I often look at Reuben and feel like I’m failing him. Toby is still young enough that any commitments for him are a bit flighty, and it isn’t really essential that certain things are done, but with Roo, it is. He has reading homework which needs to be done or he won’t get to have a go on the homework game at school – something that is designed to help the kids think of homework in a fun and positive way. He has to be at school for a specific time in the morning – it doesn’t matter if his sister poops on the way, or if his brother falls over, school have a time for when he should be there, and the responsibility falls to us to ensure he gets there on time. Even down to bedtime, he should be off to bed at a reasonable time so he isn’t a grumpy bum the next day.
The problem is, some of these commitments become insanely hard with more than one child, and I feel an intense guilt at times that I struggle with these basic parenting things.
On an evening, we get home and I sort out dinner while the boys play, then it’s time to eat, followed by a bath and then there is an hour in which to do homework or have some TV time and relax. I put Edith to bed and Daddy does reading with Roo most nights, but when it comes to a regular bedtime, that has been really disrupted of late because Edith is so damned difficult to put to bed. The kids refuse to sleep for Daddy, of course they go eventually, but they think of Daddy as a play friend and don’t want to sleep for him. Partly we’ve made this rod for our own backs by making it so that I always put the boys to bed, but I do feel insanely guilty that because I CHOSE to have another baby things have changed for the babies I already have.
In a way it’s not just Reuben either. Edith has never painted in her life and she is coming up to 10 months old in a few days. We haven’t done hand prints (or maybe we did once – see I can’t even remember!!) and we haven’t done much by way of sensory learning. Toby never really had that problem because he was so close in age to Roo that he was able to paint with him, bake with him and do things with him over time. I have pictures of the boys on my kitchen floor covered in paint whilst paint gets splattered over a paper covered floor like mini Da Vinci’s with a phobia of cleanliness. Will Edith look back and wondered why I don’t have any pictures of her doing that at such a young age?
Maybe it’s just me, I just feel like I’m slowly but surely letting the team down – with work, with the kids. Do you ever feel that way? A lot of people tell me I put too much pressure on myself and that my expectations are too high, but I think I have had such positive role models in my life, such as my own mum who was a single mother and full time nurse, I just feel like I should be able to ‘get on with it’ more.
How do you make yourself feel like you are ‘enough’? It’s a tough one, I guess I just have to hope that the kids will grow up to feel that I was enough, and I really hope they know how much I love them.