Sunday, 9 November 2014

Guilty pleasures

My sentiments exactly Dave. Although probably a bit less sweary, because I'm not allowed to swear these days. (Picture in the background is from Halloween eve when we danced around the kitchen to Thriller)

I've been dropping Arlo off at the childminders for almost exactly a year now. For quite a while he'd have a little cry as I left, and that felt pretty horrible, even though I know it only lasted seconds and he'd soon be distracted by all kinds of different fun. Then for a while he wouldn't even look back at me because he was so excited to see his pals and try lots of new toys. That was obviously better, but still made me feel a bit glum as I set off for the day.

But on Friday this week something so lovely happened. Arlo understood I had to go, said "bye bye" with a wave, gave me two kisses, and gently closed the door behind me. I like to think he was letting me know he's cool with it, happy to be hanging out with his pals for the day, and knows I'll be coming back to collect him later. It felt good. I never ever feel guilty for being a working mum - it's  what the whole family needs and has been such a good thing for us all for many different reasons - but on that day I definitely had more of a spring in my step than usual when I set off for work. 

I try not to use the word 'guilt' too much in general. I try not to feel it much either. I don't want to make myself feel bad for spending some days at work instead of with Arlo, or for watching some trash tv at the end of a long day, or for having a delicious hot chocolate if I want one. I've never really understood the term 'guilty pleasure', because isn't that just something that's a pleasure? Pleasures are there to be enjoyed, not immediately regretted. I hear some mums talk about 'guilt', used in reference to everything from their working choices to not being able to get their kids to every birthday party they're invited to. We're all prone to it from time to time, but I think we could all be a bit easier on ourselves. We're all doing our best to navigate all this stuff and we should all be proud of that.

So rather than guilt, I'm trying to find pride on a daily basis. After all, I have to be doing something right. So now I try to be a bit less "I wonder if Arlo will be emotionally scarred for life because I'm not there with him every moment of every day?" and a bit more "My child has a clean face today - high five!" or "I finished my work to do list - big up!" or "We all managed to sleep through the whole night - pat on the back time!" (That last one is just an example. But I live in hope.) It's easy to focus on the bad things and beat yourself up about them, but if you look you'll find lots and lots more really good things to be proud of. So high fives to you too.

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