I’m supposed to be tidying the house, but the dirty gigantor baby hand prints will still be all over the bath tomorrow, right?
I know I’ve talked about going back to work and trying to find the balance of juggling my fucking chaotic life. It’s an ongoing process, but I think something I’ve kept a lid on for a while now is internal struggle I’m having about Rex forming bonds with other people. And by that I mean often feeling jealous and resentful of those relationships.
I’ve made it no secret that when I found out I was pregnant, for a long while, I just felt kind of indifferent to it all. And then when Rex was born, I didn’t feel that rush of love everyone seemingly harped on about being ‘so amazing’. I felt shocked, scared and isolated. And that stayed with me for the first good few months of Rex’s life. It’s also well documented that I’ve done various things to try and work through those feelings, however, I don’t think there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t feel unbelievably sad and guilty about that. And there are also days when I still have wobbles, when things just get too much, when Rex is so demanding, all I want to do is walk out the door and not come back. For a long time, and even sometimes now, I’ve felt like that makes me a bad mum. And that there are people out there much better equipped to do the job.
It is, without a doubt, these feelings that have recently left me feeling threatened by relationships he has with certain other people. Just typing that makes me feel awful. How could I possible be annoyed by someone simply loving my son? But then I’m transported back to the start when things were so tough and then start to resent how it’s seemingly so easy for these relationships to bloom, when I feel like ours – the one that should come so naturally – is still a work-in-progress.
A really simple example of this is when I go to pick Rex up from nursery or his nan’s after having been at work all day and, when I arrive, he has no interest in me whatsoever. And if I hold him, he reaches back out to whoever was holding him before. I know this sounds dramatic but it’s absolutely heartbreaking. So much so that I leave them asking myself questions like ‘why does he prefer them?’, ‘what am I doing wrong?’ and, worst of all, ‘does he love them more than me?’. This has driven me to points in the past where I’ve been beside myself upset and even tried to work out drastic plans to change everything so I can spend more time with him and make me the ‘favourite’.
And then I’ve told myself to stop being a fucking asshole. And try to repeat the following:
Rex is my son, but I do not own him. It is my responsibility to bring him up, but he doesn’t belong to me. As a parent, what I want is for him to be surrounded by as much love and security as possible, not just from me and Eamo but from friends and family too. My role as Rex’s mum is to do what is best for him, not what makes me feel better or more in favour.
Makes it all sound so simple, doesn’t it?
I’d be lying if I said I still won’t feel resentful in the future and those feelings won’t get the better of me. I understand why I might feel so threatened by others forming strong bonds with Rex, but I haven’t figured out a failsafe way of reminding myself to stop being a moron when those negative thoughts enter my head. However, after a long chat with a close friend this afternoon, I’ve decided that a start might be trying to forgive myself for how I felt in those early few months and to recognise that feelings of fear and isolation are all very normal – and understandable. Who knows, maybe then I can stop being such a twat (doubtful, but the intention is there ;).