Mornings are getting progressively worse in this house and they’re leaving me with the dreaded mum-guilt.
Whereas my oldest who has just started school will basically get herself ready, my smallest does everything in his power to make the process as difficult as possible. He refuses to get dressed, he screams, he runs away, he takes off the clothes he already has on, he screams a bit more.
Three year olds, huh.
Today, he told me that as it was ‘green day’ (as in the theme of the day, not the band. That would be weird) the teachers had said that they could take in a green toy. Sadly he didn’t inform me of this until 8.47am; some minutes after we should already have left. Perhaps it was on a newsletter than I didn’t see or a noticeboard I failed to spot.
I offered him a green tractor but that wasn’t good enough, and with time ticking on I had to insist that we left before my daughter was late for school.
And by insist, I mean tuck him under my arm and leave the house while he kicked and screamed in classic three-year-old style.
He carried on the entire way to her classroom, all the way to preschool and I could still hear him shouting ‘I DON’T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL, I WANT TO COME HOME WITH YOU’ as I exited the school gates.
I’m not used to it; my oldest always kissed me goodbye and toddled off so willingly that having such a stressful school run and a child so hell-bent on laying on that mummy guilt trip is entirely unknown to me.
And I do feel guilty.
But not for leaving him.
I feel a little guilty for foisting him upon the preschool staff, but not as much as I should, maybe. They get to hand him back in a few hours.
Mainly though, I feel guilty because I don’t feel guilty.
I feel guilty because everyone assumes that tearing myself away from my wailing child would or should make me feel guilty, and although I love the bones of his whiny little bum (and the rest of him), all I can think of is making good my escape.
I feel guilty because I thoroughly enjoy every second of my childfree time, even when I’m working. I feel guilty because, after a morning of being whined and screamed at, I have no problem handing him over and running as fast as my chubby legs will carry me out of the school gates to freedom and tea.
I don’t feel guilty for leaving him; I know I’d feel worse if he was at home and I had to park him in front of Paw Patrol so I could get work done, or if I had to lock myself in the bathroom just to get some peace. But those four hours a day, a few days a week, are what buys me my sanity and my thinking space. And I absolutely look forward to it.
And I guess I feel a little bit guilty about that.
Three year olds, man.