Which green-eyed sister? Why Jealousy of course. I always imagine Guilt and Jealousy are two evil sisters, drifting around the world like something from a fairytale, waiting to prey on human beings and especially on parents too. I think every “type” of parent feels guilt, whether you’re a stay-at-home Mum, one who works or a single parent trying to juggle everything. It’s one of the things I hate about parenting, something which I never had to deal with before Rachel came along and a specific emotion that I imagine stays with you for the rest of your days.
But instead of wallowing in a sea of parenting guilt I’ve decided to write it all down, in a letter to Rachel, as a sort of exorcism. This is a purely selfish exercise but who knows, maybe it will help lessen the load any other parents feel too.
Dear Rachel, these are the parenting bits I feel mostly guilty about:
- That you watch too much TV. Before you came along I scoffed at the idea of television as an entertainment crutch but I know now that it’s incredibly useful. If I’m trying to dash off a quick email, prepare supper or have a shower, the TV is a very useful item for distracting you while I get things done. But I need to remember to turn it off when we ‘re not using it and encourage you to play with your toys.
- That you don’t eat very healthily. Most parents struggle with their toddlers not eating from all the food groups but as I’ve grown tired of throwing away uneaten cucumber, carrot sticks and tomatoes, I don’t even give them to you anymore. You seem to survive on a diet of biscuits, yoghurt, bananas and the odd bowl of spaghetti. I also used to slave away cooking you home-made cottage pie etc but since you stopped eating that, I’ve stopped cooking it too. Bad Mother.
- That we don’t do enough “activities” together. I like working. I am weird like that. But it is tiring. So when I get home after work, we seldom bake cookies together or paint rocks or make decorations. We do a lot of teddy bear tea parties. And puzzles. And we read some books. But I feel I need to try a little harder with entertaining you, even when I’m tired.
- Sometimes I shout at you and get very mad. I am not the world’s more patient person, so when you spill juice on my top or throw your book on the floor, I get cross. I am not the serene earth mother I hoped I would be and I’m sorry.
Of course there are loads more but those are my particular bugbears at the moment. I love you immensely and I hope this makes up for all of the above.
Love your guilty Mom