One thing I wasn’t prepared for when motherhood kicked off was the amount of time I’d spend feeling guilty. When I haven’t actually done anything wrong!
That DREADED mum guilt. Do you know the thing I mean? It seems to pop up everywhere, like an uninvited jack-in-the-box, with a dumb taunting face and stupid flashing fairy lights. Quite honestly, I wish it would just pee off.
It can quite happily invite itself to any situation. Wobbly toddler has a little topple (whilst you may have been checking your phone)? GUILTY. Baby gets nappy rash because you tried out those two-for-one nappies? GUILTY ONCE MORE.
And if you caught my recent post about comparing your little one to others, you’ll know I feel that panic every time I see a child acing something I haven’t taught my offspring to do.
(Ooh, excited side note – I have a FREEBIE for you at the end..!)
Guilty About the Little Things
Now here’s a mum guilt example. When I was pregnant, I read ALL OF THE BOOKS. I mean, I love a good book anyway, and who doesn’t get excited about a project(!)
Well, this one book called Brain Rules for Baby suggested that children under two shouldn’t watch TV. It was written by a very clever brain scientist, so who was I to argue. (Yes, yes, I know. First time mum with all those crazy ideals! PFFFFFFFFF.)
Now, I was doing pretty well with this until recently….
And then Little B went through his “I’m scared of everything from a pear to cute fluffy pony” phase, and mum guilt 101 kicked in. Eek, was it because I didn’t let him near the TV? If he’d have seen David Attenborough in full Blue Planet action, would the boy be better acquainted with a duck-billed platypus? CRIKEY.
So I’m beginning to see a trend with this guilt thing. You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. My best advice? Do what feels right and don’t flipping stress it! That’s my new plan, anyway.
(TV situation update – when the child is having a meltdown, I now stick him in front of the telly with some nice (highly educational) cartoon or other. Bloody brilliant! Don’t go sweating about all those brain books!)
Feeling Guilty About Career Choices
I know this is a huge one for most of us. Feeling guilty about going back to work. Or feeling guilty about not going back to work. Or feeling guilty about working from home.
Do you see that ugly pattern again? Yep, you guessed it. If you’re prone to this mum guilt too, chances are you’ll feel guilty whichever choice you make.
Why is that?
Is it because you’re an extremely bad lady who leaves your child in a bush all day whilst you swan off and get your nails done? Is it because you leave them playing on the motorway whilst you sit in the office pretending to type up that report? I’m going to guess not, because all of my readers are remarkably nice people!
You feel guilty about your choices because you care. And the very fact that you care so much makes you a fantastic mum already. Mexican wave!
Don’t Feel Guilty! The Grass is Never Greener
I have mummy friends who go to work and feel guilty about it. I have mummy friends who do not go to work and feel equally guilty.
So rest assured, the grass is not greener on the other side.
If you’ve read my blog before, you may know I’m a mummy who stays at home with my toddler. I’m trying to build up a work at home business as a writer. (Did you see my post about the novel I’m writing? Or my new Work With Me page – very proud of that!)
And whilst I force myself to do the rounds of playgroups (urgh!) and soft play, I’ve certainly had my share of worry that I’m doing my child a disservice by not immersing him in the world of nursery school.
There was a point when he seemed a bit “behind” on learning to walk. Not even scarily behind, just “oh my god at least five other children on the planet are already walking” behind. And of course then I wondered if I had taken him to nursery, with kids legging it all over the place, would he be Usain Bolt by now? Like, super-fast toddler of the year?
Take the positives!
Yet there are swings and roundabouts. He didn’t walk early, but with me babbling in his face all day, he had a commendable grasp of important words like Hoover. (Not so sure why – I don’t get much time to use the dratted thing.)
Then I think back to my own childhood. I remember going to playgroups and making the obligatory dried pasta necklaces, but my mum worked around me, so I didn’t go to nursery. But that was great. I followed her around on her little part-time jobs, and it felt like a huge adventure.
My point is, I don’t think I missed out from not going to nursery. I grew up into a non-murderer, I seem to be able to walk OK, and I even qualified as a solicitor back in my pre-baby life.
Does that mean we should all stay at home with our kids and jack off the world of work? Hell no! Ladies, we are all human beings as well as mothers. If we want to go to work, or work from home, or sell seashells on the freaking seashore, that’s absolutely A-OK.
We all make reasoned choices, which are right for families at any given time. None of us do so selfishly.
It’s OK, Mumma
It’s OK to want a job of your own, as well as holding your mum title. Having a role in society or a career that you’re passionate about can make you a happier, more fulfilled person. And if you’re happy, then of course you’ll be mumming with an added sparkle.
Or even if it’s just a job you do to pay the bills, a break from the mum routine can be a glorious thing. It can make the time you do spend with your bambinos even more precious.
And think of the fun your tigers will be having at nursery, with granny, or whichever place you’ve chosen for them. So many new things to see and learn. You know in your heart there are heaps of positives, and that’s why your made your choice.
So how do we stop feeling guilty?
Ooh, well I can’t give too much away. I want you all to have my freebie downloadable guide, which is yours to keep if you stick your email address in the Subscribe box. But more about that later.
Of course, I would never leave you hanging! So how about this little trick I’ve been toying with, which seems to work a treat.
When I’m stressing over the small things, it helps me to remember just how unimportant they’ll be in the grand scheme of things. The best way I’ve found to do this is to ask myself how my mother did it all those (many) decades ago.
For example, one of my current guilt points is that my boyo naps too often (OK, always, Sleep Police!) in his pushchair. He’s comfy in there, he sleeps for ages, and the angle used to be great for his reflux. The habit has kind of stuck.
But you can be sure I worry that I’m ruining the poor child. So I tried to think back to how I used to nap at that age. You know what, I have no recollection. I just know my mum did a great job, I turned out reasonably non-feral, and I’m definitely not scarred for life about where I did or did not nap. Hell, I even quite like her!
Be kind to yourself
So there you have it. It’s all about being kind to ourselves, having faith in our choices, and keeping it all in perspective.
Your child will not resent you because you chose to beaver away at a computer three days a week so you could have nicer holidays. Your child will not remember if you forgot to wash their My Little Pony bedding that one weekend in 2017. And the thing about the nappy rash from those cheap nappies? Shh. Grab some bum cream. They’ll never even know.
So what little things do you find yourself feeling guilty about? Or maybe you have some more tips to help the rest of us. Whatever your thoughts, get BRAZEN and stick them in the comments box. You know I love your honesty.
GIVE ME THE FREE STUFF!
As I mentioned above, I have a special treat for you this week. If you sign up to my blog by putting your email address in the Subscribe box, I will send you my FREE 5 Step Guide to Banishing Mum Guilt. Forever! It’s a pretty PDF affair which I made my very self. Aren’t you proud?
More excitingly, I finally cracked how to use my new fandangled email service so I can give you this freebie. This confusing technology has been making me want to cry ALL YEAR. Please don’t make me have suffered in vain!
If you’re already signed up but want your freebie (of course!), I will be sending it out to all of you via email (technology permitting!). Any problems, please get in touch via my Contact page. I don’t want any of my lovely followers to miss out.
And if you’re signed up via WordPress? You’ll need to sign up using the subscribe box this time, because technology is stinky and it won’t let me transfer WordPress contacts to my shiny new email list. And I would cry again if I lost any of you! Waaahhhhh…xx
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If you enjoyed this post, my motivational kicks about not comparing yourself to others and beating the overwhelming feeling of having too much stuff to do were MADE FOR YOU! Hop on over and take a look. Thanks for reading! xx
Nails lady – from Pixabay, via Pexels