The forgotten second child, or 'Mummy Guilt,' or how Mummy makes it all about her.
Today is one of The Girl's days at nursery. She still does a few days a week, despite me being off on maternity again. It means I get a bit of space and in theory get to do some stuff with The Boy as well as bits in the house etc.
So far I have not taken him to a single baby class on his own. We often go to classes with The Girl on the days she is home, but they are aimed at entertaining her, burning off some of her limitless energy, not him. This is one reason why I still send her to nursery. Because when she is home, her little 2-year-old self is all-consuming, and The Boy just has to go along with whatever.
I plan to take him to stuff. I did with her, and I want to make them as equal as possible. So, on some of those days she is at nursery, I plan to. Next week we start swimming (The Girl started about the same age).
It's a start, anyway.
Except, I feel guilty when I send The Girl to nursery. I feel like, as I am home, I should have her home. On the odd day she cries when she goes in I feel so guilty I want to cry myself. I also feel guilty that The Boy hasn't done as much for just him as she did. I feel guilty I have to stop a feed because The Girl is trying to pull the TV over or unraveling his blankets. I feel guilty that sometimes he has to wait while she finished her food because I can't seam to organise feeding her and him at the same time yet. I feel guilty that there aren't more photos of him, and I plan to take more, once my phone is back and working properly (remember it's trip down the loo from a previous post?)
I don't doubt that if The Girl had remained an only child, I would somehow feel guilty for not providing her with a sibling, despite her getting all our attention. Just like, (having mentioned before that I combination feed because it works for us) when I give The Boy a bottle, part of me still, somehow, feels guilt.
If I ever take time out to do things for me, I feel guilty. Even though the rational part of my brain knows I have to look after myself in order to successfully look after them, I still feel guilt. I want to do Parkrun this Saturday, and I will feel guilty throughout that I have left them with their dad who has been at work all week and probably just wants a lie-in.
I feel guilty now that I started writing about The Boy and somehow made it all about me.
But it is about me.
For right now at least, as the main caregiver, everything the children do is facilitated by me one way or another. I share responsibility equally with my husband, but he works full time (which is our choice) so most of the day to day stuff falls to me. This is ok but it's intense, and it comes with so much guilt! I was unprepared for this. Completely. I suppose it happened to a small degree when we got the dog (why would I be out in the evening when I could be with her?! No, really).
Maybe it's a personality thing. Maybe not everyone feels the same way. Maybe it's just me, but somehow, I doubt it. I suspect the husband feels guilty too. I suspect we just have to learn to live with it. Next week, I will go to some classes with The Boy. And I will probably feel guilty that I have left the dog at home on her own when I do.
You can't win.