Mummy guilt is everywhere. I mean it’s literally there waiting for me at every turn:
It’s there when I lose my temper.
When I give in to my daughter’s pleas for anything with too much sugar.
When she asks for the iPad.
When she politely requests for her nails to be painted when I know she shouldn’t be inhaling the chemicals.
When I glance at my phone for a little too long when I’m with her.
When I leave her downstairs on her own for a moment to pee then get distracted and end up putting laundry away/tidying up.
When I take her to the park and I think “This is getting boring. I could be at the gym right now”.
When I have any thought that appears to be taking this precious time I have with my daughter for granted.
When I think of going away for a weekend and leaving her with my parents.
When she’s taking her time on the stairs and I think “Jesus how long does it take..”.
When I dropped her off at nursery and felt a great sense of relief.
When I told a friend I couldn’t wait for her to be full-time at school.
When I told her off for spinning around in my room as I was scared she’d hit her head on the corner of my bed, but it came out as a rather firm: “STOP IT” (She would have heard it as “STOP ALL THIS FUN”) meanwhile I was busy applying bronzer as I hadn’t worn make up in a while and had forgotten what a healthy glow looked like. I explained I didn’t want her to hurt herself but the look on her face said it all: “Mummy, why are you so angry looking? What have I done wrong? I’m enjoying my own company as you’re too busy putting brown stuff on your face, and you won’t let me play with your special brown stuff…” .
And the list goes on.
It’s like I’m just looking for reasons to feel crap about my parenting. It’s so easy to tally up all the bad stuff, the weaker moments, we forget to notice all the great stuff. – The healthy meals, the bed-time stories, the most hilarious bath-times, the various activities, the playdates, the little outings, the moments we are 101% present with our children, the special little conversations you just want to replay over and over, the moments we’re just plain silly and completely let loose with them, all that singing and dancing.
Then I have moments where I just feel plain shit. -That I’m truly the worst; too young to be a parent and feeling like the older mothers must have experiences they can draw upon that I haven’t had yet, that they must have more patience for their children. They’re older and wiser but how does their parenting compare to mine? No no, I tell myself, don’t compare, it’ll only get you down, just remember Maia has got her older and wiser Grandma around to teach her all the stuff that twenty-three year old Mummy may not have learnt yet.
I feel as though we’re all a little too hard on ourselves. Okay very very hard on ourselves. Almost like a real internal beating some days. I forget I am a human being with feelings and emotions, not a robot designed to operate at maximum capacity all day long, never losing its cool or falling out of place.
Maia might never learn to like kale, she might always watch a bit too much Peppa and overhear the word F*** every now and again; but she has a mother that always does her best, every day, and this is what matters. I am always striving to be a better parent – I read the parenting, personal development and nutrition books FFS. I don’t half-arse anything.
So now, if I catch myself-mid-tantrum – thinking; “Well this sucks, I’m way too young to be doing this, Maia deserves better than me. She deserves a woman with more life-experience, more patience, just someone BETTER..”…I stop myself. I stop the madness before it escalates into “HERE GRANDMA YOU HAVE HER AND I’LL GO TAKE YOUR JOB…”. I quickly calm the crazy.
We mothers experience “THE GUILT” whatever our situation because whichever way you look at it, it’s never quite perfect, and of course we all want to get it just right. Stay at home mums feel guilty that they’re not earning money, and then feel guilty for wishing they were at work. Working mums feel guilty they don’t have more time with their kids. Working stay at home mums feel guilty they can’t give their children their full attention when at home. – All the while simply doing what we have to, what works for our families because often we don’t have a choice…We feel guilty about doing something we have to do. And we feel guilty about choosing to work because it looks as though we don’t want to spend every waking hour with our wonderful children and what does this say about us?… –THE GUILT IS ALL MADNESS, ITS ALL MADNESS. I can see where it originates, it comes from a good place, from not wanting to f*** up as a parent, it comes from wanting to be the best for our children, give them the very best start in life and show them how much love and care for them…but here’s the thing: they know how much we love and care for them, and they are getting the very best start in life.
I recently watched a video by two hilarious, crazy, pretty darn fabulous mothers that altered my hard-hitting and self-deprecating stance. It was called “FUCK MOM GUILT”. It listed all the reasons mothers have to feel guilty. And there are many when you list them all out. Of course none of them are particularly reasonable; they’re all geared towards a perfect existence where everything is ideal and everyone at their best. We could spend all day every day feeling guilty about all the things we’re getting “wrong”, or not quite perfect, or that Sally mummy of four down the street is doing so much better than us. OR we could say “Y’know, my kids are healthy, they’re happy, we’re good people, I’m not doing so bad..”. It made me realise: you can never win, because it will never be good enough, because we all have high such standards. There will always be someone else “doing better than you”, and THAT’S OKAY. YOU’RE DOING GREAT. YOU’RE DOING YOUR BEST. You’re truly an extraordinary human and you do not deserve to put yourself through any kind of guilt, motherhood is hard enough as it is. Trust yourself and trust your instincts because your child is just as happy and healthy as the next…
So I decided after this video to F*** Mummy Guilt. Calling BULLSHIT on all the: “Aren’t you an awful Mummy for letting her sleep at 10pm..This could be permanently damaging you know.” A lot of what we tell ourselves is bollocks, and we need to remember this. We need to set an example and be kind to ourseleves, believe in ourseleves and our children will do the same.
Now, every time I feel a pang of guilt for anything I know I don’t need to feel guilty about; I literally say “FUCK YOU MUMMY GUILT, YOU HAVE NO HOME HERE, YOU’RE NOT HELPING ME, FUCK RIGHT OFF”.
And it usually does.
And we’re all happier for it.