Hand washing, mummy guilt and caring too much

Hand washing - The proof!
"I don't have to wash my hands when I wee!"

This was the delightful (and not entirely true) information my nearly 3 year old chose to impart to our new neighbour this evening!

It was an unfortunate turn of events. Neighbour was showing us round his house. Toddler wanted a wee. We went downstairs, did the business with no real input from either of us other than me lifting him on and off the toilet. Toddler got upset, I mean chin-wobblingly, silent-sobbingly upset, as he apparently hadn't finished looking upstairs. It was late, past bedtime, it wasn't worth a fight, so just that once (m'lud!) we eschewed the usual hand washing in favour of another quick nose around the house, and a happy Toddler!

No biggie.

Until Neighbour asks him if he washed his hands...

Cue me, as pink as a flatulent flamingo, falling over myself to explain to him that we ALWAYS wash our hands when we have a poo, but you know, sometimes, with a wee, if there was a lot going on and Toddler was tired, maybe it was OK to not make a big thing of it, but ONLY, you understand, if there was absolutely no hand involvement from either of us and it was certainly not a habit I would want to encourage, but he was really enjoying seeing the house and...

At this point I felt Hubbie's eyes boring into the back of my head.

Post Toddler bedtime debrief (over wine - obvs.) revealed that Hubbie was curious about 2 things...

  1. Why did I think a single child-less pensioner who, let's face it, I have known for all of 2 months, would want to know all this? N.b. I truly cannot answer this question...
  2. Why did I care what he thought anyway? Aside from the fact he'd just been round for dinner and I didn't want to cast doubt on the hygiene levels of my lasagne.

Why do we care so much what people think of us? 

This is not a new phenomenon to me.

Guilt, it seems, goes skipping hand in hand with motherhood, ready to strike when we least expect it. Ready to take us down, usually when the day from hell is already upon us and bedtime seems as unattainable as pre-pregnancy weight.

There was the lady in Sainsbury's the other day who lectured me for letting Toddler look at photos (that's photos, NOT pornographic videos!) on my phone for 10 minutes while I went through the checkout! She didn't know that through the rest of the shopping trip we'd played I Spy, sung songs and practised counting things - hence the reward for being so good. 

Didn't stop me feeling bad about it though!

Then there was the friend of a friend who, while watching Toddler drink a glass of juice and eat a mince pie at a Christmas party, gleefully told me her grandson, of the same age, would never have such a thing - he only drinks milk and water and never has sweet puddings, he also NEVER watches TV or plays on an IPad. Oh, and he plays outside for a minimum of 2 hours a day! 

Quite frankly I imagine him to be a little weird, but nonetheless...Cue more soul searching and parenting-ethic doubting.

It's not just as a mother, though these seem to be the most obvious recent examples.

At work I spent a good few hours fretting the other day because some figures I'd been involved with were found to be wrong. It wasn't my error, and everybody knew that, but I still felt that it might somehow reflect badly on me.

Sometimes I worry that I care too much what people think of me. I probably do, but is that all bad? Surely better to be aware of how other people think and feel than go crashing through life not giving a damn about anybody?

Or maybe, like most things, it's all about balance.

Get over it, nobody cares!

Trouble is, if I want to work as a freelance copywriter, or really any kind of copywriter, I am aware (suddenly and painfully) that I will need to do something about this affliction. The caring thing, not the hand washing thing - we do do that, honestly.

Clients will criticise and no doubt, at times, be mean! But I will somehow have to learn how to not take it personally. I am hoping that if I just 'put my brave pants on' and go for it, with time and practise I will harden up...

Either that or I will get through an awful lot of wine!

So, do I think Neighbour is sitting next door at this moment writing to Social Services about my complete and utter lack of care for my son's well being? 

I doubt it. In fact he's probably forgotten all about it...Which I dare say is what I should do!

Wine, anyone?


What do you think? Do I care too much?

*shakes head as realises irony of this question*

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