Before I had Belle, I’m not sure I knew what guilt was.
I always said you should never regret anything and just live by your life decisions. I’m now a walking contradiction to this saying…
Mummy guilt. It hits you almost immediately after giving birth. No matter how hard you try. No matter how positive and happy you may be. Mum guilt creeps up on you and you’ll never NOT feel ‘guilt’ again.
Guilt comes in many forms now:
1. Giving them a dummy to shut them up.
2. Being a little bit late for a feed because you got stuck in traffic or talking to someone in Homebase.
3. Not having time to tidy the house or do the washing that’s gradually looking more and more like the Eiffel Tower.
4. Praying for the next nap so you can enjoy a much needed coffee or lie down on the sofa.
5. Doing nothing whilst they nap and then instantly regretting it when they wake up.
6. Using Baby TV as a babysitter so you can have a shower.
7. Feeling like you haven’t sung or played with them enough.
8. Looking at yourself in the mirror and comparing yourself to celeb mums all over Instagram. How do they do it?!
9. Feeling like you should be doing more with them out and about every single day. Three classes a week is just not enough.
10. Crying down the phone to your partner who is hard at work.
11. Getting annoyed when they cry and you don’t know what to do to help them.
12. Passing them to Daddy as soon as they get in from work.
13. Leaving them with grandparents and instantly not knowing what to do with all your free time.
14. Worrying when you do leave them that they will be a nightmare and hard work for others.
15. Not napping when they do because you just want to make sure that you hear them when they wake.
16. Poking them in the eye whilst changing them.
17. Not realising they’ve done a poo that’s gone all up their back and then repeating ‘sorry my darling, I should have known’ over and over again.
18. Not being able to breastfeed for as long as you’d planned and instantly feeling the guilt wash over you as you make a bottle up.
19. Watching other mums and thinking they are doing a much better job than you.
20. Comparing their progress to other babies of their age. Why are you not rolling yet?!
And the inevitable…
21. Hitting their head on the car seat whilst trying to get them in it. The cry outburst instantly washes you with shame.
What we often forget is…this is pretty normal. We all go through the ups and the downs.
Every mum will agree that the list goes on and on, and you will always think ‘I could have done better’ or ‘maybe I should have tried that first’. The problem is, the guilt doesn’t simply wash off. The guilt is there every single day.
Motherhood is a mental and physical test. It’s a beautiful and challenging test, but a test none the less.
Guilt is something we have to embrace and live with. It won’t just disappear. Being a mummy is all about striving for the best for your children. We are not perfect. Nobody is. Not even that model mummy you follow on Instagram.
The next time you are faced with guilt, here’s a tip…
Smile. It just means you love your family and want the absolute best for them.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda – are the last words of a fool after all!
Embrace the mummy guilt and keep doing your best!
Live for those smiles.