I was going to write about the ‘Art of Listening’ but have decided, based on certain events this week, I will keep that for the next post. Instead I decided to write about this immeasurable feeling that we carry around with us as mothers that I will call “Mothers Guilt” or as Cathy Guisewite puts it ‘Food, career, love and mothers – the four major guilt groups’.
Let me explain…this week I felt as though I opened “Pandora’s Box” in relation to my youngest, and yes while that may seem like a bit of a dramatic way of putting it, it feels that way. You see, she is just the sweetest thing; she’s funny, clever, caring, loving and healed my heart after the stresses of my middle child. I Promise, I am not biased …
But she is a solid tall girl for her age and whilst her height and weight do not stop her energy levels or her ability to be active and keep up with her siblings and friends, she does seem to have a love affair with food. It has got to a point where I am trying to work out if it is something physical or just behavioural. And I admit I have been dragging my feet …
So off to the doctor we went…a lovely doctor, specialising in kids, has recommended a pediatrician for blood tests and a chat with potential dietitian etc. But what still hit me, and it was not intentional, was the doctor commented that she weighs the same as a 9yr old. In a reply full of sarcasm ‘great, that makes me feel so much better’, I got in the car to tell my husband and burst into tears.
Why is it, as mothers and carers of our children, do we feel this strong sensation of guilt anytime there is an issue or problem with our kids? Is it innate, stemming from our DNA linking back to the origins of humanity? Or is it something more sinister, like pressure to conform, pressure on ourselves as women? Media? society? Changing nature of family dynamics? I don’t know but there I was in the car asking myself over and over what have I done? If I had gone back to work would things be different? If she was in preschool 5 days a week instead of 2 would it be different? If she hadn’t spent the last 3yrs in my complete care with extended family overseas would it be different? am I too soft a parent that gives into her whims when I need some down time?
The biggest worry I have is do I have more emotional room in my head to deal with another issue? I mean let’s face it, parenting is a tough gig regardless of how many kids you are responsible for. Like I feel physically and mentally tired just thinking about the emotional head space I need to deal with this, not forgetting my other 2 kids and their emotional needs and support for them.
I am really struggling to work out how to spread myself so that none of them feel left out…its bloody hard!! Rationally I know I have the support of a loving husband and amazing friends who have stepped in and become family but emotionally in my mind I feel like I am facing this alone. The emotional reasoning is trumping (no pun intended…well maybe a little) the rational reasoning.
In other words, the lid to ‘Pandora’s Box’ has been opened and I have no idea how or when it will close.
NB since writing this post I have felt a little more in control of the outcome with my youngest with help from my fellow Sydney Mum contributor Marie Holland – thank you