Guilt could have destroyed bond with my daughter

Says Louise Davies who struggled to find time to be with her daughter

When mum-of-one Louise Davies, 40, struggled to find the time to run her home as well as bond with her daughter Amelia, she became overwhelmed by guilt. Fearing it could have tipped her into depression, Louise, who is married to Mark, 44, used the feelings to change her life and now she is happier than she’s ever been.

"I’ve always been a very clean and neat person, but when I had my daughter Amelia just over two years ago, I found that I couldn’t fit in all my cleaning and look after her at the same time. As a result I would plonk her in front of the TV while I got on with my household chores. But the guilt of not playing and interacting with her made me stressed out and at nights, when my husband Mark came home, I’d shout at him to play with her.

I was becoming very snappy and realised that she wasn’t getting enough stimulation, so in desperation I sent her to a childminder. But doing the housework while Amelia was at another person’s house only piled on more guilt.

It was only when I saw how the childminder coped so well with her job and didn’t worry about the cleaning that I decided something had to give. I was missing so much just because I thought the kitchen floor needed mopping or the laundry couldn’t wait.

So one day, instead of making the beds or vacuuming the carpets, I decided just to take her outside to play. The sound of her laughter and the look of joy on her face as she ran around made me so happy and I knew this was more important than anything in the house.

Gradually, day by day, I told myself, ‘The kitchen can wait. The ironing can wait’. All the while I was exploring my daughter’s world and the bond between us grew.

Gone were my frantic attempts to clean. I realised I had set unrealistic goals and that if I carried on I could have sunk into depression. Now I’m applying to become a childminder myself so I can be at home with my daughter and earn money, too. Guilt showed me what’s important. If I’d let it go on, it could have been the end of me." 

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