I heard a quote today which made me think:
“Guilt over the little things usually means a bigger issue is troubling you” (source unknown).
This made me consider my situation as a Mum and my constant feelings of guilt, as I know so many Mums can relate.
We talk about “Mum-guilt” as though it is our oxygen. As though it is part and parcel of becoming a Mum. I know I certainly feel guilty every time I leave her to do anything.
I feel guilty when I go to work. I feel guilty when I do anything for myself or for us as a couple.
It is like the feeling never ends. It is completely and utterly draining…as if we don’t have enough to worry about.
But what is it that we really feel guilty about? And why is it such a normal part of our vocabulary as Mums?
It would be so, so easy as parents to stay in and not do anything else. To ‘just’ be ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’, and yet it wouldn’t be easier. In fact it would be so much harder in the end.
So, if we feel guilty about the seemingly smaller things? What is the bigger issue that we are battling with?
Firstly, I think it is my need to do EVERYTHING for my daughter myself. Otherwise I feel like I am failing as a Mum.
When Isabelle was first born I had a compulsion to do it all myself and I ended up breaking down in tears with exhaustion because I needed to look after myself more, in order to look after my baby.
I have learnt to accept help, especially from Ryan, as caring for our daughter is half his responsibility and he is so, so good at it but this still doesn’t come without guilt.
If Ryan were to get up in the night with her instead of me, or get up on a Sunday morning with her (which is our routine), I am still overcome with guilt that I spend the rest of the day trying to make up for it.
I have had to learn that it is okay for others to help look after Isabelle, healthy in fact, for both of us… but I still have some way to go.
I believe, after a lot of consideration as to why I am so hard on myself, is not necessarily guilt because I leave her but because I enjoy my time when I do.
That was actually really hard to type…
The guilt comes from feeling like being at work is a break. I have never worked so hard since becoming a Mum and when I’m in the office I can have a hot cup of coffee, go to the loo undisturbed, have a lunch break. No one at work whines, pulls my hair, cries at me or needs their nappies changed. Even if I do work with some serious man babies…
Because of this, the guilt at leaving her, especially for a reason which isn’t work, is overwhelming.
I have to work but I don’t have to leave her otherwise.
This weekend I have left her with Grandparents and her Dad to get my nails done, go wedding dress shopping and have a date night. It all fell at once.
I feel horrendous about it and I feel even worse because I enjoyed all of those activities.
I have to tell myself A LOT that it is normal to feel slightly guilty but all Mums need to be nicer and kinder to themselves.
I, like all Mums, work so bloody hard.
It is good to have a break, have time to yourself, and make sure that you do enjoy it!
None of it makes you a bad Mum.