The thing about being a parent is that you are basically screwed from the get go. You can’t always be certain you have made the right decisions. You will get it wrong. You will second guess yourself. You will have regrets.
My son turns three next month and I already have regrets. I would really appreciate a do-over right about now. Not of everything just of some things – just of some moments that I’ve missed or let pass me by because I’ve been so busy, so distracted. Moments that other people got to enjoy and savour whilst I was sat behind a desk responding to emails and pushing paperwork.
I wont get it of course. Even if we have another child in the future and we are in a position to do things differently, I still will never get a second chance at him. His toddler and pre-school years are almost over, in what now feels like a blink of an eye he’ll be starting school next year.
Sometimes I just sit and cry about it. The constant conflict within me is exhausting.
I don’t actually wish I didn’t work. I don’t actually want to be with him all day everyday. I just want to be with him more. I want the time I spend with him to not be full of other demands like cooking dinner and washing clothes. I wish I wasn’t so tired all the time. I wish I had more patience, I wish I wish I wish.
He’s fine of course.
In fact, it is my firm belief that he is such a fabulous child because of the way he is being raised. He’s thriving in what from the outside, might be misconstrued as chaos – sending him here, there and everywhere for breakfast, for swimming, for naps. But what is in fact a carefully crafted routine that rarely deviates and gives him structure and variety and adventure every day. The one thing my son can never be – is bored!
The input from both sets of his Grandparents, who between them care for him three days a week is invaluable. What he learns from them, what he’ll take forward from them is impacting massively on the person he is becoming.
The social element from his Nursery which he attends two full days a week is equally important. He’s built friendships and relationships with other children and adults, independent of us – away from home. I just think its marvelous and is enabling us to cultivate a confident, happy little maverick.
So I guess its not Mummy-Guilt, I don’t feel guilty – I don’t feel bad for him. I just feel bad for myself, because ultimately its me that’s missed out. Life is all about choices and sacrifices and making the best of your situation. Had I not worked or worked less I’d probably be writing the opposite right now, an article about I had lost myself or missed my old myself. Perhaps the alternate-Universe version of me has lost all her confidence and has no idea how she will find the courage to go back to work after three years away. Who knows? I suppose you make the best choices you can for your children and your family and then you run with it and hope for the best. Most days it works out, some days it doesn’t.
The grass is always greener and all that…
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