As Guilty Mother herself, I thought I should tackle this topic head on. There is a funny old saying that always struck a chord with me. Some say that when they pull the placenta out, they shove guilt in. As soon as I write that down, I always get an instant unwanted visual.
I started writing the Guilty Mother blog in January 2016 as a way to shake off the mum guilt in the most positive way I could. By no means did I think that mum guilt would go away (unfortunately not), but I do find that writing and talking about it with other likeminded mums really helps. Two years on and I feel like I am managing ‘guilt’ in a more positive way and I fell, I’m thriving a bit more as an individual too.
It’s half term week and unfortunately we didn’t have any plans, so I kept working straight through. I’m conscious that half term week for me can sometimes feel like peak guilt season. I’m working and the kids are muddling through the week without me (with childcare of course!). According to recent research, mothers today feel guilt more so than ever before. Maybe we are just juggling more than ever before? Greater external and internal pressures: social-media, as well as wildly high expectations from teachers, other mothers, and above all, ourselves. The guilt thread continues.
According to a survey by babycare product company NUK, 87 per cent of mothers feel guilty at some point, with 21 per cent feeling this way most or all of the time. From whether we are feeding our children the right foods to whether they have had too much screen time, to having a pang of guilt after we snapped at them. We all feel it. Guilt, as we know it is now a mismatch between our expectations and reality. Last year, I had an interesting debate with fellow parenting blogger, John Adams (www.dadbloguk.com) when we discussed the topic of mum guilt vs. dad guilt.
Watch the YouTube video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94Dvj33__eM
70 per cent of women work in the UK and whether you decided or had to return to work or not, we are all busy. More so than ever before. How did that happen? If there’s one thing that gives me comfort, it is knowing that many women around the world feel ‘guilt’ in the same way as we do. I used to feel guilty for wanting an hour free to pop to the gym or have some alone time. In fact, I have now realised that my own health and wellbeing is important to the health and wellbeing of our children, so it’s really not selfish and perhaps I should feel guilty about it.
Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of celebrities out there who also wanted to share their own feelings of mum guilt! I mean, if Mary Berry feels it too, then that gives me some comfort!
‘It’s a huge juggling act when you’re a working mother and looking after your family. Millions and millions of women around the world are doing this every day, but it’s not easy and, yes, you feel guilty every time you walk out of the door to go to work.’
‘I suffered terribly from “working mother guilt.” I remember being desperate to get home. The only time I ever asked to have off work was when my daughter Rosie was two and playing May in the nativity. My radio bosses said I couldn’t go but I took it off anyway and have never regretted it.’
‘Some days, I think that everything is balanced and great. Then I feel a sense of guilt, worry and panic. But, fundamentally, I know I’ve got to go to work. It’s such a big part of my identity. I don’t know how not to do it.’
‘I was a working mum when there weren’t many working mums. It wasn’t easy, but I’m very glad I did. When my children were young, I did feel very guilty, though. So I reckon I was not the best mum. I enjoy my children far more now than when they were young.’
So, on days when you feel a bit rubbish or mum guilt starts to slip in, just remember that Guilty Mother is here to remind you that it’s OK. If you haven’t already, create a great support network around you as it is worth its weight in gold. Have supportive and positive people around you that you can call on when you need lifting up.
Accept the crazy, wonderful life this is and embrace the parenting imperfections. I love being a little like Carol from the Brittas Empire, it’s part of the fun! Who remembers Carol?