Everyone who’s everyone has heard of mum guilt, or should I say, in this social media age; #mumguilt. Well, you have if you’re a mum. Fed your baby pre-made baby food instead of organic, home-grown, home-mashed mush? #mumguilt. Stuck the baby in front of the TV for 5 minutes peace whilst you cook? #mumguilt. Dropped the baby off at nursery and sighed with relief? #mumguilttothemax.
But why are we so hard on ourselves as mums? As a parent, and therefore an individual with total responsibility for another actual life, you accept that there is going to be more pressure put on you to make sure you hit certain criteria. Your child needs to be fed, safe and loved. Those are the three main tenants of parenting. And yet we put pressure on ourselves to achieve more and more for our children at our own expense.
Mum Guilt And Me
I am one of those awful individuals who are guilty of incurring mum guilt on a daily basis. I use it to laugh off something that actually makes me feel a bit, well, a bit crap. It’s a pre-defense. If I get in there first and claim mum guilt then everyone else will know that I KNOW I’m letting my kid down. In reality, I’m far from doing that. But that’s mum guilt for you. It gets you right in the feels whenever you really don’t need it.
When I imagined motherhood in the pre-baby days, I imagined all the lovely bits; the smiles, the cuddles, the amazement at creating a human being. From scratch. And there are times when motherhood, for me, is like that. Albeit a slightly less polished, more ‘be grateful we’ve got dressed today’ version of it. What I didn’t imagine was all the rubbish-y bits that come hand in hand with it and the guilt I’d feel for feeling like that.
I didn’t consider the bone-aching tiredness that comes from night after night of broken sleep, fixed only by letting my baby sleep next to me. Mum guilt for the clearly failing my baby in some way because why else wouldn’t they sleep. Mum guilt for putting my child’s safety at risk by co-sleeping.
I didn’t consider the stress of breastfeeding my baby; an often painful and time-consuming process. Mum guilt for sitting there mentally compiling a list of all the jobs that actually needed doing instead of making the most of my baby time. Mum guilt for considering formula. Major mum guilt for considering it the perfect time to catch up with social media.
I didn’t consider that I’d have a baby. Permanently. Even when I needed the toilet. Mum guilt for wanting to shut myself in the toilet for just ten minutes longer in peace. More mum guilt for throwing the baby at his father the minute he walked through the door. Another helping for using the jumperoo as an unpaid babysitter (incidentally where the baby is right at this second).
Guilt For Guilt’s Sake
But mostly, I didn’t consider the overwhelming guilt at feeling guilty. The overwhelming guilt at wishing, momentarily for a second of my old life back. The overwhelming guilt at not enjoying every single moment. I am one of the lucky ones, I have the baby that many people dream off. People who spend every waking moment hoping and trying to get pregnant, foster or adopt just to experience what I was experiencing. People who mourn for babies lost too soon, for babies with poor health, for babies they could not have.
I use #mumguilt alongside many others, often in jest, and yet it crippled my first few months of parenting. Now, as we hit our stride as a family of three, the mum guilt continues but I’ve gotten stronger. I know it’s okay to admit that motherhood, whilst incredible isn’t always a barrel of laughs. It’s life changing, awe-inspiring and sometimes, a little bit shit.
p.s. After writing this I removed my child from the jumperoo only to find he’d had a little accident. An accident that spread from his chest, down to his toes and required copious amounts of wetwipes, an emergency shower and rapid washing-machine action. And I thought he’d just been enjoying himself.
So honest, and so true…it’s crazy that i’m only a few weeks ahead with little N and in all of our mama catch ups it’s the one thing neither of us ever mentioned. My biggest #mumguilt…not enjoying ‘play time’ as much as I know I should – but honestly, it’s exhausting. In fact, I totally live for nap times and a chance to get some time off, catch up on chores, social media and most importantly brush my teeth!
Love you @devonmama – you’re doing an amazing job! x
Isn’t it? We must make an effort to talk about ourselves more than just the babies! You’re doing a great job too lovely, just think, one day we’ll look back on all this and sigh at how quickly it all passed and how much time we wasted worrying about what we were doing wrong & right. xx
So true! #MumGuilt every single day BUT we’re pretty bloody amazing for doing what we do so I think we’re allowed to slip now and then 😉 #kcacols
You’re right, we are pretty amazing – that just gets lost in amongst everything else! Thanks for reading x
aww lol -my boy fell asleep in his jumperoo and I had mumguilt then! we as mums beat ourselves up way too much. we’ve got to stop feeling guilty about everything and remember the good things we do day in day out for our kids. #KCACOLS
It’s so easy to forget all the good stuff and just focus on the bits where you feel a bit crappy about it! Isn’t the jumperoo amazing though? My favourite babysitter ever…. x
I remember it well – for me it definitely got easier as they get older – and with the second I feel like I used all of my guilt up and I’m happy that we’ve got through the day with no catastrophe!
In that case, bring on number 2!! thanks for stopping by!
#mumguilt constantly. for working / not working / spending not enough time with the older one / giving the little one more attention…the list goes on! However, I know we all are doing just fine and as long as kids are happy, we should be too.
Brilliant blog by the way! x
Ahhh thank you!! It’s so nice to hear someone enjoys my ramblings! Totally agree. We’re awesome. We should tell ourselves that more often rather than worrying that we’re bad parents for silly little things! x
Its so easy to get caught up in mum guilt when really, most of the time we are pretty awesome and all of the time we love em to bits:)
I agree!! Must try harder to be nicer to self! Thanks for stopping by x
Current mumguilt – commenting instead of playing. I can never win. But we all love each other and we are there when it’s important. They need room to grow too. #kcacols
I know!!! Blogging, linking, commenting, then getting annoyed when he wakes up from his nap for a split second!! Room to grow, I like that! Thanks for reading x
I hate the mum guilt. It literally affects every single thing you do doesn’t it! I must admit I never had it when she was younger but I am crippled with it these days. My most recent one was, despite her having to sleep out 3 nights on the run due to a change in my work hours, lying yes lying to her dad telling him I was in work another morning that I wasn’t so she could stay at his 2 nights because I was exhausted from working 3 10 hours shifts on the run. #mumguilt didn’t stop me though but I felt awful!
Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday
It’s so hard putting ourselves first sometimes but it has to be done. I saw someone say you can’t pour from an empty cup – might make that my mantra from now on! Thanks for hosting and thanks for stopping by! x
Brilliant post, Spot on!
#mumguilt is something which plagues us all yet I don’t recall reading about it in any parenting books!
It was the biggest surprise for me! For ages I thought it was just me who felt this way.. and then felt guilty for feeling guilty! Thanks for stopping by x