Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Mummy Time: Myth or Necessity?

Today has been another difficult day.  A day of clinginess and tantrums.  Celeste is teething am I sure that has exacerbated the problems this week, however they have definitely always been there.

Now, as much as the idealistic parent might say that 100% of a Mummy’s time during the day should be devoted to their child, in reality there are other parts of daily life that need to be dealt with.  This washing needs to be put out, dinner needs to be cooked, Mummy even has to go to the toilet occasionally.  Not all of this can always be done during nap time.   If I know I need to get on with something else for 10 minutes, I always try and set up Celeste with an activity that I hope will keep her interested until I return.  However this isn’t the issue.  The issue is Mummy has left the room!  Celeste is clingy to the extreme.  Unless she is with another adult to keep her company, she cannot cope with being parted from me.  Although on paper, this may seem quite sweet, it does unfortunately mean getting anything done is almost impossible.  I appreciate that I am the most important person in her little life but no-one else I know seems to have this problem.

First of all this morning, I tried having her upstairs in the study with me while I printed off the paperwork I needed to print.  For the majority of the time, Celeste insisted on clinging onto my leg under the desk and sucking it (she does this for comfort).  Every time she moved she banged her head on the desk which obviously resulted in floods of tears.  Later on I left her downstairs with the television on and a couple of her favourite toys out while I nipped upstairs to reprint a couple of the pages.  Celeste spent the entire time at the bottom of the stairs howling because I had left her.

This isn’t new behaviour but I guess one that I hoped would improve as she got older.  Other parents seem to laugh when I tell them and reply that their little one doesn’t even notice when they leave the room.

I am reasonably comfortable with my parenting beliefs here.  I am determined not to pander to her on this. I believe that every child needs to learn to be patient, that Mummy with get to them in a minute but that she has to finish the job she is doing first.  This is especially important with another baby on the way, when my time will be split two ways.  I just wonder how long it is going to take to sink in!

Most of the time when we are together, Celeste likes to be read to.  Reading is something I have always actively encouraged and I am always happy to read to her…. Except that it, if I have just read the exact same book 10 times in succession and she would like it read an 11th.  Instead of an outright “no”, I always try and suggest an alternative book to read however if this fails then my refusal will almost always result in a tantrum.  Unlike the extreme clinginess, I am pretty sure this is just normal toddler behaviour however the combination of the 2 means I don’t think I have had more than 15 minutes without a tantrum of some variety all day.  

I feel I went into parenting with my eyes open.  I was never expecting it to be a walk in the park.  I knew there would be good days and bad days, and some really awful days!  However every Mother I spoke to says it was always ok as the good always outweighed the bad.  Now I love my daughter with all my heart, I am so proud of what she has achieved and overcome, and it's fascinating watching her grow and develop, but do I enjoy parenthood?  Do I enjoy being moaned at from the moment I get up in the morning until the moment I put her to bed at night every day? Do I enjoy listening to the tantrums because I refused to read the same book for an 11th time in a row or because I dared to nip to the toilet? Do I enjoy reading that book the first 10 times?  No, quite frankly I don’t!  I don’t enjoy it at all.  And I don’t know what to do about it.

I do know at least one friend who went back from work full time for this very reason.  She felt she could be a better mummy  2 days a week, than she could be 7.  This is not the answer for me though.  I will not ship her off to a nursery purely because I am not enjoying life.  I stands against everything I believe in as a Mother.  Currently however, I feel I am failing Celeste because parenthood is making me miserable.  Parenthood should be on the whole an enjoyable experience.  It should not be like this!  What do you enjoy that I am missing or overlooking?

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry you are feeling this way. Mummy time is indeed a necessity. Some people get lucky and get pregnant the easy way right away (not us) and some people have easy toddlers- unlike our "spirited" ones. My husband and I joke that our daughter's determination is the reason she's here today. I don't have any tips to make it easier- but don't feel bad that you need a break. Do you have a good sitter so you can get some time for yourself? Or a friend with a little one the same age who can trade off watching the two together so you can each get some time off? Don't feel bad that you need time to be YOU in order to be the best mother you can be. My daughter just started day-care 3 days a week, (I work part-time from home) and it's been the best thing for us both. She loves the interaction with the other kids- and I needed the time to be myself to be a better mother. Hopefully when baby 2 arrives, he (or she) will keep C entertained so you can get a break! Good luck!