I’m going to try and write this post without sounding like I’m just whining and complaining. That’s really not my point for this, although I’m sure that’s how I sounded today while this was happening.
For the last 2 days at the office I’ve been spending more time than not trying to get our network and internet to work. I consider myself to be pretty computer savvy really, and I can figure out most things. But the last two days I’m pretty sure I’ve turned into a raving maniac. Anyway…needless to say I’ve been a little preoccupied and more on edge and easily aggravated than per usual. Although this specific situation may not happen to all mama’s out there, I’m sure that we’ve all been in similarly stressful situations.
About 2/3 through the day I was hitting my stress-high for the afternoon. It also happened to be when J was a little bit fussy. So, I put him in his pack-n-play which is right in my office and gave him a few toys so that he could somewhat occupy himself for a few minutes while I tried to get through some more *&@#*^$ computer stuff. Well he continued to fuss a little, mainly because I wasn’t giving him my full attention. I get it, I know sometimes babies need your undivided attention. But right at this moment I was not in a place where I was willing or able to do that for a short period of time. He was safe in his crib and had plenty to keep himself busy for a few minutes.
Well, it must have seemed apparent to everyone else in my office that I was ignoring J’s needs. Next thing I know, everyone is swooping in and taking him out of his crib with “aww mommy’s not giving you enough attention” streaming from their mouths…
NO, right now, at this particular moment I am not giving him enough attention. He is fine being by himself for a few minutes. Yes, I know it’s hard to hear him fuss. He will be just fine. I’m right here, I will give him attention in a minute when I’m done with this task.
As if I didn’t feel guilty enough already!
Now I also know that they were just trying to help keep him occupied so that I could actually focus, but unfortunately this must be another one of my Mommy Buttons. I should have a warning sign that says:
I’m pretty sure that it all stems from the guilt. Guilt that we can’t give our little ones our undivided attention 100% of the time. Guilt that the attention we can give them isn’t as much as they’d like or need. Mommy guilt. Then mommy guilt turns into “someone telling you that you’re not being a good enough parent” syndrome.
But I also think it’s important to teach your little ones that it’s OK for them to spend a few minutes by themselves. They need to learn to be able to sit quietly and entertain themselves while Mommy or Daddy are working, or cooking dinner, or whatever else requires them to not be able to give 100% of their attention to the little one.
At least that’s how I’m rationalizing it to make myself feel better. Mommy guilt doesn’t go away quickly or easily.
I’m finding that it’s hard not to take everything having to do with my parenting skills or style personally. It’s hard not to internalize a little comment or act of judgement or even a simple suggestion on how else you should/could do things. As parents we do the best we can with what we have. We do what we think is right for our kids. And yes, sometimes we have to make a judgement call and teach our kiddos the hard way that we can’t spend 100% of our time focused on them.