Wednesday 3 October 2007

Guilt-trippin’ Mama

People often say to me they are impressed by the way I manage home, children, relatives, work and other things. I always smile and feel like a complete and utter fraud. Partly this is because my husband does his share and helps every chance he gets, also at the moment my in-laws are taking care of the kids with granddad doing the school-run and gran helping with the cooking (which unfortunately seems to take over women’s lives in Ramadan).

The flip-side of this is that they are from another generation when raising children was a much more laid-back enterprise. They are not as fussed when the kids are filthy, they wont change nappies the second baby has exploded in one, if Little Lady decides she wants to wear her tiara to school they just let her. All of theses things are probably good as mothers now are under too much pressure to “perform”, to ensure their kids have been fed organic homemade green mush, are perfectly presented, can walk by 6 months and know their ABC’s by 8 months. However, this laid-back-ness has also presented itself in other ways. I got a call yesterday from Little Lady's school about "the man" that collects her (I already explained to the teacher that her grandparents would pick and drop her and also introduced granddad to her), they noticed that he lost the kids twice and wanted me to know about it. Apparently Little Man let go of the pram and wandered out to the school gate, a teacher grabbed him and held him until his granddad came, the other time Little Lady came out of her classroom and ran straight off, Granddad couldn’t see her so he came to the gate to see if she had run outside, she was still inside, so the teachers thought he was about to go off without her. She often runs out of class and towards the gate and I have always stood my ground and refused to move until she comes back and walks home right next to me. The call from the teacher was absolutely mortifying, I felt about three millimetres tall and didn’t know what to say.

Yesterday I got home and the kids were all in the back room playing together like the most civilised children I had ever seen, except there was no adult in sight. After about a minute their gran appeared and explained that she had gone to the bathroom. I never ever let them out if my sight at home or outside, even to go to the bathroom. If it’s an emergency then Gorgeous comes with me. I cannot trust Little Man not to poke Gorgeous in the eye or sit on him. The exception is my mum’s house where she and my three sisters and the cat watch the kids while I let my brain forget I have kids for a few hours.

Hubby and myself have spoken to his parents about this and I felt terrible as I know they are trying to do the best they can and have such good intentions. Also had to speak to Little Lady about holding someone’s hand when she comes out of class and not running off. Anyway, as I am moving to a new job soon (again) which is nearer to home, hopefully I might be able to arrange for me and hubby to do the school run more often ourselves.

The other reason I feel like a bit of a fake, is that as with most working mums I often have to cut corners, so I will be making the chappati’s whilst listening to Little Lady’s Arabic and will have to keep making her repeat herself because I didn’t catch some of it. I’ll also manage to burn some of the food in the process because I am trying to look at her book and cook at the same time.

Also with three children and Gorgeous being the most patient (mashallah), it’s always the littlest one that gets seen to last. I wonder sometimes if our children will ever look back and feel like we have been neglectful or not paid enough attention to them. Wouldn’t motherhood be so much pleasurable without all the guilt-tripping? And if I don’t say anything and just smile when you say I am so organised etc etc, now you know why.

1 comment:

  1. There is not a single mama who does not have these guilt trips. Its in the psychology/social structure/information around us. I would recommend a great book by Gina Ford, Good Mother Bad Mother. Not only is it an entertaining read it pointed out several issues that I had not considered. My bubee is 9 months old. I left work to be a full time mama as I feel the next generation of muslims needs to be stronger than the first. I’m in the process of setting up a home based company so I’m full time during the day and night time is work time. You are right though I feel guilty when I don’t give bubee my palak, gosht aloo mixture and give her a dull HIPP jar of gunk. Dear God have you tasted them?! Do we really worry too much nowadays about our kiddies? Are we wrapping them up in cotton wool? Are we preparing to make them independent to face this society/life?