Today I took Darcie to a Halloween themed session of a baby and toddler group that we go to every so often. The class is a structured one with singing, puppets and musical instruments which I first started taking her to when she was around four months old. Sometimes she loves it and wants to go off and get involved, and other times (most times) she just wants to cling to me and will even cry and seem scared when she is shown the puppets or encouraged to get involved. Today was one of those days. She clung to me and got upset if I tried to put her down with the other children, She cried at the ladies fancy dress costume, and she was only really happy again when the class was over. You could say she gets ‘shy’, but I hate that word, because she isn’t a ‘shy’ kid. She is loud and outgoing and will happily play with other children, it is just in these structured classes that she seems out of her comfort zone and for some reason it is difficult for her to get involved. I don’t know why she is like this. The rational side of my brain says that clearly these classes just aren’t her cup of tea. She prefers the freedom of a playgroup where she can do her own thing and interact with other children as and when she wants to. But the doubting, mum guilt ridden side of my brain tells me that I’ve done something wrong. It’s my fault. It questions whether I’ve done enough to socialise her. Would she be more confident in these situations if I’d sent her to nursery?
I hate that side of my brain. It eats me up and makes me doubt everything that I do and have done as a Mum. It makes me feel like everyone else thinks I’m doing a terrible job too but they just don’t want to say it to my face. I think it would be easy for people to assume that I am always a secure Mum that doesn’t doubt my decisions and my parenting style. Surely if I have the confidence to write a blog about mum life, then I must feel secure and confident in myself as a mum? The truth is that most of the time I do, most of the time I know that Darcie is happy and confident, we have a great bond and so I feel happy and confident as a mum too. But then there are days like today when Darcie woke up at 4.30am, neither of us have had enough sleep and Darcie has had a confidence wobble (probably partly because of the sleep thing). And on days like today, I do doubt myself. I doubt my decision not to go back to work because everyone always talks about how fantastic nursery is for their kids. I know kids that thrive at nursery. I have to work ten times harder to give Darcie that same level of socialisation and sometimes that is really hard to achieve. I love being a stay at home mum and I am happy in my decision not to go back to work. But that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy, it doesn’t mean I’m the perfect mum that people could assume that I think I am. I put so much pressure on myself every day to take Darcie out to a play group or to see friends, to also keep the house clean and tidy, to make sure she naps, to cook her a meal from scratch everyday and then to also cook for Dan and I in the evening. I also recently made the decision to work from home and start making income from my blog and my nursery decor business. With all of this going on, sometimes I just feel overwhelmed, and like I’m going to drop one of the balls. My priority will always be Darcie and so when we have a wobble like we did today, it kills me feeling like I’ve let her down and that she didn’t enjoy something that should be so fun for a child of her age. I feel like I need to make sure I’m taking her to more groups and seeing even more people, even though we see people everyday already. Like I said, I hate the part of my brain that makes me feel this way.
I’m sure tomorrow will be a better day and that if I take her back to the group next week she might well enjoy it. I just needed to blog this one out. I share all of our highs on this blog, the days out, the milestones and the happy family memories we are making together. I want to make sure I share a dose of reality as well, I’m not a perfect parent. I have days where I doubt everything and wonder who even allowed me to have a child. I’d hate for anyone to ever read my blog and think that I have it all together all of the time, because I know how rubbish that can make you feel if you are struggling yourself. We all face different battles and we all have a sprinkling of bad days in with all the good ones. These days do pass though, and things will always look better in the morning.