When I first got pregnant I was chatting to my manager and she put it perfectly. ‘When they hand you that baby, it’s like someone is handing you one big pile of guilt for the rest of your life.’ I didn’t really know what she was talking about until Day 2 in the hospital and the Mum Guilt already set in. And you know…it’s perfectly normal. And it doesn’t end!
At the beginning the mum guilt was having to stop breastfeeding, moving onto feeling like I should be interacting with her every minute she was awake and then feeling guilty when my mum would take her for a few hours so I could have a break and that I would enjoy the break!
I was lucky enough to have friends having babies at exactly the same time as me so I text them one day to see if they were stressing out about stuff like this just as much as me. And they were! Hurrah! It wasn’t just me losing my mind! The more I talked to other mums, the more I found that this was a completely normal thing to be feeling.
She’s now 18 months old and there are still daily occurrences of the dreaded Mum Guilt. I thought I’d share them with you incase anyone is worried that what they’re feeling is abnormal!
1) Spending time with her/not spending enough time with her
As soon as I wake up and hear her chatting away in her cot my first thought is ‘oh i wish she would sleep a little longer’. Then I go and get her from her cot and she’s so happy to see me and wants a cuddle straight away that I instantly feel guilty for my first morning thoughts. This pretty much repeats throughout the day with ‘oh I wish I could just eat breakfast’, ‘oh i wish I could just pee in peace’ and then she’ll do something super cute and lovely and MUM GUILT.
I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby and my husband was working shifts last week so when he had a day off he took her to my mother-in-laws so I could have a break. MUM GUILT! I felt bad for ‘needing’ a break and stood at the door crying as he drove away.
Pregnancy hormones are probably making things worse but on a daily basis I feel like I want a break but then when I get one I feel guilty for having one.
2) Screen Time for her and me
When it’s too cold to go out, I have a lot of household chores to do or I just cant be bothered going out we will stay in and play. My mum guilt is that she has discovered my iPhone and nursery rhymes on YouTube and it will keep her entertained for ages. She especially loves The Little Mermaid and 101 Dalmatians so thats 90 mins that she will just sit and watch the TV. In one way I love it because it gives me some time to cook dinner, clean the house etc but then after I’ve done that chore I feel bad that I haven’t interacted with her more. I especially feel bad if I’ve also just taken 30mins for me to just check emails/facebook/instagram. My hubby says that I do need to try and take some time for myself in the day but I feel guilty when I’m doing it when she’s awake and not in her nap time instead.
When she was first weaning I made everything from scratch; I chopped, I steamed, I pureed everything I could get my hands on. At 18 months I am still batch cooking as much as I can for her but I am a lot more relaxed. MUM GUILT! If I’m giving her a tin of beans for lunch (oh the sugar content!) or I’ve forgotten to defrost something for her dinner I beat myself up so much. It doesn’t bother me to use a pouch when we go out because that is more convenient but I don’t like to use them if I don’t need to. I mainly stick to the Ella’s Kitchen Pouches or the HIPP Organic brands so I know they’re fine. I just feel guilty if I’m not being Mother Earth in the kitchen.
Now I know this is the best thing for her for the social aspect and learning to share. I think it will be brilliant for her especially with us having another baby soon BUT…oh.my.god. When she cries when I leave her it breaks my heart every time. At the beginning she would scream and cry which would hurt. Then she moved onto just having a little tear in her eye with a pouty lip and a sad wave which would make me sob like a baby all the way to work. Then she moved onto being perfectly fine and not even looking back when I dropped her off. I don’t know which was worse.
The mum guilt comes in when I get to work and I sit down to enjoy a cup of coffee and know that I can just have adult communication all day. Enjoy lunch, read my book in peace. Then I feel guilty that I’ve enjoyed it and MUM GUILT!
5) New Baby
It’s not all about the first born! Being pregnant with my 2nd has brought me a ton of MUM GUILT! I’m just going to list them because I think that would be easier!
- I wont have as much time for Sadie
- I wont have as much time for the Number 2 as what I did for Sadie
- I wont have as much love for Number 2 as what I did for Sadie
- I might love Number 2 more than I love Sadie
- Sadie had everything new and Number 2 is getting hand-me-downs
- Breastfeeding didn’t work out for Sadie but might for Number 2
- Sadie will feel pushed out
- Number 2 wont get to go to as many classes as I took Sadie to
- Sadie wont get to go to as many classes as I want to take her to
- I forget I’m pregnant sometimes
- I haven’t eaten as well this pregnancy
- I forget to take my multivitamins…A LOT!
You get the idea. The one thing I am very proud of is that Number 2’s Baby Book is filled in perfectly just like Sadie’s is. I remember my baby sister being fuming that her baby book isn’t as filled in as mine and the poor 3rd child in our family, only her name and weight is filled in. So I was determined that they would be the same!
After writing this I was watching some of my favourite mums on YouTube and one of them was talking about Mum Guilt. She was saying that kids don’t remember having a clean house or gourmet food, they remember the playtimes and the cuddles. So with that constantly going around in my mind I’m going to try and stop beating myself up so much about things not being perfect in the house…and I’ll work on the rest.
One of my other favourite bloggers on YouTube ‘Story of this Life’ also made this video recently and it makes me feel so much better. Yeah…I cried.