I am experiencing my first dose of maternal guilt. Charlie and I had a small accident yesterday morning which has left me feeling rather traumatised. It began shortly after he woke up from his standard three hours of nightly sleep with a small scratch on his left cheek. Concerned about the impact this faint red line had on his looks, I decided to take action and tackle the culprits: his little overgrown baby nails.
I was actually rather horrified that I'd let things slip in the grooming department. My own nails are consistently manicured so there is no excuse for my little boy's to be left shabby and untouched. I mean, David Beckham apparently gets regular manicures so why shouldn't my superstar-in-waiting be allowed the same treatment? I took Charlie into the bathroom along with my newly purchased mini-mani set and laid him down on his play mat to keep him amused.
Clutching his chubby little hand in mine, I began clipping away at the offending nails. Then the worst thing happened. When I was just about to trim his index fingernail he attempted to wriggle from my grasp and I clipped the top of his finger instead. I waited for a reaction but nothing happened. Phew, obviously didn't hurt that much. Then as the first trickle of blood appeared at the wound site he let out the most almighty roar, held his breath and then roared again.
Oh my goodness. I'd like to say that I didn't panic but that would be a serious lie. I thought I was going to be locked away for committing grievous bodily harm on my own child. My husband rushed in to see what all the fuss was about. He caught me red handed at the crime scene (bathroom), holding the lethal weapon (nail clippers), while staring at the victim (Baby Charlie). My husband just tutted and said, "It's only a small 'nick'". But as I sat there watching my son's tears spill on to the bathroom tiles, I felt like the world's worst mum. If I wasn't going to be sent to jail, at the very least surely I was going to be sacked as a mother for gross misconduct. The baby seemed to forget what had happened in minutes but deviously still held the injured finger up in the air for the rest of the day as a reminder to his clumsy mum.
My friends, who on the outside come across as completely competent parents, have assured me that this is the dreaded parental guilt that is all part of motherhood. It seems new mums are handed the guilty gene along with their newborn babies. My head is continuously revolving with guilty thoughts. Have I played with him enough today? Did I cause his red rash by changing his nappy too infrequently? Should I be blow drying my hair while my six-week-old son is left to amuse himself in his bouncy chair?
Actually, forget the latter thought, hair styling is a necessity in my world so I can't feel too guilty about that one. Apparently these emotions never go away and actually deepen the older the child gets. So I've got at least 18 years left of feeling this way with my guilt- ridden mind turning every minor mishap into a major incident. There's only one thing for it. I'm going to have to learn to calm down and accept that all mums make mistakes. And next time, I'll book my son in to the nearest nail salon.