Saturday, 13 April 2013

I have doubts

I saw a fantastic film a few years back. I think it was called Doubt, Muriel Strepsil was a nun, and there were some other nuns, and a priest, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who chief nun Muriel became sure was molesting choirboys, so she hounded him out. That synopsis doesn't do it justice: it was nuanced and involving and engaging, and PSH was wonderful as ever, and of course Muriel too, but what's stuck with me most was the final line, where head nun admits to junior nun "I have doubts. I have such doubts".

Subscribing to any set of beliefs about how you should parent, how you should run your life, asks for a certain commitment. Subscribing to the set that has you sharing sleep, breastfeeding for an extended period, practising genuine child-led weaning, arranging your whole life and self around your belief in the primacy of the child's need to be securely attached to one carer, is a pretty firm way of putting absolutely all of your eggs into one basket.

So, a full list of times I've been apart from the boy since his birth, excluding only the odd 15-20 minute walk out with my husband, I've been to the dentist three times (root canal work not long after he was born, ouch), once out to lunch with a potential employer (that was about 2 hours, I think) and once into the office for a morning on my first day of work (work which I've subsequently done completely from home, and only when he sleeps). He and I are each other's worlds. I love him in a way I couldn't have known I could love. I know every minute where he is, how he is, what he's likely to want next. He's always thrilled to see daddy, hurtling across the house to him when he gets home at night, but for the upsets, or the day to day things, or pretty much everything else, only mummy will do.

Problem? I'm lonely. I'm parched. I can't think how I would have done any of this differently, but my colours are leached into him. I can't remember sleep. I'm never not-touched. And I can't talk to adults. If we go places, he just wants me, me alone, me and him, in fact now he can say "home" he usually just wants us to go. We've almost completely stopped going to toddler groups - if he's only going to want to haul me off into a corner to do a jigsaw, we may as well do that at home. We went (very briefly) to a party this evening, husband met and talked to some people, I just took bonz repeatedly to the buffet table, walked him round the room, cuddled him, etc. It just seems there's absolutely no opportunity for me to talk to adults, because we go everywhere together, and he needs me. Even if there was a chance, though (and of course I'm generalising a little bit - he does *sometimes* go and spend 5 minutes on his own scrapping with other toddlers over use of the toy kitchen) I don't know what I have to offer to any conversation. H comes home at night and I find myself in silence at the dinner table, when that's the alternative to offering up a description of how many times we did each puzzle, which words he's attempted, what our favourite colour crayon was today. I don't mean that I find it boring, but this truly is stuff only a mother could get emotionally engaged with, but it's all that I have, and I have literally nothing to report to the world.

I suppose this explains the blog silence - I could tell you these day to day minutiae, or report on my writing about financial instruments, but it's not credible, is it? It's not interesting, and it doesn't make me the kind of person you'd want to approach at a party or toddler group, even if I had torn myself away from my boy for a moment.
So, doubts. My heart is in my choices, but if attachment parenting is so great, why am I the only one feeling like this?