Mum guilt: it’s a term that gets thrown around the parenting community a lot, but what is it? Why do mothers suffer from guilt, even if they’re doing nothing wrong? Here are some clues about mum guilt, and how you can be free from it.
Picture this: Your kid wants to play in the backyard, but it’s all paved, and they fall over. You’re automatically hit with guilt because you didn’t lay down grass or faux turf from MyDeal when they were born. This guilt isn’t unwarranted, but even if you did lay down grass, you’d still put the blame on yourself when your kid falls over anyway. That’s mum guilt. The feeling that you have failed as a parent.
What is Mum Guilt?
Rachel Allan offers an explanation. “Mummy guilt is when we are not spending focused time with our children. Often it is just in mums head, however, it can be a very sad emotion. When it does bite we really need to let it go - think of the bigger picture of why we are doing what we do. Importantly we do need to create balance in our world so we can be present with our children when we need to be.” Find out more about Rachel Allan by following her on Facebook.
Mother’s guilt can be brought on by anything, from giving them McDonald’s for lunch to forgetting a dress up day at school. Triggered by the feeling that you’re not being the perfect parent or that you’re not raising your child the right way, the guilt can begin to eat away at you.
Jolene Ejmont from Wanderlust Storytellers shares her experience with mummy guilt. “My mummy-guilt comes in the form of having to juggle my time between being a mum and running a business from home. I am a full-time family travel blogger, I love what I do, but it can be so hard to focus on business matters when you have kids around. My eldest two are old enough to voice their opinion about how much time I spend behind a computer. More often than not, I feel so guilty for not being able to allocate more time towards simply being with them, and often the guilt makes me feel like I am a 'bad' mum. I am grateful that my two eldest kids are able to participate in healthy discussion, and it took a few afternoons of sitting down around a table and simply talking to them and explaining to them that this is my 'job'. I could have a different job that would take me away from home, I would see them even less. I wouldn't be able to pick them up from school. I explained to them that this is the better choice, and even though I might be working, in reality, I am spending more time with them in comparison to having a full-time job elsewhere. (plus we get to go on awesome family trips multiple times a year!) When my kids understood why I was working so hard, they let go of all the attacking. Which in effect helped to make me feel less guilty.” Find out more about Wanderlust Storytelling by following them on Facebook and Instagram.
So, How Can You Overcome The Guilt?
First things first; get real. You’re not Superman, you’re a human being. Cliche as it sounds, everyone makes mistakes (everyone has those days). You’re allowed to make mistakes as a parent, because that’s how you learn, how you grow. You're not alone. This is a feeling that plagues every mother, at some point; you're doing your best, and you should focus on the things you're doing right, not wrong.
Catherine Ngo from The Millennial Mum shares her advice for overcoming mum guilt.
"1. Whenever I feel guilty, I try to overcome it by thinking about what’s best for my family. Only I would know what’s best for my family – not some passive aggressive stranger in the park or café.
2. I repeat positive affirmations to myself such as “I’m an awesome mum and I’m always doing the best I can”.
3. I forgive myself if I stuff up. Hey, no one’s perfect and I know I’m a better mum if I’m kind to myself." Find out more about the Millennial Mum by following her on Facebook and Instagram.
You should also try to compromise. Your kid wants a dog, but you honestly can’t trust them to try and take care of one. The guilt begins to eat away at you, because your kid’s little face is just begging for a dog. Rather than giving in, why not compromise and get something smaller, like a guinea pig? Offering the option of a small pet teaches responsibility, without the long-term commitment. You can keep the pet outside in a sturdy animal hutch, and let your kids enjoy the pet.
Sara from A1U shares her advice for overcoming mum guilt. “As a ‘guilty mum’, who read every parenting book she could lay her hands on, I tell myself (and others), that I did the best I could with the knowledge and skills I had.” Find out more about A1U by following them on Facebook.
Mum guilt is common, and it doesn’t go away overnight. Take things slowly, treat yourself fairly and remember that you’re trying your best, and that you’re human. Relax, enjoy the moment and remember that you’re not the only one.