’s why we needn’t worry that from time to time (or every day) we do things that make us feel just a teensy bit (or a lot) guilty.
Don’t worry about it. Everyone does them. Everyone. Even that bloody woman with the organic swimming costume and fresh highlights at the baby swimming classes, in fact, she definitely does them.
Here are mine:
I let my baby whinge by herself.
I am alone with my baby for 12 hours a day. 12 hours is a lot of time to fill, she naps for maybe 4 of them, and eats for 2 of them at an absolute push. That leaves 6 hours. 6 hours is a lot of time to fill. There’s only so many times I can sing all the nursery rhymes I can remember, there’s only so long I can stand playing peek-a-boo and there’s definitely
a limit to my patience in walking round with her on my shoulder (where she’d happily stay all day long if I let her). So I put her down on her baby gym, or in her swing or on the sofa next to me and I do something “adult”, like watch TV or read my emails or a magazine (or wash up). After 20 minutes she starts to whinge (not cry, whinge, you know the one) and I sometimes leave her like that while I finish up the episode or article (or dishes). Sometimes I leave her for ten minutes.
The thing that makes me feel guilty is that when I go over there, recharged and ready to entertain her again, she gives me the biggest smile in the world. Guilt city.
I hate walking
Unless there is a destination I need to get to, I hate walking. I never take my baby out unless we have somewhere to go or some reason to be out. This can be as small an excuse as posting a letter, but there has to be a destination. Otherwise I go hermit, and simply don’t go out. Walking for the sake of it just doesn’t make sense to me. Fresh air be damned, I live in London after all!
I gave up breast feeding after 5 weeks
Now, I happen to have a “try arguing with that” reason for it but if I had REALLY wanted to, I could have found a way to persevere. At 4 weeks, I replaced a couple of feeds with formula and my milk reduced with it (I didn’t realise just how fast my milk would reduce, to the point where the next day the replaced feed’s milk had gone from 120ml to 30ml and the day after that it was gone). Now, do I wish I’d fed her longer? Honestly, no. I did go to the doctor when the dust had settled, to see if there was anything I could do to get it back, but honestly, really honestly, the real reason I wanted it back was…so that…I could lose the rest of the baby weight quicker than having to diet and exercise. There. I said it. I was enjoying not have to whip my baps out in restaurants! I was enjoying being able to have a conversation without just a precariously placed muslin between my nipple and my father in law/Dad/brother/postman. I was enjoying having a large glass of red wine at the end of the day. I could once again wear padded bras that didn’t show my perma nip-on and tops that weren’t easily boob-accessible. I was enjoying not waking up with a patch of musty breast milk on my sheets/pyjama top/husband’s back. I didn’t breast feed again and I lost the baby weight through diet and exercise. And I don’t regret it.
I put bottles of water in the microwave
Some people give a shocked “oh…” when I tell them this, like I’ve just told them I smoke crack out of my bathroom window. I can tell they want to grab their phone and call social services shouting “she’s trying to kill her baby!” but I don’t care. 30 seconds in the microwave, a thorough shake and a taste of the water before adding the formula does not make me a monster. I get a 30 second warning when my baby needs food, it’s a distinct cry and it needs action, fast other wise it escalates into a purple-faced-screaming-fit. Waiting for a kettle to boil, filling up a receptacle with hot water and submerging a bottle in it for minutes at a time until it is warm, whilst my baby screams, to me, is worse than using a microwave.
I hated being pregnant
I mean I hated it. I felt fat and bloated and disgusting the entire time. My hair went haywire, my skin managed to be dry, flakey, greasy and spotty – I got acne on my arms for gods sake! I was permanently ravenous and nauseated at the same time. I grew hair where there wasn’t any before, my nipples transformed from neat little raspberries into chocolate digestives. My favourite foods tasted disgusting. I hated being the sober one at parties; I was a pregnant bridesmaid twice. I got “pregnant face”. My lips went fat. I had weird secretions, I hated getting naked, I couldn’t sleep, I was either too uncomfortable, too sick, too hungry, too hot, too cold or too worried. My skin was SO ITCHY, EVERYWHERE, all the frigging time. I must have looked like I had lice. I was permanently so slathered (there’s no other way to describe it) in anti stretch mark cream that I had to wear bands of material round my stomach to protect my clothes and I had a constant aroma of coconut that makes my husband feel sick to even remember. I got a really fat arse – dresses would sit on it like a shelf. I got cellulite on my cellulite. I hated maternity clothes. I was too tender to wax but did it anyway, because I was as hairy as a monkey, and cried. I had horrendous mood swings, it was like having PMT for 40 weeks. I got really depressed. I farted constantly from the moment I conceived to the moment I gave birth.
