It’s funny, some days I get down on myself for being selfish.
For not spending enough time playing with my boys, for not listening to Gray enough, for snapping, for grabbing a tin of spaghetti out of the cupboard instead of cooking a healthy organic meal.
I have heard it said that worrying about not being good enough as a mum is actually a sign you are a good mum; because a bad mum wouldn’t care.
I sat down to write this post the day we got home from our visit to my family in Wales, after the boys had finally settled into bed and while it was still fresh in my mind. So forgive me if I refer to it as ‘today’ when it was a week ago!
I decided, for once, to forgive myself and declare (yes, the audacity), I am a good mum.
What prompted this? Perhaps my worry that I’m not good enough like I explained above? No.
It is because today for maybe the first time, I realised just how far we mums will go to make our babies happy, without a second thought for ourselves.
To keep them safe and content and well, we will sacrifice even the most basic human comforts and most importantly we will do it without even realising, without hesitating and without complaint.
I like my comfort. I will be the first to admit I will do almost anything to get out of being the one who has the get up once I’ve sat down. Husband and I regularly play ‘rock, paper, scissors’ to see who will have to rise if one of the boys stir in the evening, or even if we just fancy a cuppa.
Yet today, my comfort went completely out of the window and I didn’t care a bit because my baby needed it to be that way.
On our visit to Wales we all, unfortunately, caught colds! (And passed it to everyone else, sorry!) Rhyd started it (little devil) at the start of the week but his just so happened to coincide with cutting his first tooth! Woo!
I knew it had cut the moment he started that high keening cry. It is so unlike him and was completely unprovoked. Sure enough, there it was. Mums will know exactly what I mean by ‘that’ cry. It’s the same one he gave when he had his jabs. A sudden, high-pitched scream, punctuated by gasps and shudders. A real cry of pain, not just discomfort or hunger. It is the worst sound in the world to me, I cannot stand it, it sets all my maternal instincts into ‘red flag’ mode.
It’s the same one he gave when he had his jabs. A sudden, high-pitched scream, punctuated by gasps and shudders. A real cry of pain, not just discomfort or hunger. It is the worst sound in the world to me, I cannot stand it, it sets all my maternal instincts into ‘red flag’ mode.
On our ride home, (it takes 4 ½ hours straight through!) we stopped at a Services for lunch. Rhyd was fine, Gray was good as gold, we all ate well and got back into the car with no problem. Until literally the moment we pulled back onto the motorway.
The second we had left the services that cry began.
I couldn’t see his face due to the rear facing car seat, but I knew it was not a normal ‘I don’t want to be strapped in’ kinda fuss.
The weather was awful; (it had pretty much been torrential downpour all day) within a minute of being back on the road I told Husband we needed to pull over. NOW.
Rhyd was now having a full-blown wailing /gasping /screaming /shuddering meltdown. My mummy alarms were practically making my skin crawl I was so desperate to get to him and just fix whatever was wrong. The very next exit we pulled straight off again and immediately found a layby. Which…. Happened to be flooded. Bad.
Husband pulled as far forward from the big puddle as he could but I still opened my door to step into a couple of inches of water, almost covering the top of my shoes.
I ran around in the rain and grabbed Rhyd out of his seat, draping his coat hood over his head. I knew right away it was tooth number two. The sides of his face were bright red up to his ears and the moment he was in my arms he stopped crying. Instead, he was doing that adorable/heart-breaking shudder/gasp thing babies do after a big cry.
His eyes were glazed and he seemed tired, distracted and unfocused.
I tried to comfort him and then place him back into his car seat. I stood half in the car, trying to feed him a bottle and soothe him. The door did a terrible job of shielding me from passing cars unintentionally spraying my back and legs with muddy water.
Every time I moved away, even for a second, he started again. I knew he needed me to stay with him but we needed to keep moving. So I moved all the stuff off the back seat and clumsily climbed over poor Gray in his booster, then painfully wedged myself into the tiny sliver of middle seat between the two boy’s car seats. I then spent the rest of the (two hour!) ride home wedged in there, with my upper half draped across Rhyd stroking his hair while he dozed fitfully.
When we finally got home he seemed to be feeling much better, no doubt thanks to his sleep. The initial pain of the gums cutting must have dulled by then. As we dragged everything inside I finally went to remove my boots and realised, my socks were soggy and disgusting! My feet had been soaked the whole time!
That might have been it, you know. The lightbulb moment.
I realised I had stood in the rain (I hate the rain), been soaked, walked through a giant puddle, sat wedged in a small, uncomfortable space with wet feet and not once had I noticed any of that as it was happening.
I hadn’t cared at all about my own discomfort. I hadn’t even registered it.
Because when your baby is crying that awful, keening cry; when they need you so badly just to hold them until it stops hurting, you just do it. You don’t think, you don’t hesitate, you don’t grumble. Your instinct and unconditional parental love just kicks in and your baby is all that matters.