Mom’s guilt is so real and so stubborn. Among many other things, I feel guilty for my son’s patchy baby books and speckled albums. Being the second one, while loved abundantly, every minute of his development wasn’t recorded feverishly and read about in parenting books and apps relentlessly. Toys played and visitors visiting weren’t sanitized diligently. In fact, to my dismay, on occasions more than I care to count, his pacifier was yanked out, dropped, and then shoved right back in (by his sister, of course). His first books were not just the likes of Dr. Seuss’s collection but also comprised of latest editions of The Cosmopolitan. All this, because my second got shortchanged for a slightly more jaded, slightly more tired and slightly more “where is the time” and “he will be just fine”, mom.
But this also meant that he got a slightly less antsy, slightly less uptight, and slightly more, “I got this”, relaxed mom. Every hiccup and every cry of his, wasn’t frantically followed up by a call to my mother for help. Though, still on speed dial, the pediatrician wasn’t used like a therapist. And, babysitters weren’t given 1900 instructions before a short date night. Not to mention, there were date nights.
This is also perhaps why he co-slept in our beds more, was allowed to watch screens more and was permitted to wear his favorite outfits, superhero capes and masks, EVERYWHERE, so much more. He got introduced (safely) to popcorn, sweets and Legos sooner. And, he was allowed to explore on his own, a little longer and a little further.
Most importantly, this is why, while all his firsts were not captured from all different angles and awaited breathlessly, they were lived more. For, while my first born taught me that parenting is anything but perfect, my second, made me accept and revel in the imperfections. I learnt to laugh more at the undone and unfinished state of affairs and stress less about those umpteen mistakes. Dance more and sprint less. Cry more and scream less (?). No, scratch that. Scream, even more, and be totally fine with it.
So, here’s to all mothers and parents – while the guilt and self doubt may be existential to our roles, there are some winnings even in the perceived incompetence. Here’s to those!
#motherhood #secondtimeparent #kids