Do you have it? We hear the phrase all the time, with mums all over social media sharing their guilt over something they think they’ve not done right. Or how they’ve been a bad mum. It’s expected that every mum should feel guilty. It’s getting so prevalent, if you’re a guilt free mum, you may feel guilty for not feeling mum guilt.
Mum guilt can be for anything
Not making your child’s sports day/open morning/concert
Buying a cake or costume instead of making them
Shouting at your child
Not potty training them by 2 years old
Not having play dates
Feeding them too much junk food.
Playing on your phone too much
Letting them watch too much television because you need to do the housework.
When you see everyone talking about mum guilt and how we all have it, how does it make you feel?
Got mum guilt?
You might feel solidarity. Relief that it’s ‘not just you’. That you’re normal. Maybe that you shouldn’t feel so bad. That feeling guilty about mum stuff and things you’ve done, or not done, means that maybe you’re not a bad mum because you care.
Don’t feel guilty?
If you’re like me and don’t get mum guilt, maybe you’re also impacted by the phrase. Maybe you feel like you’re bad because you don’t feel guilty. Think that you have no heart. Or that maybe you don’t have a big enough bond with your child.
A straw poll of mums suggested that only 3 out of 100 say they never feel mum guilt!
I want to change this whole mum guilt thing. In my eyes it’s not healthy, and most of the time mums who worry, probably don’t need to.A straw poll of mums suggested that only 3 out of 100 say they never feel mum guilt! Click To Tweet
I don’t have mum guilt. But I also shouldn’t feel shame that I don’t. I’m a good mum and I don’t need other people to tell me I am (or not). And I shouldn’t be made to feel like a bad mum, because of the assumption that guilt free mums don’t care.
There’s plenty of my parenting experience that I could have felt guilty about. But why dont I feel guilty?
I let N do his own toilet training after my failed attempts. It didn’t happen until he was 3 years 3 months. He was dry at night by 2.5 years, but refused to do it in the day time. So I gave up and left it to him. It was the best thing ever. Only 2 accidents over 2 days then nothing, and he’s been fine ever since day and night. Much quicker and easier than most children who get forced to toilet train early because of nurseries or parents aiming to get them trained by a certain age.
Full time childcare
N was in pretty much full time childcare (day nursery, family and nursery school) from just under 12 months old. He’s always found it easy to settle into new places, is well socialised and it meant I could get my life back by working.
He started baby led weaning before he was 6 months old (5 ½ months). N could control spoons, could sit up at 4 months, and loved food. Apart from his first taste of mince being a bit rich for him (at 6.5 months), we had no problems..
Bottle fed baby
I did try breastfeeding in hospital, but 3 days in his blood sugar was low and bottles were tried successfully. We didn’t look back. I tried expressing, it was a disaster. Bottle feeding worked for us, and so far N’s really healthy, rarely ill and isn’t obese. Our choice worked for us.
Full time working mum
I’m not made to be a stay at home mum, mine is the stable salary, and it’s teaching N that women can work (none of the other women in the family work out of the home/off the farm). I need to be out working with people. It makes me a happier person and I use my brain. Plus he’s at school all day. If I didn’t, he wouldn’t have such a comfortable no hassle life, because we don’t have to worry about money and I can offer him the same experiences my mum gave us.
I spend a lot of time blogging and don’t always drop everything to play with him. I’ve always treated N like the person he is, not a baby, and he needs to learn that sometimes people can’t just drop everything. As he’s an only child N has also learnt to play on his own and think of his own things to do when he’s bored. Yes, sometimes he watches (far too much) tv, but that’s well balanced by playing outside and being out on the farm. I also make time for homework, building lego and playing games outside with him. Plus we go out and about on days out and holidays.
I’m sure there are lots of other things that I could feel guilty about, but I don’t.
We need to take ownership for the decisions we make. We make them every day, and parenting includes a lot of decisions. There will be reasons why you parent the way you do.
1, Led by the child which can be great as long as you’re still seen as a parent and are still in control of things when needed.
2, Learned parenting from your parents. My mum was fairly strict compared to our friends’ parents, but we had respect for that and I’d like to think I’ve learnt good parenting from her.
3, Self confidence in your ability. At 34 I was an ‘older’ mum, I’d worked, experienced working with different people, moved around, studied. I was confident in myself that I could adapt, even though I’d never looked after a child before, let alone been keen on babies. But being confident in myself and knowing that I had support in friends and family if needed, I knew we’d cope with having a baby. And that I’d be able to make the right decisions for us.
How and why you should throw away that mum guilt
(your life won’t go to pot and your children will be fine)
1, You’ll feel like something has lifted and you can concentrate on the positive things
2, Change the things that made you feel guilty
3, You’ll feel more confident in the decisions you make and you’ll be more convincing to your children
4, You’ll be standing up for your abilities by saying that you know you’re a good mum
5, If you struggle to get rid of the nagging feelings, be like children with worry eaters or ‘worry bags’. Write down the guilty feelings and let the rubbish bag gobble them up to get rid
6, You’ll spend less time worrying. That means more time for ‘me time’ or to spend enjoying time with the children
7, Get help in for the things you feel bad about. Think you don’t clean enough, get a cleaner or give the children chores to do. Think you can’t cook, do a course, ask a friend to give you recipe tips, or use online videos of cooking walk throughs.
So hopefully you now feel like it is possible to get rid of some of the mum guilt. There are mums out there who don’t feel guilty, and you could be one too.
Do you get caught up with mum guilt? What are your tips for shaking it off?
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