The last couple of weeks have been pretty manic. As a “digital influencer”, “social media influencer”, “digital advertiser”, “blogger kind of person” – whatever you want to call me – this time of year gets kind of manic. Everyone wants to advertise their products, I want to help my readers out with awesome gift ideas BUT still post about the normal every day stuff that everyone is experiencing… it gets tough to find a work balance and then you chuck in all the extra stuff for the kids and BOOM. Madness.
One day a couple of weeks ago now, I had lost a good portion of my Friday, one of my biggest work days, to a pre-arranged Remembrance walk for my Reuben’s school. It was something that I wanted to go to as I wrote about feeling that I didn’t really stick to my original plans of freelance life when I first left work to pursue this as a career. The whole point is to be there more for the kids, to pick em up, drop em off, go to parties, go to events, sit in on the fucking boring as hell school assembly where everyone prays and I stand at the back trying to wriggle Edith into some semblance of decent behaviour.
So I was determined to get on this walk if it killed me – which it possibly would as my fitness regime involves walking to and from the coffee machine. The routine: get the baby in the car, get my purse, get myself in the car, get to school. Simple. Unfortunately as with most parenting things, it wasn’t quite so simple. Edie hadnt’ been feeling all that good (still isn’t 100%) so literally just as we arrived to school she exploded and threw up as I lifted her on to me into her carrier.
Fortunately I had my mum with me so she could still walk with Roo (much to her delight, after all what 67 year old wouldn’t want to walk a 2 mile trek over hurdles and up hills with a troop of reception age kids…), but that didn’t mean that I didn’t have to bumble my way up to school and explain to an excited 5 year old that mummy couldn’t join in on the walk as she promised because his little sister was poorly.
He cried. A lot. It wasn’t enough that I explained the situation, it wasn’t enough that he could smell the vomit on my shirt, could see the remnants of a pasta lunch on my shoulder. I was letting him down.
The logical part of me (and probably Reuben) knew that this was just “one of those things”, but as a mother of three, I can’t tell you how often this kind of thing will happen where I feel like I am letting one child down or, dare I say it, choosing between them. There are so many positives about parenting more than one child; watching them develop sibling bonds, having someone else to share and learn to socialise with, always knowing that your kids will have a compadre, a mucker and someone to have their back should the shit hit the fan. I wouldn’t change it for the world, yet on days like today, I feel that there isn’t really enough said about the guilt that we feel as parents, especially when it comes to having to let one child down because we’re needed by another.
In this scenario I had one poorly child, a vomit stained shirt and a whole world of guilt because I also had a tearful 5 year old whose mummy had promised to be on a school outing but I also had to explain to my middle son why his sister was getting all the attention and I hadn’t told him that there was a special walk on at his big brother’s school, meaning he felt left out from all angles… and again comes that mummy guilt.
Are we all just predisposed to this horrendous mama guilt? I know I should cut myself some slack and that the kids are highly unlikely to be completely fucked up for life because I couldn’t make it on a school trip but I still feel that continual worry that they will feel they were the “lesser” sibling, less loved.
Only time will tell!