“Put your phone down mummy”. Those words still cut through me. I was awash with mothers guilt. I felt ashamed and guilty that I was trying to hide the fact that I was responding to emails rather than watching Orlando put on a little show for me. We hadn’t seen each other all day, and yet somehow I still couldn’t dedicate five minutes to my son. He’s only 2.5 years old and yet he could see straight through me.
I thought to myself “I’m a shit mum”.
The mothers guilt that I felt that day, and seem to feel every day, is a constant battle.
Embracing the Mothers Guilt
The only way that I can think of to eliminate this feeling in the pit of my stomach, is to be a perfect mum, a perfect employee, a perfect cleaner, a perfect cook, a perfect wife, and the list goes on. The reality is that none of us are perfect, and whilst I know that, I always seem to feel guilty that I’m not.
It feels like no matter what I am dedicating my time to – something suffers.
If I put the kids in front of the TV so I can cook dinner in peace – I feel guilty.
When I’m exhausted from a rough night’s sleep, a big day at work and so give the kids baked beans on toast for dinner – I feel guilty.
When I put Netflix on after dinner because I’m buggered, don’t feel like chatting to hubby – I feel guilty.
When I go to my kids friend’s birthday party and see they have a jumping castle, fancy food, hired entertainment, I compare it to my own children’s birthday parties – I feel guilty.
Does it ever go away? I don’t think so. And nor do I want it to go away, because that would mean my care factor has turned to zero when it comes to the happiness of my family.
If you can’t beat it – embrace it!
At the end of the day, I know I do the best I can. Us mums need to be kind to ourselves, if we allow ourselves to slip into a deep dark place, we aren’t going to be much help to anyone.
When I feel that guilt in the pit of my stomach, I try to just embrace it and remind myself that I am a good mum. I’ve found it helps to try to reframe my thinking:
If the kids watch TV whilst I’m cooking dinner – they are lucky they have a mum who tries to cook them healthy nutritious meals.
If the kids get baked beans on toast once in a while because I’m too tired to cook – lucky them! It’s their favourite and get plenty of extra nutrients at other times in the week.
If hubby doesn’t get much chit chat some evenings because I just feel like chilling in front of Netflix – he will understand. We all need our own down time.
If my kids go to a birthday party with all the bells and whistles – how fun! That doesn’t mean they won’t have a special and memorable birthday in the way we like to celebrate.
If you do find mothers guilt has gotten the better of you, and you feel yourself slipping into a dark place – don’t suffer in silence. Speak to someone, a friend, family member, I have found other mums are great listeners as it is always comforting to know others feel the same. If you find yourself slipping further into that dark place – please seek professional help.
To all of the mums out there feeling guilty, as I do, every single day, remind yourself – you a great mum, doing the best you can, and your family love you dearly for it. And remember – you aren’t alone! I just love this post the Imperfect Mummy has on ‘9 shocking confessions why I’m an imperfect mummy’.
p.s – stumped for dinner ideas next week? Check out my go-to list of recipe websites, this list is my bible when it comes to meal planning!
Rachel Cassidy is the author of this article and the founder of Little Peeps Eats. She is a passionate food blogger and brand ambassador, but her most important job is being a mum! Little Peeps Eats helps families take the stress out of mealtimes by providing healthy, kid approved recipes, as well as fussy eating tips and tricks. Their website hosts a directory of nutritionists, resources and mealtime products to ensure that you have everything you need at your fingertips when it comes to feeding your family.