As a parent you will feel a barrage of different emotions each day you spend with your child. From the moment you set eyes on that little cherub you were most probably filled with delight at finally seeing them in the flesh, scared at the responsibility you had obtained of being the protector of this little one for life and exhausted at the effort you put in to aiding them their journey into the world, it's safe to say babies can bring waves of overwhelming emotion but as my son gets older I notice that three feelings stand out from the rest, these three are constant no matter what day it is - love, worry and guilt.
I feel an immense sense of love for my son, he is perhaps the only person in this world I could say I truly feel the emotion of love for. Of course, I love my fiance, family and friends but that is a different kind of love. I could look at my son and I cry over the love I feel for him, other people aren't so lucky to dwell up that emotion from inside me, good thing too otherwise I'd constantly be a blubbering mess. He is the only person in the world who I could watch endlessly, who I look at and immediately think "my God you're beautiful" everytime, the only person who will ever know how I truly feel for him because I'll do my best to express it and tell him each day what he means to me. The love I feel is a mother's love and it is something which shall always remain no matter whether we're apart, on different ends of the Earth, he will always be my boy and I'll always be his mammy, a role which I will only ever be to my children, something which is extra special.
However, hand and hand with the happy clappy, lovey dovey, fairytale-like emotion of love comes the constant feeling of guilt. This is the one which causes the sad moments, the 'I'm not doing it right' moments, the sleepless nights, the second guessing myself and the feeling which causes me to want to change my own daily habits. I feel so guilty for spending so much time on the internet - my one true vice, for not going on as many walks as we should, for giving him an organic ready meal instead of making one from scratch myself, the list continues... I never even thought when I was pregnant that guilt would be something I would feel throughout my journey of parenthood but there you go, this boy has gotten into my mind and having him here is urging me to change my ways, well feck it anyway! I notice so many of my fellow mothers also express their feelings of guilt with one another, I guess we're just hoping for some sort of reassurance that this pestering guilt is just a self-conscious annoyance and we really are the best mammy we can strive to be.
Finally there is the feeling which you are sure to have for a lifetime once you become a parent - worry. The minute your baby is placed in your arms after birth you're worrying - are they too hot, too cold, are they hungry, will they be okay if you just run to the bathroom for two minutes, will they be okay as they sleep, why are they getting sick, is there something wrong... it only gets worse and more intense as they get older. Amazingly I already worry about the day my son goes to pre-school, wondering will he be okay with strangers, people who don't know his routine, will he settle into it. I actually dread to think about his teenage years, mother of God I'll be a nervous wreck if he's out past nine o' clock! Would it be going too far to put a GPS tracking on him I wonder... I joke of course but really with the horror stories I'm constantly reading no wonder I'm such a worrying Wilma! If I didn't worry I wouldn't be doing my job of being his protector now would I but when does this worry pass the 'normal' mark, I don't want my son to be like a boy in a bubble, the cotton wool would be too much effort to wash. I knew he needs his independence as he grows but my apron strings will always be in reach if he decides he needs his mammy.
No matter what other feelings I experience throughout my sons life I always know that my good ole friends love, guilt and worry will be constantly there, making me nit-pick my parenting skills, smothering my son with I love you's and being that annoying Irish mammy who gives a Spanish Inquisition-like question round before allowing him to leave the house and a Mastermind-like quiz on his return. Would I have it any other way? Quite simply, no.