THE BLOG

Mothers' Guilt

28/04/2017 11:20

Who is this mother? I don't want her as a friend and I most certainly didn't invite her to my play dates.

I don't know about you, but I experience mothers' guilt all the time, and I only have one child. Goodness knows how those who have more than one cope.

I hate anyone being left out and I definitely worry about this with my daughter, as I would hate for her to have the feeling of being excluded. Or not trying everything that life has to offer, although let's face it, life sometimes has too much to offer especially for children.

I also have "FOMO" (Fear Of Missing Out). Once again it's connected to my anxiety because I don't want my daughter to miss out on anything.

I get disheartened when my daughter doesn't get invited to the party, is left out of games or misses out something. I feel that guilty anxious knot and I want to fix it.

I have many mummy friends who, just like me, have their own specific area where they battle with guilt. For example I know I have a stay at home mum who thinks she should be working, the working mum who thinks she should be staying at home, the mum who doesn't do organic, the mum who didn't breastfeed, the mum who didn't take part in every baby class possible, the mum who didn't read all the books, and the list goes on.

We all do it. We all beat ourselves up with our imaginary bat saying "What more can I do for my child? Am I doing enough for my child? Should they being doing more classes, socialising, learning a new developmental skill?" and so on.

I remember in the early days trying to get my daughter to do tummy time. I remember thinking: "If I don't give this child at least 10 minutes of tummy time a day that's it, I've failed at being a parent and she will never ever be able to hold her head up".

My child is 4 now and her head control skills are just fine.

I have those days where I'm so tired all I want to do is just have that cheeky power nap for half an hour, but the guilt sets in.

"Have I done enough with my child today? Have we bonded? We haven't ever done baking? Why haven't we? Will this not help her development? Will this be her defining memory of her childhood?"

And the questions continue and the anxiety rises and the worry and guilt set in.

I look back at the last 5 years and think "Really? That's what you were worrying about?"

But at the time it seemed important.

I so wish I could go back and tell myself "Look, it's all going to be fine" because it really is. Honestly, can you tell me what you were worrying about 5 years ago?

I recently had an attack of guilt and anxiety over what's the right thing to do in relation to my child's health, and how far I'd be prepared to go to prevent even the most improbable of situations from occurring. At first when listening to others talking about it, and because I wasn't up to speed on this certain issue, I let my brain over-think and the guilt plus anxiety crept in.

Once that initial fear had subsided though, I was able to look at the situation from my rational viewpoint, and realise that there's a balance and that because I hadn't acted when others may have acted I still could, but in my own time and at my own pace.

Maybe it was because my life is made up of so many things that I just didn't feel that issue was important enough at the time compared to some of the other worries and concerns I was dealing with.

It got me wondering why am I not as bothered as some other mums.

Then I realised that I'm doing what I think is right.

My daughter is happy and healthy. I'm a mum who reads no books on child rearing, and doesn't do any real research into the subject. I might read a few basic points, ask a few friends, but that's the extent of it.

If it looks right and goes right then that's all I can hope for. I hated weaning and we survived on Ella's Kitchen pouches until some sheer miracle proper solid food went in. (I might also add I don't like to cook). I was that mum

But I made the effort. I did what I felt was right for me and my child and that's basically it.

We don't need the mothers' guilt in our lives because as long as we're there for our child / children and what we're doing is for their benefit, then there shouldn't be any guilt.

It's not right that it comes along and tells us what we should or shouldn't be doing because whatever we are doing is right for us and our family.

However, I know that just as Mother Nature is one of my lifelong friends, so is mothers' guilt. So instead of letting it get to me and cause me anxiety, I need to learn to manage its effects. I can't escape it; all I can do it learn the best way to live with it.

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