Mum’s Guilt

Tonight, as I looked down at the silhouette of a sleeping Emilee in her darkened room, a wave of mum’s guilt washed over me. Just moments ago, I had scolded her and given her a smack on her thigh for insisting that she must have the adult comforter dragged down from the single bed in her room to her mattress on the floor. I couldn’t understand why she must have it when she already has her own blanket. Moreover, she wanted to get under it which I knew would make her perspire in her air-conditioned room. Thinking about it now, it was just a trivial matter and I could have given in to her want and all would be fine, but at that moment it made me rather cross because

  1. It was rather late for her bedtime. She had insisted for extra video watching time earlier and by the time we got up to her room and settled down for bed, it was already 10pm.
  2. She has been insisting on this and that a lot lately and it MUST be NOW. Will not take ‘no’ for an answer even when I try to reason out with her.

I’m not sure if her behaviour is partly due to the anxiety of knowing that her sibling will be arriving in two month’s time and that the attention from all the adults will not be solely on her anymore. However, the moment I scolded and smacked her, she started to sulk and sank into her mattress. I could see she was fighting her tears and resisting the urge to wail out loudly (which would only make mummy more cross). I turned off the light to signal the end of conversation and that was when she got up and hugged me, wanting some comfort from the same mummy who had given her a scolding and a smack earlier. I hugged and patted her back, lowering my voice to a gentle tone, explaining to her why I had gotten mad. I then asked her to lay down to sleep which she promptly did but turned away from me, signalling that she was still upset. She did not bother to say goodnight to her sibling when I asked her to and neither did she answer me when I reminded her that she didn’t need to run to our room if she woke up in the middle of the night. I left it at that knowing that I had hurt her pride and now she just wanted to deal with her emotions alone.

Her actions tonight made me feel like I was rushing her into being a ‘big girl’ and the ‘understanding older sibling’ when she’s only turning three in a month’s time. Am I forcing her into a big pair of shoes when she’s not even ready for this huge role? I know that once her sibling arrives, most of my attention will be shifted away from her. It pains me to know that my brave three-year-old will have to silently deal with this.

It is also funny how just a few days ago, I was chatting with a mummy friend about the exact same thing. She was experiencing mum’s guilt for yelling at her daughter. Today, I find myself in the same position. I guess it is a common thing for us mums.

But for now, I can only work on myself and pray for more patience with Emilee.

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