Yesterday I did not feel like a good mummy for so many reasons.
In the morning when you woke woke up I felt so tired that the thought of having to get up and start the day made me cry. So instead I got you out of your cot, bought you into bed with me and cuddled up with you in the dark even though you really wanted to get up and play.
Before too long you went back to sleep but not before you’d fidgeted and cried, wriggling out of my arms and poking my eyelids to try and wake me up. I held you close and begged you to settle down, telling you that mummy didn’t feel very well and that she just needed a bit more sleep.
Once you were sleeping I buried my face in your hair and breathed in your wonderful baby smell before drifting back into the unconsciousness that my mind and body craved.
I woke up suddenly a couple of hours later, remembering suddenly that we were visiting your new nursery again today. I briefly considered calling them and telling them that we couldn’t make it but I already feel so guilty about you having to change nurseries and I want you to have the best chance of happily settling in.
You woke up a few minutes after me and as soon as you saw me you smiled the biggest smile because you were so pleased to see me there as soon as you woke. That smile made me feel so happy and so very sad at the same time because, while I love to think that you’re pleased to see me I honestly don’t understand why.
We managed to leave the house on time and I strapped you safely into your car seat with its special tray so that you can play with your toys. I’d filled the pockets with board books that were easy for you to hold and interesting toys so that you wouldn’t get bored but within a few minutes you’d thrown everything on the floor and I wondered why I’d bothered.
By the time we were halfway to nursery you were grumpy and cross; wanting to get out of the car and not understanding why you couldn’t. I put a story CD on in the hope of entertaining you while I tried to drive safely through the torrential rain but you kept shouting and in the end I got cross. I’d done my best to make the car journey interesting for you but you didn’t want your toys and books and I didn’t know what else to do.
I know lots of other mummies would happily talk and sing for the entire journey but I’m not the most confident driver and in the bad weather I really needed to concentrate on the road.
When we got to nursery you were frightened by the noisy machinery on the pavement and refused to walk to the door, insisting that I carried you instead. I told you that you weren’t a baby anymore and that you were perfectly capable of walking but you sat down on the wet floor so I had to pick you up; trying to juggle bags and the umbrella as well.
I carried you up to your nursery room, put you down next to some toys and kissed you goodbye before turning to leave. You started crying instantly but I carried on walking even though I wanted to go back to cuddle you and wipe your tears because I knew that once I left you’d have a lovely time.
While you were at nursery I went to do some shopping and bought you a magazine that came with a jungle story book and some animal toys. I spent 20 minutes trawling WH Smiths to find that magazine because I thought you’d like it and I want to make you happy. I was really pleased I’d fund the magazine but at the same time I felt guilty for all sorts of things and wondered if I was trying to show you that I loved you with things instead of attention and affection.
On the way home you threw your toys (including your new ones) on the floor again and it just made me feel so fed up. I put on a story CD and then almost immediately turned it off again so that I could listen to the music that I wanted to. You’d been such a good, brave boy at nursery but I was feeling so frazzled and stressed.
Your eyes started to droop and you looked like you wanted to go to sleep but I was a bad mummy and forgot to bring huggy ted with us. You’ve been so attached to him recently but in the rush to get out of the house because we got up so late I didn’t remember to grab him from your cot before we left. I was already juggling so many bags and other things to go in the car that he just slipped my mind.
I gave you my scarf to cuddle but you didn’t want it and pushed it away, reaching out your little hand for me to hold instead. I told you that I couldn’t hold your hand because I was driving but you insisted and wrapped your warm little fingers around mine. This tiny gesture stabbed me right in the heart because all you wanted was a little bit of my time and I worry so much that I don’t give you enough of it.
I want so badly to be a good mummy to you but I know that just wishing it isn’t enough.
I know that I spend so much time writing or reading; trying to keep control of my frazzled thoughts when I should be playing with you.
I know that I say ‘No’ too much and that I get cross too easily.
I know that sometimes I shout at you and you’re too little to understand why.
I know all these things and so each time we have a bad day I try so hard to learn and do better so that I can be the mummy that you deserve.
Yesterday was not a good mummy day.
But not every day will be like that.
Louise is a full time mum, a part time neonatal nurse and award nominated blogger who has battled depression for many years but was particularly ill during her pregnancy. She lives with her husband (the Northern One) their little boy (Squidge) and their three guinea pigs who live in the kitchen.
Louise blogs at 23weeksocks (http://23weeksocks.com) about lots of different (and seemingly unconnected) topics that she’s passionate about, including mental health, antenatal depression, neonatal care and baby loss. She’s also involved in #MatExp (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MatExp/); an online maternity experience campaign that was formed to help improve maternity services in the UK. As part of this she hosts the #MatExpHour Twitter chat every Friday and would love to see you there.