This is something I wrote one night last week. I’ve thought long and hard about whether I wanted to share this. I know what some people will think. But what’s more important than that is what I want you all to keep in mind and be aware of.
I’m sitting here sobbing great big fat tears.
I’ve just done the worst thing. I am a horrible mum.
Tonight, I put Harry and Aoife in the bath together, played with them for a bit, then remembered I had washing to put away. So I went around the corner just a few metres to hang up one of my husband’s shirts. I didn’t hear anything out of the ordinary, just a tiny bit of splashing.
I went back to the bathroom maybe 15-30 seconds later (I really have no idea, it was very quick) and Aoife was under water flailing around. Harry was laughing. I grabbed her so fast out of that bath and held her to me…she was coughing and screaming. Harry suddenly realised she wasn’t playing and his face fell.
It could have been so much worse. Aoife is fine. She coughed briefly, cried for a little bit while I held her and cried myself, then was back to her usual smiling self a few minutes later. She fed as normal and went off to sleep happy.
But still…what I did was completely unacceptable.
There is NO WAY I should have left them in there together alone. I got complacent.
This was what I was thinking. I have severe anxiety and am a huge perfectionist. This has combined, all my life, to result in me never being able to relax until everything is ‘done’. And in my book that means the washing put away, the dishes done, everyone fed, everything tidy etc, so I can relax at night knowing it’s all sorted. It’s more than a little OCD of me, I know.
Tonight that side of me dominated as I thought I’d ‘just quickly’ pop into the other room to put the shirt away.
This is the hardest post I’ve ever shared. Even harder than admitting I had PND and anxiety. Because many of you out there will be thinking I’m a bad mum. You’d never do it, right?
Well, I thought that too. But I had a momentary lapse in concentration. I guess I thought Harry would look after her. Stupid stupid stupid, he’s only 2.5 years old.
The only reason I’m writing this is because I want to warn you – DO NOT ever think that your baby, no matter how old, is safe in the bath by themselves or with a sibling, even for a couple of seconds.
Our babes don’t care if the house is clean. They don’t care if there’s a pile of clean washing on the floor. They just need us there, 24/7, whenever they need us. And not just present – they need us ‘ALL THERE’ mentally. Give them all our time, all our attention, all our focus.
Yes, it’s exhausting being ‘there’ all the time. We’d had a shocking afternoon with Harry behaving badly. I was exhausted, over it, and just wanted to be able to relax when the kids were asleep. There is no excuse. Because I guess, subconsciously, I put that before my baby’s welfare.
I’m sure many people out there will be judging me right now. And wanting to troll me. Go for it. Nothing you can say will make me feel worse than I already do.
I hate myself. My babies are my world and I will feel guilty about this for the rest of my life – and I’m not exaggerating.
Please, heed my warning and never take your eyes off them. It could turn out to be your worst nightmare.