Taking a second to appreciate my children is something that should come naturally, but unfortunately with postnatal depression I have struggled to connect with them much recently besides meeting there basic needs. I have felt terrible guilt in this, but now I am seeing clearer again I am able to see that I was unwell and it wasn’t my fault. We still have a long way to go, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel and make plans again.
As any mum would say I really do love and appreciate my children, but it’s so easy to become distracted with life and technology at times that you forget to sit back, watch them giggling and playing and letting your heart fill with love and pride. Mr T has especially become so independent over the last few weeks and has started to want to go on outside walks and to explore and learn about the world outside my arms. I love watching him grow and learn from new experiences, but my heart does ache a little at the prospect of him growing up so fast. He chats along to me now, coming out with new words daily, he’s learnt how to spin and dance and has really found how to be cheeky to get all eyes on him. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again that he’s been a shock to the system which he still is, I am forever moving things out of his reach and having to kiss and cuddle various bumps and scrapes. He is not for the faint hearted and he is definitely a stereotypical boy with his snot covered face, fascination with his winkey and the bucket loads of mess he creates. I’ve always been a girlie girl and enjoyed having a relatively clean home without sticky finger marks on everything and I’ve always loved having a home filled with pink, pretty girlie toys, but now I’ve learnt to embrace, sticky doors, the paw patrol toys and the endless noise from the toot-toot cars.
Miss J has been particularly challenging the last few weeks and I think it’s because she has been able to pick up on me not being well and she hasn’t been getting the attention that she needs. Now she’s at school I feel sad that our quality time is limited and confined to such a small window from 4pm-7pm. I find in this time I am so busy with getting dinners ready, bath time and bedtime it’s hard to actually enjoy this time properly. I’ve been trying to take a step back and not wish for bedtime to hurry up so I can put my feet up for the day, but instead sit down, play, listen to her stories, read our books and treasure the night-time cuddles in bed together. I know the day will come when she doesn’t want me for cuddles anymore and I need to appreciate her still needing me in this way. Between 7-7:30pm me and Miss J have our only one on one time together and its lovely. She tries every trick in the book to keep me in bed with her for a little longer with a funny story, telling me about her school day (she never remembers anything when her ask her on the walk home from school) and telling me over and over again how much she loves me and needs me to stay for one more cuddle. I really do appreciate our weekends now and how important and special they are especially with my husband only being around every other weekend.
My children are tough and I’m not the perfect parent, but everyday I try, and that’s how I know I love them so much. I have always put them above my own needs and that’s why I have struggled so much at times. I know that I need to look after myself more so I can appreciate them more and be a better mother to them. The mummy guilt never lifts unfortunately, but I am finding it easier to rationalise. unfortunately in our society mums are made to feel guilty in every way possible. If we chose to stay at home or go to work, if we decide to breast or bottle feed, if we co-sleep, if we do cry it out, someone will judge you. I have felt judge many times of the years of being a parent and I don’t expect that will change anytime soon, I know other people’s opinions of my parenting may not be favourable, but honestly I no longer care. My worse critic has always been myself but I remind myself if I wasn’t a good parent I wouldn’t feel guilty. Do what you need to do to get through these difficult and such rewarding first years and take a step back and appreciate your children and what you have sacrificed for them. You’re an excellent parent and you are unconditionally loved by them. See also Becoming the role model my daughter deserves.