There are lots of supermoms out there. You know the ones who do it all. I really really admire them. In fact, last night I happened to catch bits of a movie called I don’t know how she does it. It was all about Sarah Jessica Parker playing this awesome working mom, who’s struggling to do it all, to perfection. But the key word is she is ‘struggling‘. She struggling to bake that perfect cake for her kid’s bake sale, to stay tuned in to her husband’s work issues/updates and to keep up with her demanding job. I just got it. I got her struggles (forgive me if I don’t have a complete grasp of the movie since I saw it in between painting with my daughter). I understood that she was struggling to do it all. Because that is what modern times demand of us. To do it all. Now I’m lucky. One of the very lucky ones in fact. I got the chance to quit my very demanding job once my little one was born. And I thoroughly enjoyed my first year with her. I was on top of things. I was taking her to every playdate under the sun, we did mummy and me yoga, we met some awesome moms and babies, we just had so much fun.
And then the second pregnancy hit me like a ton of bricks. After recovering from the first 4 months, I thought I would get back onto the saddle. But I just couldn’t. And as time passed, my energy was rapidly depleting and my guilt was exponentially increasing. I wanted to muster up strength to go out. I wanted to be able to do all I was doing before. The guilt further exacerbated when I put her in nursery. Suddenly, she was away from me for 4 hours of the day. I wasn’t around. I wasn’t sharing those experiences with her. But she seemed happy and that gave me solace in the fact that maybe this wasn’t a bad choice. Maybe it was ok to let her be for a bit. But the after school activities became not as frequent. Instead of doing two things every day, I was trying to do just one, maybe every other day. I kept telling myself to stop whining. To get it together. So many pregnant ladies were out and about with their kids. Why was I being the one who was struggling? The guilt was eating at me. It still does. All the time. I can’t jump on the swings with her. I can’t run around like I used to. I stay up at night wondering if she’s thinking ‘What the hell happened to Mama?’ I keep thinking it’s not her fault that she’s about to get a little sibling. She shouldn’t have to miss out on a part of me.
I even shared my concerns with my doctor who replied to me, with brutal honesty, ‘These last few months should be about you. You have weak bones. You need rest.‘ And i was angry all over again. I didn’t like this response at all. I want to be the perfect mom. This cannot hold me back. But unfortunately it has. As much as I don’t want to admit to it, I’ve slowed down. I know it’s temporary but it’s the truth for now, and it bothers me.
So, I thought of two ways I could approach the matter. I could let the guilt eat at me, like it had/has been for months. Or I could find a way around it. I chose the latter. I try to do as much as I can. I try and do as many sitting down activities with her as I can, because those are easy to do. Our painting and drawing, dolls, shapes, reading, doesn’t require me to run around. But it lets her know that I’m around, and I’m trying to do my best. I hope I manage to do what I’m intending to do. I’ve also reached out to get some help for myself. It was daunting and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, but I’ve taken the first step.
It’s amazing that you go through so much in life. The ups and downs. The disappointments. The heartbreak. But nothing can match up to the guilt you can feel when you think you’re not doing enough for a child. After all, like I’ve mentioned so many times before, this is YOUR blank canvas. You must make sure you’ve got the right tools in your arsenal, and you paint it with utmost amount of love and care. But like all paintings, it won’t be perfect. But hopefully (fingers crossed), it will be imperfectly beautiful.