I read this post recently and it has been playing on my mind. The lovely blogger was worrying about letting her child go to swimming lessons without her in the water. The swimming part is not the thing that I have been thinking about, more the whole idea of being protective of your children and not being able to, or not wanting to ‘let go’.
Recently I heard about some friends of a friend who had a baby 9 months previously and they took the baby everywhere. In that 9 months the mum had not left the baby, not even for an hour. I don’t know how old Piran was the first time that I left him with my MIL for the afternoon, but it was around the 6 weeks mark I think. Now, I know that we are lucky to have someone close by that can help out like this. I also know that the fact we were bottle-feeding meant I was able to do this. However, the general feeling that I have picked up online and from Twitter friends most people are reluctant to leave the baby, they feel like they are missing a limb, they worry about them the whole time they are gone.
I don’t. I will happily leave Piran with his Nan or with his Dad and disappear off into the sunset to enjoy my fleeting baby free hours. The way I look at it, Mr C is his Dad and is just as qualified to look after him as me. My MIL knows more about raising children than me anyway, she has been doing it a lot longer. She calls if there is something she is not sure of, she respects my wishes and looks after Piran in the way that we do.
So, what is my problem? Well I am starting to feel that because I happily go on my merry way and enjoy my time apart from my baby that I am not wired right. That I don’t have the right kind of love for him. I do love him. If I am away from him all day I start to miss him and think about what his day has been like. But I don’t feel that urge to be with him at all times. When we are at Little Dippers the instructor talks about parents that don’t like to let go of the baby underwater but I just get on with it. I guess I want him to be his own little independent person not clinging to me all the time. I couldn’t manage that at all. I need that space for my sanity.
I am emotionally involved with the little man. Today he did this thing with his legs when he was on his front which was the beginnings of him moving the way he needs to in order to start moving under his own steam and I had to leave the room as I was a little choked up. My FIL was there and I didn’t want to blub in front of him. I love his smiles and his giggles and how much he is changing.
I am not sure that this is coming out right. I don’t think that I am a bad parent. But I also worry when I read that some people cannot bear to let their child cry. I know that if Piran is over tired and we are late having a nap the only way he will go to sleep is if he cries for a short while first. I let him cry, but I don’t walk away. I sit at the top of the stairs and listen. Like I feel that it is okay for him to cry as long as I am listening to it. I am happy with my decision, however I found it really hard when we were staying with family, like they were judging me and the way that I do things.
I guess what I want to know is, do these feelings get stronger the longer you are a mum? Or, is this just the way I feel about my child and that is unlikely to change. I wonder what I will be like when they go to school. Will I cry? As Piran’s personality develops will my feelings develop? If he is strong and independent will I be happy to let go. If he is more sensitive will I feel more protective?
I think the case here is that I am reading far too much into trying to understand these feelings that I have never had before. I have been in a difficult mood all weekend and am very frustrated with the little man, as he had dropped a night feed but last night decided he wanted it again. I got used to getting into a routine only to have it changed a couple weeks later but the last couple of weeks Piran has been ill and everything changes everyday and I find it really hard to manage. I guess I had it in my mind that by the time he was 4 months old things might be a little bit more settled. I am learning that is not the case.
After we stayed with my mum last week she says that he has a complicated personality. It is funny. I thought he was quite a handful but I had nothing to compare him to so I thought that perhaps it was just me not knowing what having a baby is like. But then I read blogs about people’s chilled babies and I know that our little man is not really that. I don’t want to complain but I do think that he is very hard work some days. It was nice to see that other people think I am justified in the way I see him.
I think a lot about whether I will be a good parent. Will I be strong enough to stand my ground like this blogger? Will I be a pushover? Will I be able to teach my child good manners and respect? Will he run rings around me? Will I yell and shout? Will I be able to keep calm? Will I give in and let them watch tv all day eating things that are bad for them? How will I deal with a picky eater, a bad sleeper, tantrums? I know it is too early to worry about this but when in starts to sink in that you have signed up for life these questions creep in.
Nothing in this world can prepare you for being a mum, how your life changes. When we were on holiday I realised that I will never get a true holiday as long as he is with us. When we are away I do all of the things I do everyday, the things that I see as my job now that I am at home, it is just in a different place. I love being a mum, it is the hardest job in the world, but ultimately the most rewarding. I just need to hang on in there.