When he fell and bust his lip I’m not sure who cried more, me or George. As I picked him up and comforted him, I was really angry with myself. “How could I let this happen?” and for the entire walk home, I was screaming obscenities at myself, in my mind. I made a silent promise that I would do my Motherly duty better, and do whatever it takes to not let him hurt himself again.
And guess what happened the very next day?
Since he was born, my danger switch has been permanently turned on. Unfortunately, this switch doesn’t seem to exist with Daddy, often resulting in me feeling like the ‘bad parent,’ for stopping George from engaging in certain activities. But, ‘the force is strong in this one’ and despite my best effort, I simply cannot turn it off.
I didn’t know that I would feel this way. The sheer panic when I first starting weaning him, that he might choke. The endless times I sit and doubt every single decision, I’ve made that is related to him. Just when you overcome one of these anxieties and think you’re winning at parenting. Another pops up in its place and you’re back to square one. Frustrated. Helpless.
The first time I really became aware that I would constantly face these mental battles with myself, was when he started to walk. 10 months old, he pulled himself up and he was off. He hasn’t looked back since! Up until then, you really could protect him because he was still 100% reliant on me. When he began walking, he took his first steps towards independence. He began to explore the world and I was so proud of him.
Then walking turned into running and, running turned into climbing and, climbing turned into Mummy having multiple heart attacks a day.
Anything that I deem as a ‘danger’ and I’m right there by his side, just in case, he needs protecting. Which from my point of view (not Daddy’s) is a lot of the time. I understand that he ‘needs to learn’ but it doesn’t make it any easier.
In fact, it makes it worst. Why should he have to learn by falling over? Isn’t that cruel? And am I meant to just ‘be there’ to cuddle him afterwards and dress his wounds? That isn’t what I signed up for. Surely this isn’t parenting?!
Slowly but surely, as I continue on this journey of Motherhood, I realise that in actual fact, there is some truth to it. It is my job to watch him fall, so that I can be there to pick him up. So that he learns that I will always be there, no matter what. That when you fall, you have to pick yourself up. Maybe, the pain, the fear and the anxiety is actually worth it.
So when he fell over for the second day in a row, because he was determined to chase after a pigeon, (despite several warnings) I wasn’t that angry with myself. I held him until he stopped crying. Wiped down his hands and let him back out to exact revenge on the pigeon!
I can’t protect him forever but, I can make sure I’m there to help him back up.
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