Recently I have been feeling stressed (for lack of a better word) after a full day with my son. My son is 12 months old, and by most standards would be considered an “easy” baby. He is cheerful, plays well, eats everything I put in front of him, cries only when he needs to express something pressing, and loves to be snuggled. Because of this, I have been going over and over in my brain multiple times of WHY or HOW can I be drained when my son is so incredible? I sometimes need to pass him off at the end of the day and when my husband asks, “what did you guys do today?” I sometimes can’t even really think of anything that was so hard.
I decided that I was going to take my son to a Parent-and-Me class today held at our local library. It consisted of a half hour of singing, reading and playing with bean bags and then a half hour of free play time for all the kids. Kids ranged from ages of 12 months – 24 months and it was during the free play time that it finally all made sense to me of why I get tired after a seemingly non-eventful day with my son. I was sitting with 4 other mothers and our kids were all playing together. We all had not met before, and we were holding a basic get to know you discussion…”How old is ______?”, “Do you have other children?”, “Are you a stay-at-home mom?”, etc. After about 15 minutes of discussion, the woman next to me leaned back and stated, “It is so nice to have someone else entertain my child for awhile.”. And right then and there is when I figured it out!!! Though being at home with your child requires you to feed, bath, clean, put to sleep, run around after him or her, it also requires for you to be your child’s full time Entertainer. It is your desire to entertain your child because you love them and don’t want to see them upset.
Imagine for a second if you had to go to work every day and entertain a single person ALL DAY LONG who couldn’t easily communicate what they like or want or makes them happy. You just had to keep guessing and doing everything you could to keep them in good spirits. On top of that, you had to keep them healthy and alive. Thinking of it like that makes a big difference. This is probably one reason why people have other children because at some point one kid can entertain the other.
A simple comment made at this class eased my inner mental frustration, and I don’t feel as much guilt about wanting to pass my son off after a day together. I also think that relates to something I hear quite often as a new mom, which is, “take time for yourself.”. Each time I would hear this I would shake my head in agreement, potentially even set up a time to get out of the house on my own, and then when the time would come I would still feel incredibly guilty about leaving. Knowing this new found information, I now realize that the guilt I was feeling was associated not with being a bad mom by leaving him for a few hours but that I felt like he was going to be happiest with me and it would not be possible to have him be as happy with someone else. Clearly after seeing how over-joyed my son was yesterday with the other kids and moms, I now know how potentially wrong I had it.
Moral points of my story…
1. When you become a parent, you are now officially a parent and an entertainer.
2. There may be easy babies but being a parent is not an easy job.
3. Guilt is a natural feeling, but I am going to choose to not feel as guilty because others can entertain.
4. Every parent deserves time off.
Spa Manager at Kneaded Relief