We all have it. I’d guess a lot of women start feeling the mummy guilt during pregnancy – How many beers did they have not knowing they were pregnant?,forbidden treats they can’t resist, sleeping on the wrong side, a few too many lbs gained.
I’ve had some serious mummy guilt over the years. Our 1st child Poppy was born with a genetic condition. She wasn’t really in the medical system until 15 months – why hadn’t we noticed sooner?? Did I do something during the pregnancy?? Were we having a 2nd child too soon? Why do I keep losing my temper with a teething baby?? Why can’t I leave the house without 1 or 2 kids crying about it?? Etc etc.
It doesn’t go away but it does change and there are definitely ways to squash it, even if it is momentarily 😉
Firstly, allow breaks where you can.
I use the gym a few days a week and during summer break the kids go in the creche. They are not overly keen but the time I get to myself does wonders for my mental well being! Working out reduces my stress levels. The afternoons are then all about the kids.
If I find myself with a few hours kid free I’ll generally run errands, clean, fold laundry but every few weeks I treat myself.
Today is a prime example. I went to the beach with some mummy friends whilst the kids were at Vacation Bible School. Got 3 hours of peace and a nice mimosa (bucks fizz!)
This was a break for me but also time with my girlfriends which all mummy’s need!
Choose your battles. At 1 point I had 3 children 4 and under. I felt like I was shouting all day long, being referee for 3 little beings. I would cry nightly once the children were asleep about how guilty I felt for shouting when 1 threw a dummy (pacifier) out the pram or a bowl of cereal over the highchair. I was exhausted. I had to figure a way of not getting myself so run down.
I started to choose my battles. For example if 1 kid was having a tantrum about the fact I’d gave them grapes not apples I’d stand firm. Let them have their tantrum and not shout or distract or molly coddle. My days actually became calmer because I wasn’t reacting constantly- less telling off, less guilt.
Allow for time with your partner. I/ we were bad at this in the first few years of parenting. Various reasons but we basically didn’t do enough us time. Being alone with your partner allows an opportunity to discuss the children. I was often surprised to find we shared the same guilt! Also I’d be reassured that I wasn’t a terrible mummy and no he wasn’t bothered if I forgot to bath them for 2 nights 😂
Alternatively you can decide to not discuss children at all and allow yourself that break you both so need!
If you are a working mummy, don’t feel bad about it! I loved going to work but at the end of each maternity leave i would get that feeling of dread and the guilt. However we chose well with our childcare options and all 3 kids had great experiences. I got to use the bathroom without 3 sets of eyes watching me and I’d get a whole hour to eat a sandwich!
I used to work with lone parents. Either looking voluntarily for work or because they were required to look by the government. I always told them what an amazing example they would be setting for their children. Going out earning their own money and being independent.
Sometimes you have to just apologise and explain. My kids are at the ages now (almost 5, 8 & 9) where if I lose my s*$t they look at me like I’m mental 😀 I take a minute to calm down then apologise and speak to them about why I got angry and how they can stop that from happening again, not that they often chose to do that! It helps me feel less guilty and I see it helping at least 1 of the 3 understand me and my mummy role a little better.
It’s fine to have your own guilty pleasure. Your trash tv shows,facebook overload, blogs, pinterest everyone needs an escape from reality occasionally (or daily 😉)
When all this fails I console myself with the fact that they won’t remember much before the age of around 5 so all that shouting I may have done, accidents I didn’t stop from happening, outings I didn’t take them on – it won’t be remembered anyway!!