Mum guilt. We all suffer it, mine hits me with a good wallop in the evenings usually. Just as I sit down to relax the little niggles start to creep in:
“Was I a good mum today?” “I shouldn’t have shouted earlier.” “Lily really should eat more veg, I’m going to start planning her meals better.” “Is she getting enough social engagement with other kids? Maybe I should start taking her to more groups.”
I could go on and on to be honest.
Mum guilt- what a b***h.
But what exactly is “Mum guilt”, what causes it?
I asked Joe, my husband, if he feels anything that could be classed as Dad guilt.
“What is it?” he replied.
“Well, it’s when for example I put Lily to bed and then I suddenly start feeling really down and like I’m a rubbish mum and a rubbish person and am doing everything wrong!”
“No.” Was his answer.
You see he is secure in his parenting skills, and so he should be he is a fantastic dad. He doesn’t sit there whilst watching Eastenders obsessing over his day, and how he could have done it better, because what is the point? He’s a very ‘straight thinking’ man my hubby, and this sort of self torture is just not what he’s about. I am envious.
I am a worrier, anxious by nature I obsess and analyse EVERYTHING. But is this just a Mum thing? Do some Dads get it too? I’m sure they do. But why do we get it anyway?
My theory is this:
We constantly feel like failures because we are trying to be the BEST at EVERYTHING.
I am a mum. I am a wife. I live in a house that needs to be clean and tidy. I work at a job that I need to be successful in. I am a “blogger” and would like to make it a success. I am a daughter. I am a friend. I need to be fit and healthy. I need to lose weight. I need to look “nice” with a good appearance.
I want to be the best at every single one of those things. Do I feel like I’m the best? No. Not at a single one, if I’m really honest. I feel like I am a constant failure because I am trying to juggle all these balls and be perfect at them, when it is not physically possible to always do it without dropping a couple. I need to learn that it is OK to drop a couple of balls sometimes.
We are good parents, but we keep feeling like we’re doing it all wrong because our expectations on ourselves are too high.
Now Joe has just as much to juggle of course. But I believe that he is more at ease with not being the best in every aspect. He knows that he does what he can and that’s that. No analysing, no stressing, or at least most the time anyway.
We need to stop beating ourselves up all the time and give ourselves a break. You notice when I made the list of the things I am, that the things that meant looking after me, the fitness and health came last. That is typical of the way we are treating ourselves. Well I am going to start giving mum guilt a good old slap and start looking after myself as well. I’m going to start trying to believe in myself more, including my parenting capabilities. I am certain I will still suffer sometimes, but really what is the point of mum guilt? Nine times out of ten the thing we are obsessing and worrying about has been and gone and we are just mulling it over too much.
I am a good mum. I am a good wife. My house is clean and tidy. I am a hard worker. I am enjoying blogging. I am a good daughter. I am a good friend.
Now just to look after me a bit more as well.
See ya mum guilt.