Ahh the dreaded Mum-guilt. That annoying gut-wrenching feeling when we’ve done absolutely nothing wrong but just have a sense we should be doing ‘better ‘.
I’ve had it a lot recently and am actively trying to kick the guilt out by laughing at the utter ridiculousness of it all:
1. ‘Are you still watching Paw Patrol?’
Oh Netflix you sanctimonious bastard! Yes of course we are but why do you ask on that tone of utter disbelief?
Okay, maybe Netflix isn’t actually judging us – it’s that bloody mum guilt. It’s completely fine to have days where you’ve seemingly watched telly from dawn till dusk. Kids charge around so much they need to recharge their batteries and chill. Plus if it gives you a bit of time to chill too then it’s 100% beneficial for everyone.
2. Going Out Out
You’re finally out in a venue that wouldn’t allow kids – maybe even a hen party that requires a few nights away? How dare you leave your precious offspring to socialise! They might grow up thinking it’s acceptable to have friends and enjoy the company of others! Sickening! In all seriousness we all feel this when we finally get a chance to get away or have a night out but why? Having some time for you is incredibly important and you appreciate the time with them so much more after a break.
I had a hellish hangover recently in which my two very young kids witnessed a fair amount of vomiting…not my finest hour and definitely Mum-guilt inducing. What sort of mother am I to get into this state in the first place, let alone when I’m in for a day of solo parenting. I’ve decided now I’ve taught them a valuable lesson about over-consumption and they’ve benefited from independent play. Go me!
I’m not the strictest when it comes to the treat jar and every few days Mum-guilt kicks in and I try to really restrict the kids sugar intake. These days are hard work! I don’t particularly like going all day without chocolate so I can totally understand why my 3 year old is turning her nose up at the dried apple slices I’ve subtly put in the biscuit tin. Treats are parent aids and as long as your kid’s eating try not to sweat the odd biscuit. Parenting would be ten times harder without them so just chuck an extra bit of broccoli on the plate at dinner to even things up.
5. Nappies versus Potty
There is so much mum-guilt around potty training, it’s unreal. We all know someone who trained their kid at 18 months and can’t see why you haven’t started with your three year old yet. Maybe your kid’s been trained for a year and still uses the potty over the toilet. Maybe your kid has been trained for years but still wears pull ups to bed? Even though all of the scenarios are completely normal but I bet you’ve beat yourself up about nappies and potty training in some way. Potty training can be shit in every sense and any mum who’s been through it knows it’s different for every child. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
I remember thinking almost smugly when I had a pretty well behaved two year old and a non-mobile baby how I very rarely had to raise my voice. How lucky I was. Fast forward 18 months and that woman is dead to me. We all reach the end of our rope at times and no one has limitless patience. Of course when you really lose it and actually get through to your kids you’ve probably upset them. Then our old friend the Mum-guilt is back. In a perfect world we would never have to shout and steady breathing and counting to 10 would be enough but that’s not real life. It’s good for your kids to see you have a limit of shit-taking. It is good to express a genuine emotion of frustration rather than give a robotic or inauthentic response. If you’ve had to shout there is probably a good reason. Tackle the Mum-guilt with hugs and kisses to make up after.
Yours/theirs/the house/the garden. Literally so much opportunity for Mum-guilt. My top tip is significantly lower your expectations. Then lower them a bit more. Weekly hair washes were totes the rage in the 80s! Let’s bring that back.
8. Looking at your phone.
You’re probably looking at your phone right now, aren’t you? Often in the day I’ll have a cheeky flip through Facebook and the small nagging voice of mum-guilt creeps into my head. I literally want two minutes to look at a screen but doesn’t that clearly mean I’m neglecting my precious flowers’ needs? Actually no. Not at all. Chances are that already today you’ve got your kids washed, fed, dressed, possibly done a school run, and sacrificed another day of not watching the news because the TV has been commandeered by your little ones. You deserve a little nosey on your phone. And besides once you’ve been clocked by the smalls they’ll soon be taking your mobile off you to watch strange children open Kinder Eggs on YouTube…