I’m sorry. I just don’t enjoy swooning every minute over my six month old who needs constant attention. If I am holding him, he wants to explore. If he’s exploring, he wants to be held. I am just ignoring him now, letting him cry it out. Something I didn’t think I would ever do. My husband is at the store and I am in charge of the baby. Lord please, let him fall asleep. I long for the naps of infancy.
Then I pause, turn around in my office chair and look at him. I smile, make baby sounds, and rock his bouncy chair with my foot. He laughs, giggles, smiles, and coos. Enough to melt the frost off my haven’t had my second cup of morning coffee heart. It really is simple to him. He just wants his mama all to himself – 100% attention. Maybe that is part of the problem for me. I have been used to splitting my time into such tiny fractions that I have a hard time giving him the whole slice of me.
The whole slice of me loves being a big fat 1/1 in her writing chair with the sun shining in through the floor to ceiling windows of my 1880 Victorian home, sipping my cinnamon vanilla creamer, laced, french pressed coffee. The sunlight streams on my hands, playing light tag with my engagement ring, as my fingers dance on the keyboard. The baby is entertained by the mobile in his crib, playing soft songs. I wonder to myself, am I losing an opportunity to bond with him, to love him, to develop his brain. Call this mother’s guilt – call it shame. What have you – it starts dividing the whole pie. I can hear the crunchy, flaky crust of my heart, being sliced with the pie cutter of mom guilt reality.
Where is the line? How do you find it? How do you know the difference between mother’s guilt, selfishness, and neglect. I think I don’t have to worry about the neglect one, but you get my drift. A mother is never a whole 1/1. There is always 1/4 missing or 1/2 or if she has multiple children, then she is probably missing eighths and sixteenths and socks and shoes…
I feel lost – guilty for wanting him to fall asleep and take a nap so I can surely be off the mom guilt clock, wondering if I should stop everything and play peek a boo with him or hold him or rock him or put him in the ergo and walk around the block. But I caffeinate through mama guilt and put the blinders up; I wind up the mobile once more and finish writing this blog.
Because in this mama’s reality, it has only been ten minutes he has been in his crib with his mobile spinning, five minutes on my lap in the Ergo carrier, five more in the bouncy chair next to my desk, and three more on my shoulder. So I guess when I put the slices of my “neglect” together I am not such a bad mama, just a mama wanting an empty café to sit and stare at the whole pie.
Co-authored by Baby B and his halved out, whole-hearted mama who tries to find time to write, teach, write, teach, go to grad school, all the while trying to love, entertain, calm, and cuddle a curious six month old with a short attention span, and also be a loving wife, although with the birth of a new son, I wonder if that fraction is a decimal.