Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Guilt of Motherhood...

I had one of those awful Mama moments yesterday... you know, the ones where you feel incredibly guilty and can't believe you could be such a terrible parent...

Ava had gone up for her nap and was jabbering away to herself... Heidi was supposed to be sleeping and decidedly not. I could see that my plans to prep Bible study for the next day were going to be scuppered. Neither of the girls seemed to be showing any sign of sleeping.

Around 1.30pm, I fed Heidi and it was at this point that Ava started whinging. This is a fairly regular occurrence, and is normally a sign that she's about to drop off. The whinging rose to more of a cry and then calls of "Mama! Mama! Komm Mama!" and more extreme crying.

I'll give a bit of background here... recently Ava has been "less keen" on having her nap (that is possibly the understatement of the century) and a bit of whinging has become the norm. The more extreme crying takes place when she throws her teddy out of her cot. This is a trick she has learned will get Mama back in the room and delay sleep time. She has been playing this one a lot and we now tell her if she throws him out we will not come to pick him up... (incidentally, when she does fall asleep, she sleeps for at least 2 hours, so I know she's not ready to give up this nap yet!)

So that was the thinking process when I was feeding Heidi. I had just started when the whinging turned into crying, and so I thought to myself, "I'll just feed Heidi, and then if she's still crying, I'll go and see what's wrong"

Well, the crying continued and, convinced she had thrown her teddy out, I finished feeding Heidi. Fifteen minutes had passed when I headed up the stairs. By this point Ava was getting hysterical and I was sure she had just got herself into an overtired state. I went in with my cross face on, prepared to tell her it was time to go to sleep and to stop messing around.

The poor thing had got her leg stuck between the bars of her cot. I was overwhelmed with a sudden sense of guilt before I flew into action.

Slight problem. The leg was not coming out.

Somehow, she had twisted herself into a position that made it seemingly impossible to remove her leg, which she had pushed through to above her knee, without breaking something. Every time I touched her leg she screamed and only seemed to lodge it further in. I tried turning her body into different positions, but every time I moved her, it only seemed to make it worse... crazy thoughts started running through my head...

Do I call the fire brigade??
Do I saw through the bars??
How do I calm her down??

I managed to calm her a bit and got a wet flannel from the bathroom. After wetting her leg and knee, and giving her leg a firm push (which got a proper yelp from Ava) it finally flew out. She was absolutely devastated and, sobbing, she collapsed into a heap in her cot.

I gathered her into my arms and felt so unbelievably guilty. My poor Bubba had been calling for me, and I'd been obliviously downstairs feeding her baby sister and ignoring her. Worse than that, I'd been thinking badly of her, planning all the cross things I was going to say to her when I entered the room.

What a horrible Mama!

Praise God, little children are very forgiving, and I managed to settle her with some warm milk and a cuddle. She then did go down for a nap, and afterwards all was made well again with an orange ice lolly and some fun in the garden.

I think feelings of guilt and inadequacy come with the territory of motherhood. I'm so thankful to God that my mothering doesn't have to be perfect... mistakes will happen and I can seek his forgiveness. And I'm grateful that my little girl is good at forgiving when Mama lets her down too!

Best friends again...


  1. I have just come across your Blog and love it. Thank you for sharing the above. I can completely relate to the relentless 'Mummy guilt'! My son who is almost 2 and a half does exactly what your daughter does with nap time sometimes, using throwing his teddies out of his cot to delay sleeping, and bring Mummy back into the room. These little people know how we work don't they! I hope that all is well with you today, and that Ava goes down for a nap easily!

    1. Lol. They do indeed know exactly which buttons to press! Little monkeys!

  2. Please don't feel bad. It's one of those things which at the time make you feel awful because you think had you known you'd have jumped to your feet to sort her out but as it was you were innocent to what was going on and as has been the case with her not going down so easily lately it was natural to think she was playing up. The main thing is that you did come to her rescue and you did everything in your power to help sort her out and make her feel better again, which is what is most important :) Like you, I have realised that motherhood is massive learning curve - the whole time!! I often wonder if I've said or done the right thing, and often I have to accept that my instinctive reactions are not always the correct ones but in the situation one could understand why I might have reacted in the way I did. Hope that makes sense!! In any case, please don't beat yourself up - you are doing an incredible job being mama to your two beautiful little girls :) Just remember that Xx

    1. Thank you for your encouragement. You are so right... I think that feelings of guilt and questioning are inevitable, but as I said, I know I don have to be/ can't be the perfect mama, I'm so grateful to God that e gives me to grace to e the best mama I can be and the grace to seek forgiveness when I'm not!

  3. Imperfect parenting is deinfately where it is at. This exact situation could easily have been mine 3 or 4 years ago when my twins were young. Once was such a drama queen!

    Bless you for recognising you need to be kind to yourself.

    Mich x

    1. Lol. Imperfect parenting is where I'm going to be camping out for the next few years!


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