So, I am going to make my daughter’s baby food because I don’t like the idea of her eating what I consider to be a baby’s version of canned food. I make sensory toys out of plastic bottles and other common household items because I want to teach her to reuse/repurpose, and it can’t hurt to save money where we can. I rock her to sleep each night (and sometimes during the day for naps) because she needs me to help her get to sleep.
All of these reasons are the logical sounding explanations I give, but are they the only reasons I am doing these things. Could there be some level of guilt mixed into those reasons as well?
I know I cried each day for over a week when I started dropping her off at daycare – she was a little more than 4 months at the time. I know I still feel guilty when I leave her there each day, even though I am fairly certain she loves it. I know I rack my brain each moment of each day trying to figure out ways to spend more quality time with her during the week, and especially on the weekends, to make up for the time I feel I am abandoning her at daycare.
Yes, I suppose my reasoning can incorporate both – the logical and the guilt ridden.
I am going to make her food because I don’t eat canned food (or food with a considerable shelf life) on a regular basis myself, so I don’t think my daughter should be given only that to eat when I can prepare her food just as easily as my own. I feel I am doing her a service by feeding her fresh produce and meats. In my mind, I am getting her started on a right path for healthy eating habits in the future. But I also do it because I feel I owe it to her. I believe it is the least I can do for her after leaving her in the hands of “strangers” all day.
I make toys for her because I do love the idea of her genuinely finding enjoyment in something I made. She needs sensory toys that hold her interest and I need to see that “for me?” look of excitement and curiosity in her eyes from something made with love by mom. I also think it couldn’t hurt to take just a small amount of time out of my day to do something nice and creative just for her. The fact that I am recycling and repurposing is an added bonus.
I rock her to sleep because I need those moments with her, as we stare into each other’s eyes while she drifts off, to make me feel as if she still remembers me as her loving and caring mother. I need her to see me holding her and comforting her. We are back to my feelings about the fact I am allowing her to be raised by her teachers at daycare. I now feel compelled to find other ways to show her I absolutely love her immensely, unconditionally, and leave her because I HAVE to, not because I want to.
Perhaps this is part of the reason I just didn’t have the stomach for letting her “cry it out.” In response to being told I shouldn’t “spoil” my baby by holding or rocking her all the time, and reading that rocking babies will lead to their inability to get themselves to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night, I tried to leave her alone in her crib to work things out on her own. But as I heard her cries intensifying, I just pictured her lying there wondering why I wasn’t coming to her aide. It certainly didn’t help when I entered the room about a minute later and saw her stretch her arms out toward me…so ended that experiment. I just kept thinking, now that she is in daycare, I have so few moments with her I don’t want to waste any on letting her “self soothe.” It may be entirely selfish, but I found our moments together to be more important. And, frankly, I haven’t seen that she is unable to stay asleep once she fades in my arms at bedtime.
I acknowledge, I am a guilt ridden, working, single mother who wants to be everything her daughter needs and more. Although, I have been told my feelings of guilt may be unwarranted, and it may be entirely unrealistic to be everything to her. Bottom line, I am blessed each day to have her in my life and it is very important to me that she knows and always remembers that.
I was given advice soon after she was born by a woman who was waiting with me as we were having our carseats installed, her for a second birth. She told me my days will seem long and hectic and sometimes I will feel tired and hopeless, but I have to remember to just take it day-by-day, and some days, hour-by-hour. That advice has crossed my mind just about every day for the past 8 months. I suppose, even as I am racked with guilt, I am just taking being the best and most present mother I can be day-by-day and hour-by-hour.