As I write this, Tibbons is sat on the floor with Daddy-O. Tibbons is eating a plastic duck, or rather he’s chewing on a plastic duck (I hope he’s not eating it) and Daddy-O is playing a beautiful composition on Tibbons’ crocodile xylophone (a 50p bootsale bargain and a very popular toy with all of Tibbons’ older relatives). Okay, so the music’s not so sweet and I’ve just asked him to stop making so much noise as I can’t concentrate with that as well as the tv. But here we are, having family time, and it’s nice but as I write on the blog I worry that I should be more present, more in the moment with my family.
This has been a recurring theme throughout my first forays into parenting. I’m the mum who when at home with her newborn baby, took a few weeks to realise that she was probably keeping him awake by talking to him and singing to him when he would rather be sleeping. When he managed to sleep for a few hours and I didn’t, I missed my little playmate. My days revolve around my son and we spend lots of quality time playing together, singing, dancing, having little conversations (despite Tibbons not yet being fluent in English and me at best speaking a rather broken form of baby-babble), going out to music groups, soft play, coffee shops. But still I worry that it’s not enough and question how I compare to the other mummies out there and whether I’m doing a good enough job.
I try to fit activities for me (such as blogging or crafting) into Tibbons’ naptimes, or do them when he’s gone to bed and I do the same with housework. But sometimes when we are together and it’s been a long day, or feels like it has been, I find myself tapping away on my phone, turning on the tv or looking at something on the laptop and a pang of guilt appears. I try to work out how much time I have actually spent focussed on Tibbons, not elsewhere in thought or deed. And then I give up and take the shortcut straight to Guilty Street, knowing it’s where I’ll end up anyway.
I tell myself that Tibbons would find it suffocating to have my undivided attention during all of his waking hours, I know that he needs time to make new discoveries – like standing, first steps, time to explore his interests without me directing him or interfering. But do I get the balance right? Tibbons is a very happy boy, and I am a happy mummy so it seems we’re on the right lines. It’s hard though, particularly as my countdown to work is on and I know I’m going to miss this unadulterated time together; I feel like perhaps I should be making more of it.
I know I just need to stop overthinking it, do what I do and only reassess if it seems that Tibbons or I are suffering as a result. So if I know what I need to do (or not do), why is it so hard to do it?!