It can be tough being a Mum with a young child, I remember it well. Your little one is like your shadow, they're everywhere you turn. They're still finding their feet literally, and you're their world. It's a full on, never ending, full time (with overtime) job.
That's often when the guilt kicks in, questioning whether it's normal followed by thoughts of what can be done to change behaviour, especially if you're tired. It can be tough and that's when it's important for you both to have some space.
So much emphasis is placed on making sure that your child is well adjusted and that their independence is developed but what about yours? That might seem like a strange idea but I'm serious.
When that little person pops out of you everything changes. You're invisibly linked to this little being physically, emotionally and often telepathically (in those moments that you just know that it's time to feed wherever you may be!) As a result we often find ourselves being with our little ones most of theirs and our waking hours (including the time spent watching them sleep!). Hours turn into days and more often than not months and for some, even years spent caring for our babies, responding to their every need without a break.
But it's tough and takes its toll. It's important to take a break and there are added benefits for both you AND your little one. There can be a lot of guilt and doubt around placing your child in the care of someone else, especially if they're not with a family member even if it's for a short while but there needn't be. Why? Because it gives them an opportunity to be independent and to socialise with other children without the security of you in the background. Yes, it's good for them even at a young age to learn to be around others, especially if they're used to having you or other family members to themselves.
Personally, I saw a big difference between my children. My eldest was looked after for his first three years by his Grandmother when I returned to work. He didn't start nursery until he was three as we thought it was a great opportunity for him to be cared for by a family member. But when it was time for him to start nursery it wasn't easy. I remember the tears every day dropping him to nursery. It was gut wrenching and I felt awful, I was racked with a mother's guilt of leaving her child when they're in distress. It took him just over a month to settle, a month.
My youngest, on the other hand started nursery earlier at just over a year and she didn't even bat an eyelid when we left her. She just waved goodbye and was off on her nursery adventure. I'm convinced it's because from 6 months she spent at least an hour a week at the gym creche as I had decided to get fit the second time round.
She started out at the creche an hour a week which gradually built up to three as I exercised for an hour three times a week. Naturally she was tentative for the first few visits, but after that even at 6 months she got used to it. So much so, she would cry when it was time to collect her after an just hour. Funnily enough, that was a different kind of guilt. The guilt of taking her away from an environment she clearly enjoyed.
But the bottom line was by giving her her independence earlier she was a much more confident and sociable child than my eldest and I put it down to a combination of having her space combined with me being happier that I had an hour to do something I enjoyed and find myself.
It's so important to take some time for yourself even if it's only an hour to rest and recharge and find yourself again that does not require you being a Mum. Yes, you are you, not only Mum and it's so easy to forget once you've got into the routine of motherhood, especially if it's your first. Motherhood is consuming and full on there's hardly anytime to think of anything else, let alone remember what you liked doing before but it's important to not lose sight of what makes you you. When you're you, you're happier and so is everyone else around you.
So take a break and make yourself a priority, your little one will thank you for it later.