Ok, I’m sleep deprived so not sure if this will make sense or sound like the ramblings of a mad woman but here goes…
Development charts, whose idea was that anyway? I get that it s a good idea to have a broad idea of where your baby should probably be at what age but as a mummy I found it all too easy to look at the charts like a tick list. Here is a good example; my son is now one year and one week old and only started clapping last weekend, one of his little friends started at about 7 or 8 months, on time with the development charts. Now being a first time mum I was really chuffed for his little friend but really worried for him.
I remember a health visitor telling me that when they learn to clap it shows the left and right side of the baby’s brain beginning to connect. So obviously my first thought was oh god, my baby’s brain isn’t connected, completely ignoring the fact that he was crawling and other than the whole clapping thing was developing well. It is far too easy, especially when this is all new to you, to be swept up in what your baby should be doing when and not the fact that each baby is a tiny little individual miracle who will learn and develop at their own pace. They are all different and I worry that I got so swept up in Isaac developing at the correct pace that I missed beautiful moment s that I should have been treasuring and not ticking off!! It’s the same with my pregnancy; I was so desperate for the nine months to be up so that I could meet him that I didn’t appreciate just how amazing pregnancy is, the baby goes from being a microscopic, separate egg and sperm, both sharing the information needed to make one whole person into a tiny little human being. How you get bigger and bigger as the weeks progress and the baby grows, the first kick, how Isaac got the hiccups about five times a day, I didn’t spend as much time in awe of what my body was achieving as I should have done. I do not want to make the same mistake with my son. I have decided that from now on (and for any future children I have down the line) that I will no longer be constrained by what the charts say I should be seeing my baby achieve, instead I will look in wonder at what he has actually achieved, my little boy is a constant source of amazement to me and I hope he always will be!
Point number two, why I dislike leaving my baby at home ill with his daddy more than with the childminder. Let me get this straight right off the bat, I trust my husband 100% with our son, it is not a case of me thinking that he will do a bad job or that he is not capable, it is just a case of I want it to be there too. I’m not going to lie and say that every morning its heart wrenching to leave Isaac and go to work, yes some mornings are harder than others but in general I’m happy to leave him with my mum or the childminder because he is so happy to see them, it helps me leave for work in a good mood. This morning however it was a late decision to keep him at home. Usually he’s happy when we get him ready and pop him in the car but this morning he’s been coughing and wheezing and cried at the mere sight of socks…decision made, he’s staying at home. As my husband and I earn pretty similar amounts it was decided that he will stay at home with Isaac today and I will tomorrow.
I found it the hardest leaving him today that I ever, ever have. I think I’m actually jealous that Roy gets to stay home and have sickness cuddles with Isaac (he isn’t one to spend much time handing out cuddles when he is well).Doesn’t it sound awful that I begrudge his daddy cuddles?! I think it genuinely wouldn’t bother me as much if he was with his Granny or the Childminder but when its Isaac and his daddy at home and I’m at work then I want to be there with them, I want to share in the cuddles, being snuggled on the sofa watching Isaac muster all of the energy he has in his sick little body to bop along to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme tune. In short, I now understand how it feels for Roy when he leaves on a Monday and Friday morning knowing that I will be at home all day with Isaac. I have a new found empathy for how this makes him feel!
I wonder if it is also some primal thing, the woman stays at home with the baby the man provides. I always wanted to have a family and to be a stay at home mummy, full time, although now I’m beginning to understand that I do in fact have the best of both worlds. I guess even in the world today it is still at least a little unusual for the man to call his work and say he can’t come in to work because his child is sick so he has to stay home and look after him. Do I feel on some tiny scale like I am failing as a mother to not be the one who is mopping his brow, wiping his snotty nose and sitting in a steam filled bathroom with him? Is there really any place in the world today for me to be feeling this…when women have fought so fervently for equal rights why do I feel like I’m letting them all down by wanting to stay at home and not have a high flying career, why do people, myself included not see being a mummy as a full time career too…in reality I have two jobs, I am a mummy, full time and I mean full time. A “full time job” is 35-40 hours a week; a mummy’s job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the rest of your life, why is this not seen as a full time job too? I am a full time mummy and I have a part time job. I have a busy and full life. I love my job, both of them in fact but, more than all of that and more than anything else in the world I love my family and it’s not a crime to want to spend time with them.