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!
I wrote about mum guilt about three weeks into having a second baby. It’s fantastic to know that it gets better… Ha – I wish. We can only do our best and hope that loving them desperately is enough (it is). Xx
I have missed assembly multiple time due to my youngest being sick or myself. Missed master Js first sports day because I was at home recovering from a c-section. His dad went though. And missed the jump rope jump off because it was schedule at his brothers nap time. I get massive mummy guilt over these things because I choose to stay home to attend these kinds of events. Be there at home time to help with homework and have healthy snacks baked and ready for after school snack. (Baked snacks are rare at the moment).
Life is all about choices and I think children understand that. Mine are used to that. They choose to eat their dinner or not get pudding. Be kind to their brothers or not play computers…the list goes on! I am sure your children understand that we cannot split ourselves into three. All we can do is explain our choices, apologise and hug them. I find a hug heals everything.
Even now my children are 20, I still feel guilty over treating them differently. One is at Uni with no income, the other is in a full time job. However, when something like this happens it is totally out of your control. It doesn’t make you feel any better though 🙁 I hope you managed to spend some quality time with them all individually after though xx
The moment you have more than one child there will be times when you have to choose between them. It is only because you are a caring parent that you feel guilt but you know you are making the best possible choices in difficult circumstances.
I see a lot of people talk about ‘mum guilt’, I think it’s very real. I like that you talk about these things quite frankly.
Aw, it can be tricky sometimes when you have more than one child, especially when one might be sick or something. Sometimes kids might not understand which can be hard.
Awww bless you, I hope your daughter will get better soon and your sons I am sure understand its just hard and annoying sometimes. I can not speak for mum guilt as not reached the parenting arean yet
I only have one baby at the moment so can’t relate yet but I can imagine it’s really hard to feel like you’re having to ‘pick’ between your children sometimes. Jo x
Ha I did cackle my way through this, having just spent a week at EuroDisney with my twin nephews, you do sometimes have to choose between them!
Oh no! Bless you, I can’t imagine the struggle of juggling three kids even with the flexibility of freelancing. I’m sure you’re doing a great job though, don’t feel guilty for doing what’s right for your children. They’ll certainly understand when they grow up!
I think I spent the first 6 or 7 years of my eldest daughters life covered in sick stains, I feel your pain.
Eeeeek. What a tough predicament. But we’ll all have to do it and feel awful int he process. At the time though I imagine it just feels like heart break. 🙁
I have three children and I often feel like this. It doesn’t help either when one of my kids turn around and say to me’ ‘You love him more than me’ If only I had a body double who could help me out
Oh, Harriet! I have two younger siblings and I used to always feel left out because they were so close in age and were my mum’s babies. It was only when I was a little bit older and wanted my independence that little bit more did I realise that my mum had to split herself between all three of us constantly and I really got a massive amount of respect for her. Because for every time I felt left out there was a time my sister did, and for every time she did there was a time my other sister did. I know as parents we beat ourselves up all the time about the little things but at the end of the day you rock at being a mum… I barely keep the one I have alive and you manage to do three! When they’re older they aren’t going to care, they will just remember that you were always there for them and you showed up when you said you would, even if you had to end up leaving because you were covered in sick! xx
I think mother’s guilt is just part of being a parent unfortunately! x
You should definitely cut yourself some slack, as I don’t think it’s something that will affect them.
I think these situations problem happen to parents of more than one child often, it’s just the way the cookie crumbles. I think it’s lovely your mum stepped in to help and yes he probably would of loved you there cos it’s what he was looking forward too but sometimes you’re pulled in another direction as a parent to another child. Definitely cut yourself some slack! You’ll always be there for him. x
This rings very true for me. I choose between my children hundreds of times a day. Unfortunately, because of circumstances, it is Biggest I choose. A wrong cup can make him cry like his heart is breaking. Littlest is much more resilient. It doesn’t end there. There are a million places we don’t go, a million things we don’t do, a million times we have to leave something she is loving, because he can’t cope. It is relentless. I thought it would get easier when she wasn’t a newborn, when she wasn’t so dependent. But it’s worse. I just hope there will a point when she doesn’t lose out as much. And I hope there will be a point when he understands she needs me and let’s me go too. So many of the hardest things about parenting are things you didn’t even think about, before!
Oh no what a horrible position to be in, and someting totally out of your control, no matter what we do there is always that guilt that surrounds us x