But whenever anyone asked me I would pat my bump and say “Oh, it’s fine, great actually”.
I loved my baby straight away
I know this seems like a silly confession, but these days everyone is so open about how long it took them to love their baby that I feel kind of bad admitting that I loved her straight away. I felt like I’d bonded with her whilst she was in there baking and when she came out it was just a face to a name. I loved her, I loved her with every fibre of my being from the very first second I saw her ugly little blood-covered face and weird beady black eyes. I loved her scary slimy white body as they slapped it onto my chest. I loved her completely in an I-would-die-for-you-in-a-heartbeat kind of way I’d never felt before that made the last 78 hours seem like a frigging cake walk.
I sometimes (often) stay in my pyjamas all day
I’ll quickly jump in the shower and get ready just before my husband comes home so I look like I’ve been ready all day. I don’t know why I don’t just tell him.
I got drunk and my husband got drunk
A few of us were staying at a friend’s house, the baby was fast asleep in the bedroom. At 10pm my husband and I met back up, he looked at me and said “you’re drunk” and I said “yeah…” and he said “Shit, I’m drunk” and we both said “I thought you were on duty!”
I’m not ready to drop my baby’s dummy and give it back to her yet
My daughter’s dummy fell on the floor in a house where people wear outdoor shoes indoors. Someone picked up the dummy and put it back into my daughter’s mouth saying “5 second rule!” brightly. I smiled and nodded but inside I was crying. I mean she may as well have fed her a dog-pooh.
See, some people I know who have older children have this mum-off thing where they’ll look knowingly at each other when I do something new-mum-ish like put a dummy that’s been on the floor in the sink to wash and sterilise, or take my baby upstairs to settle her after she’s been so overstimulated she doesn’t know what’s going on anymore and is just about to have a melt-down. I know they’ve been there before and by their third baby they may well have been picking dummies out of vats of toxic waste / tramps sleeping bags / crack whores’ mouths and giving them back to their babies and they have all definitely turned into happy heathy kids in spite of this…but let me learn by myself, don’t force it on me. When I’m ready to get over my phobia of dog pooh, I will.
I have night-fear
The fear. You might know it as The Horrors, The Terrors or “that feeling when you have a hangover and are scared of everything”. Well I have that, at night, every night.
It started with terrible dreams while I was pregnant, I once dreamt that I had 2 things in the boot of my car, a crate of Heineken and my baby, I chose the Heineken, closed the boot and went to a party. half way through the party I remembered about the baby, ran back but it had died. So I threw it in a bush. In a bush. I don’t even drink beer. I also dreamt that I had the baby in a hut in Egypt but couldn’t feed it as I had no breast milk so I left the baby on the floor of the hut to go and look for water and when I got back the baby was desiccated and had turned into a marble. Obviously it’s my fear of being a bad mother manifesting itself in the form of some pretty whacked-out mind movies.
Now the baby is here I have a recurring nightmare every single night, without exception, that the baby is in bed with us and we have fallen asleep and possibly smothered her. Every night I sit bolt upright or shake my husband in a frenzy saying “the baby’s in the bed! the baby’s in the BED“. She’s never been in the bed.
So far, so freaky. But I’m not worried because I know that everyone has some form of fear, whether it’s messing up your kids with your own neuroses or your kids getting into some sort of trouble all by themselves and turning into drug addled drop outs with poor table manners and dirty hair. It’s normal.
Now pass me that Heiny, I’m parched after all this confessing.