The guilt factor

I thought I was pretty good at feeling bad about stuff before, but since I became a parent I’ve entered a whole new world of guilty feelings! Yay! Here are a few things I’ve felt guilty about in the past week or so:

  • Putting B in nursery
  • Going out for drinks
  • Reading in the bath
  • Going to choir practice
  • ‘Making’ fish fingers and chips for teaΒ again

It seems that extra guilt (or rather feelings of guilt) comes with the territory of being a parent, perhaps especially when we’re still relatively new to the job (although I suspect it doesn’t get much better later on either). I don’t think there’s much to be done about it, except to try to remember that B is perfectly fine if one or other of us isn’t there, or if neither of us is there and she’s being looked after by someone else for a while (e.g. at nursery) and it’s OK to do nice things for ourselves otherwise we would be exhausted robots and no good to anyone, least of all a small child, and fish fingers and chips are not that bad for you, especially if served with peas (right?).

But of course this is easier said than done when (e.g.) you see (and, worse, hear) your baby looking through the bars of baby prison the baby-gate on the nursery room door and wailing piteously. B is, according to her nursery record book, getting on very well – after we’ve gone! She has been playing with new toys and meeting new people and trying new foods, and even sleeping a little bit in the day in a strange cot (which I’m quite surprised about as at home she will only stay asleep in the day if she’s on someone). Apparently she’s doing her usual thing of observing everyone and everything around her with great interest! So I think she is OK there, it’s just the being left at the beginning of the day she doesn’t like – and we don’t like leaving her – but hopefully it will get easier for all of us after a while.

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4 thoughts on “The guilt factor

  1. Yes, I think worrying about our children’s welfare is part of the territory of being a mother and perfectly natural. I still worry about mine now and they are in their early thirties πŸ™‚

    I think most mothers nowadays have to go out to work for financial reasons and so have to leave their children either with a relative (if this is an option), at nursery or with a childminder. I think it depends upon the child which is best for them.

    I am in my mid fifties and at the time the current thinking was that if you could afford it it was best to look after your child at home until they were three (going to activities like mother and toddler group with them) and then send them to playgroup part-time for a year or so before they started school. In the event my daughter started playgroup at two and a half because she was definitely ready to do so and my son didn’t start until he was four because he kicked up such a fuss about going πŸ™‚

    I sometimes used to help at playgroup and it was true that often children would be upset whilst their parents were leaving and then as soon as they had gone they were absolutely fine.

    I think it usually takes about three weeks to get used to nursery so you could review the situation after that and if your gut feeling is that she isn’t happy you could investigate other options. But I should imagine it will be OK πŸ™‚

    My elder grandson loves fish fingers as well πŸ™‚

  2. I think the one thing you should feel guilty about of the things you mention is the peas. If it’s a question of filling the plate up, you can always do that with more fish fingers and more chips. Or ketchup. πŸ˜‰

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