Today I’m feeling like a really bad mum. And what I’d really like to know is that I’m not alone.
I’m here in Fiji enjoying our annual family holiday. We’re staying in an amazing Fijian resort by the ocean. The sun is shining, I don’t have to think about what to cook for dinner for nine nights, our room is cleaned daily and we are transported via golf buggy to and from the various resort restaurants. It’s pretty idyllic really, so why am I sitting in our room crying my eyes out?
At home, our daughter is in daycare 5 hours a day, three days a week. As much as I love her, I feel I need this time to get things done around the house and to work on my writing.
In Fiji, our Bure is directly opposite the resort kids club. Our daughter has just turned 4, so she is able to attend without having a nanny present. We’ve been debating whether to use the kids club facilities – it’s a family holiday and we wanted to spend as much quality time together as our lives at home are rather busy.
On the third day of our holiday, we thought we’d try out an afternoon at kids club. It didn’t work. Our daughter was clinging to our legs and she kept saying over and over she didn’t want to be there. I had an attack of the mummy guilts, and we all left.
We later met another couple from Australia and our daughter quickly made friends with their son. The next night, the kids club disco was scheduled and with her new found friend, they both happily stayed at kids club for two hours while we had some mummy and daddy time in the ocean-side lounge.
I enjoyed our child-free time, but I couldn’t get rid of the guilty feelings I was having.
The kids club was full of kids aged 4-12. Other parents were leaving their kids – why was I feeling so guilty? I don’t mind our daughter going to daycare at home, but somehow leaving her with total strangers on holiday, was suddenly unacceptable. Holidays are time for family, it’s different – right?
I carried the guilty feeling all the way to dinner the following night. I was also struggling with the demands of an active 4 year old. I don’t usually spend every waking moment with her and I was itching for some time of my own. I ordered my dinner and suddenly realised I couldn’t stay with my family anymore. I was feeling suffocated. I asked my husband for the key, and walked straight back to the room and got into bed.
After a restless night’s sleep, I woke and immediately burst into tears – what’s happening to me? Why am I so upset? I have the most amazing, supportive husband; a happy, healthy child; I’m on the holiday of a lifetime and I can’t be grateful for a single thing. Then it hit me…. It’s Charlotte.
Remember Charlotte? I wrote about her struggles with fertility a few months back.
Well, Charlotte took her search for a baby overseas and we recently found out that her journey to motherhood was unsuccessful. She was understandably devastated, but remains incredibly positive and hopeful that she will one day become a mum. When she told us her pregnancy test was negative, I don’t think it quite sunk in with me. I was caught up in my own life and I didn’t give enough thought as to how she was feeling. Now that I’m on holidays and I’ve had time to slow down and get away from day to day grind, it has slapped me in the face.
I have a beautiful daughter I’m trying to shove-off to kids club and here’s Charlotte that would give anything on this earth to be a mum and to spend time with a child. It just doesn’t make any sense to me and I’m torn. Motherhood is incredibly demanding, and to be a good mum, you need time to yourself to be a better mum – yes?
I’m struggling today… I know I’m not alone. Have you had a bad mummy moment lately?