I feel very blessed to be at home with my son for most of the time. My work schedule is flexible, and I’m able to do some of it from the house (or even the park, thanks to smartphones). The trouble is, being flexible sometimes is a curse as much as it is a blessing.
Allow me to explain.
First, as wonderful and sweet as my son is, he’s also a sensitive child. Some children go through phases, aches and pains with little to no fussing. My child is not that way. If something is amiss, we’ve got drama. And, when you’re with your child all day during a dramatic day with no break or support, you’re willing to do pretty much anything to help him relax and nap.
I swore I would never put my son down with a bottle, I know how bad it is for his teeth, but I sit here typing my confession now, telling you it’s happened. Not regularly, but in desperation.
We’ve also had triumphs followed by regression, largely due to me being worn down. We had him completely off pacifiers and bottles until his molars started coming in. Again, we haven’t fully regressed, but if it’s what it takes to get him the sleep he needs, I’ll give in.
My schedule isn’t the same everyday, so my son’s routine can’t be perfectly consistent either. In many ways, this has made him a very go-with-the-flow baby; but, in other ways, it’s made transitions through the back-to-back phases more difficult.
We’ve read all the books, and we make really good plans. Trouble is, since I’m the only one enforcing the plan, if something throws me off, the plan just falls through the cracks. Also, it’s my first time out, so each day and each change is new. I don’t know what to expect before it happens. I just try to carry on and remain calmer than my son.
If I have a work call, I’ll throw on a video so he’s occupied. Is he in front of the computer or TV all day long, absolutely not. We’re talking 30 minutes a day, max. Sometimes you just need a minute to handle something.
I try not to beat myself up about our inconsistencies or my little “cheats.” He’s consistently seen to and loved. He experiences life with me everyday, and we have many adventures and learning opportunities.
I know he’s only 16 months, and we’re doing pretty well to be mostly off bottles and pacifiers. Overall, he’s thriving; but, I can see how a little time away here and there would probably boost my resilience.
It’s amazing how guilty we mommies can make ourselves feel. I know I’m a good mom, but I feel bad for needing the time when he’s napping, or wanting time away. I feel bad for doing what’s easy sometimes times instead of what’s considered “right.” I truly believe children need to know they aren’t the center of the universe, but it’s harder to strike a balance between enrichment and hard-knock-life-lessons than one may think .
As I said, I’m grateful being with my son so much, I just wonder if I might do a better job if I had a few more minutes of me-time.