We all know that karma is a bitch. But there’s a bigger bitch around who’s rarely spoken of but often makes her presence known – Mum Guilt.
Old lady Mum Guilt rocks up at the drop of a hat, rearing her ugly head everywhere.
Think you can do the school or daycare drop off untouched by her heavy hand? Think again. Your child picks that particular day to cry the house down as soon as they step through the front door, ensuring the rest of your day is full of concern. Particularly if, like me, you work from home so you TECHNICALLY don’t have to put them in (but goddamn it, don’t I deserve some semblance of a career and a teeny tiny break?).
If Mum Guilt was an actual real-life person, she’d look like The Trunchbull from the popular Roald Dahl kids’ book Matilda – all huge, hairy, scary, wielding heavy objects, scary footsteps and chin hairs.
She creeps up in the middle of the night, making you wonder whether you could and should be doing more for your little one, or making you stress about their routine and why they’re not sleeping so great.
She’s stomping on you in the early days, when you have a crying newborn and have next to no idea what to do, causing you to reach for ALL the baby books and try to follow them to the letter.
She’s making bitchy comments in your head on those days you just HAVE to put their favourite TV show on repeat just to get some peace and quiet for just a few minutes. Or when you decide to have another baby and you spend months worrying about how your first born will take it, whether you’re doing the right thing by them and if they’ll feel unloved despite your best efforts…
She makes the smallest niggling worry into a monstrous issue, ever present on occasions such as when you have to give them a dummy in public just so they stop screaming on a particularly cranky toddler day, or when you don’t have time or energy to cook and end up giving them takeaway/frozen/food out of a jar…
And she’s at her most prevalent when it comes to the formula versus boob debate – never mind the stares of other mums if you pull out formula in a public place, good old Mum Guilt has done a lot of the shaming internally already.
Mum Guilt is like that old school friend you really don’t like but you just can’t shake, or a creepy male relative or colleague making inappropriate comments and repeatedly getting into your head.
But, after many months of feeling bad about some of these things, I’ve finally worked out how to silence my Mum Guilt beast. It’s something a good friend once told me:
"You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get through."
I repeatedly think this to myself, almost mantra-like – because it really is all about survival! Life is too short to be worried about what other people will think about your child having a dummy in public, or stressing that they’ve eaten bad food.
Living life to the full with your little one, while keeping your sanity, is much more important than ‘by the book’ parenting.
No one knows what your life is like unless they’ve walked a mile in your shoes, even that damn Trunchbull. So back off, Mum Guilt, I’ve totally got this.
What did you feel Mum Guilt over today?
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