Sunday, March 28, 2010

The pain of parenting

Striking a pre pink-eye pose

It's a given that it hurts becoming a mum. But I'm quickly learning that the physical pain of the birth is just for starters. All the emotional angst is equally bad. If you're not worrying, Philip Larkin-style, about filling your offspring with the faults you had, and worse, then you're fretting about the latest parental travesty you've committed according to the latest piece of research or author with a book to publicise. 

Last week's crime was entrusting your toddler to a nanny. Or, more specifically, your son: dumping him with another woman is a red rag to adulthood philandering according to the psychiatrist Dr Dennis Friedman. He reckons delegating his care teaches him the concept of "The Other Woman". Gee, thanks. Now you're damned if you leave them in nursery because it messes with their stress levels and  damned if you pay someone the earth for some one-on-one care. Some doctor he is. (And note it took a man to come up with that 'theory' - excuse more likely.) As one of my DC mom friends put it, 'If the first rule of doctoring is to do no harm, then he's harming working mums by heaping on that maternal guilt.' I might just be in the clear on that one though, because apparently the biggest danger is before they turn one, when the serious mum-to-son bonding is going on. 

And from emotional pain to physical pain: this week I've succumbed to the punishment that is doled out for shoving your child into a nursery. I refer, of course, to the joys of an illness passed from son to mother. A medley of cold, sore throat, conjunctivitis and an ear infection. (That's me; he just had the cold and pink eye.) To be fair, the nursery is only obliquely to blame for the ear ache. I fear I brought it on myself by doing a headstand for Louis. We were trying to replicate how one of the kids there was dancing on his head, so Louis wanted me to do likewise. Not a wise move as it turned out. It immediately triggered the most intense pain I've experienced since trying to make a certain little person embrace the world. One week on, it's still agony. My top tip is if your ears already hurt, stay the right way up.  


Iota said...

Pain, fear, guilt, sleep deprivation... remind me why we took on this parenthood lark.

Hot Cross Mum said...

And all of that is why it's the hardest job in the world. Headstands you say - blimey missus, steady on.....!