Parenting

Motherhood – an unrelenting sequence of guilt

mum guilt

Every mum will say the words, “I feel guilty”. It doesn’t matter what we do as mums, there will always be that creeping guilt that seeps into an aspect of our day. It might be that you chose to put the telly on first thing because you were just too tired to mum at 6am – in fact, you’re too tired to even speak at that hideous time of day. Guilt always trickles in to our thoughts. You might have given your little one chocolate because it was the only way to bribe them to shut up during a spectacular public tantrum! We’ve all been there. You won’t be the first to use bribery, little white lies or TV to keep your child happy, and you won’t be the last! We all have this pre-conception of the “perfect mum”. However, I’d like to find that mum… and ask her how the hell she does it! The reality is, she doesn’t exist! No one can be perfect, no one can be happy all the time and no one can remain entirely stress-free when bringing up a child. No matter what your culture is or how wealthy/poor you are, there will be times we do things which make us feel guilty.

This week, I left a Calpol bottle on Molly’s bedroom floor. I had slept in her room (on the floor) as she was up between 10 pm – 3 am. I had given her Calpol for her teething pain and left it by my pillow. The next morning, I lifted Molly out of her cot and let her play with her toys whilst I escaped to the toilet for a quick wee and to clean her bath toys. Within about 2 minutes, Molly came running in with the OPEN Calpol bottle saying, “more?”. As you can imagine, I immediately felt sick to my stomach and overwhelmingly full of guilt. I had no idea how much she drank so we went to the hospital. I kept thinking to myself, I bet these nurses think I’m such a neglectful mum. I think I was searching for some reassurance, but unfortunately none of the nurses said “don’t worry, it’s easily done”. When you feel bad about something all you want is for someone to say, “don’t worry!”. However, my mum was with me and reassured me that you can’t be perfect all the time – these things happen. I then told her that I once drank some Calpol when I was about 10 because I liked the taste, she was horrified! Ha! Anyway, Molly was fine so that’s the main thing. She was under the threshold for what they would consider to be dangerous. It didn’t stop the feeling of guilt though. You replay it in your head and think to yourself, why didn’t I just put it out of the way! That’s all very well, but it’s not a useful way of thinking. It’s done. It’s happened. I was incredibly tired and clearly wasn’t thinking straight at the time. I had some very kind messages from people on Instagram – lots of reassurance – so thank you for that. It did make me feel a little better.

I just wanted to share this because I know the feeling of guilt is so common amongst mums. Even for the littlest of things. We must allow ourselves to accept that it’s OK to make mistakes or to have a break from being mum, read a magazine and use chocolate as bribery! Being a mum can be hard, especially if you’re a stay-at-home mum. The thankless role of a housewife/mum can be very tiring and lonely at times. You’re allowed to have time out, you’re allowed to sit down and scroll on your phone at times or read a book. Children are hard work and it’s OK to say that. We can’t always make the right decisions – especially if you’re sleep-deprived! No matter what your situation is, just remember, there are millions of other mums out there feeling exactly the same. Focus on all of the good things you’ve done for your child/children, focus on the love they feel from you – they don’t care about the little mistakes you make or the fact you’ve let them watch Cbeebies all day. In fact, they’re quite happy watching TV and being given chocolate as bribery! So don’t sweat the small stuff, accept the bad days, but focus on the good ones.

Big love x

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