It started from the moment I found out I was pregnant, the worry that maybe I wasn’t doing it right. I had cocktails last week! I panicked when the test said positive. Had I harmed my baby? Then there was the moment I was stuffing my face with salami while reading a handout from the GP that said you shouldn’t eat deli meats. Oh my god this baby is going to be deformed! I panicked again. Things you shouldn’t eat, things you shouldn’t drink, things you shouldn’t do. Add to it the list of all the things you ARE supposed to be doing that I wasn’t and I already felt like a terrible mother before my baby was even born.
It doesn’t end there though. As parents, many of us question ourselves, and if you’re like me you’re constantly wondering if you’re ruining your child. Firstly there’s J, I worry that we don’t put enough effort into nurturing his intelligence. He can logically argue his way out of any situation. No money for McDonald’s? Here’s my money box – count it. How much does McDonald’s cost? I can’t lie to him, what sort of precedent would I be setting? So if he can afford McDonald’s, do I let him have it? Can’t watch tv because I need to be active to grow big and strong? But I climb and run and jump while I watch tv, I don’t sit still. So do I let him watch TV because he has a valid point? Surely I should be spending more time tutoring him, I feel so guilty for encouraging him to just enjoy the pre-school years before the hard yards of school starts.
Then there’s H. My god, there is H. He’s hit the terrible two’s face first at full speed and I worry that he’ll end up with middle child syndrome if we don’t handle it right. He is a conniving little devil and has figured out how to play each and every one of us. He knows that to get at Jordan he just has to rip his glasses off his face. Game over. He knows to get at me he just has to bat his eye lids and say “I luz you too Mummy darling”. Game over. He knows to get at Mark he just has to give him ‘the look’. Game over. If we don’t tackle this now, he’ll spend the rest of his life manipulating everyone to get exactly what he wants. Oh... hang on... is that so bad?
Lastly our darling Miss A, the third child. I feel guilty that we just don’t have as much time for her as we did the boys. She’s forced to just fit in to what we’ve already established. BUT, she’s also the first girl, which means there’s pressure on her to be all pretty in pink and save me from the years surrounded by boy things. I’ll be devastated if she’s not into hair clips and make up and dresses! And because I’m so excited about all things girly I then worry that perhaps my boys will think she’s my favourite because I make such a fuss.
As parents we spend our lives feeling guilty for every decision we make, for every angry word spoken, for every time we didn’t pick up on something. No one warns you about the constant nagging question in the back of your mind, are we doing it right?