Ditching plans with a friend, calling in sick at work, forgetting a family member's birthday, gorging on four bags of crisps when you're supposed to be on a diet (just me?!). The list goes on. Definitions of 'guilt' in the dictionary include 'remorseful awareness of having done something wrong or violating a rule' and a 'bothered conscience'. These feelings are something we are all familiar with (unless you are a sociopath or just mean). A conscience makes us human.
I believe as parents we are programmed to feel more guilt towards our children, it's important so we can love and raise our precious creations well. So, although it can be positive, the 'mum guilt' I have experienced in the past and still sometimes do now is RIDICULOUS. I know for a fact it's not just me, 'mum guilt' is at an all time high. Parenting is nowadays discussed much more freely and publicly, especially since the up rise of social media platforms - which is fantastic for people like myself who love to talk about being a mum and listen to/read what others say - but it can also have its major downfalls. In the 'good ol' days' when you had a kid, you just simply GOT ON WITH IT.
There is a hell of a lot of pressure on us mamas nowadays and social media has a lot to do with it. We all see the 'perfect mums' on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest - updating us on well behaved/advanced little William, showing off their homemade cookies and crafts, beautifully created lunch boxes full of healthy snacks in the shape of animals and pictures of extravagant days out or holidays (says me who has just blogged all about my family holiday!).
Being exposed to constant reminders that we might not be doing enough for our kids makes us feel terribly guilty. Sometimes it's forgotten that what we see online are just 'show reels', life isn't always that perfect behind the scenes, little William has toddler tantrums and ate fish fingers for dinner last night too.
When you have a baby it means constant choices and decisions to make, from what kind of birth you have, if you breastfeed, co-sleep to later making decisions regarding how you discipline your child and where they go to school. As everyone is completely different, this leaves room for judgement, which can lead to worrying we are doing the right thing. Sometimes situations are out of our control, such as an emergency C-section, not bonding straight away with your baby or having to go back to work early to support the family - and yes you guessed it... GUILT GUILT GUILT!
When my son, Lucas, was a baby, I was young, naïve and frankly didn't have a clue what I was doing. I felt guilty for EVERYTHING. I was constantly overwhelmed with irrational worry that I wasn't the 'best', just because I fed him a baby jar or didn't play with him enough that day. It absolutely consumed me.
With experience and more confidence in myself, bringing up baby number two, Ava, has been rather different. I have learnt to 'chill out', cut myself some serious slack and not be as bothered by what others say and do. I am definitely a happier, more relaxed mum to my children.
I may not bake often or have a creative bone in my body, it's a rare occasion I get out the paint and play doh and I can't afford yearly trips to Disneyworld, but I make sure to remind myself that I'm doing a good job. Lucas and Ava are given heaps of affection, kept clean and well-dressed, fed with (mostly) home-cooked healthy food, taught manners and are always put first. Surely these are the things that really matter?
I'm not an expert by any means and always learning, but my advice to new mummys or anybody not feeling good enough, - please don't compare yourself to anyone else (especially not Pinterest Susan) and carry on doing the best you can for you and your family. Most 'mum guilt' is normal and will unfortunately never go away, but we should all try to stop sweating the small stuff and give ourselves the credit we deserve.