Mummy Guilt

I believe being a Mum and guilt go hand in hand. I feel guilty about everything. From what my children eat, to how I spend my time with them and don’t get me started on being a working Mummy, guilty, guilty, guilty!

Every morning I wake and feel guilty, I lack the enthusiasm and often I don’t have the energy to make a healthy, nutritious breakfast for my children. They appear quite happy with yogurt, toast, porridge and fruit. Actually, those options do sound pretty healthy, right? The yogurt has sugar in though, the toppings on the toast are often jam and honey, so actually not as nutritious as I would like it. But, I do my best. I’m lucky my son will eat pretty eat anything I put in front of him but my three year old, well that’s a different story.

I have seen or heard of things on social media or in cookbooks and thought “Oh that looks good, I should make that for the kids”, but more often than not, I don’t. See, I have every intention of experimenting and making new things for them to try, but sometimes I can’t be bothered or as the end of the day approaches I have run out of time. The thought was there right? But of course I feel guilty because yet again, I have failed to bake and cook with and for my kids.

I work as a registered nurse and have done since before I had my children. I can honestly say I enjoy my job and feel fortunate to say so. I have been lucky enough to have had a year’s maternity leave when I had my daughter and son. I returned to work at the end of April this year after having my son the previous year and of course I felt guilty. I told myself many times, “I have to return to work, we need the money”, “I’ve had a year at home”, and “Work will be good for me”. No matter how many times I remind myself of this, I still feel guilty. I think I should be home at with my children and not putting them into day care or preschool. I continuously compare myself to other Mums and feel my kids miss out because I do chose to work part-time.

I have friends who are stay-at-home Mums and can I just say I think each and every one of you is amazing. Being a stay-at-home Mum is just not for me. I acknowledge this and have talked about it with my husband, my parents and a few friends but it doesn’t make me feel any better. The guilt is still there. When I am at work, the guilt subsides for a while, I enjoy being called by my name instead of “Mummy, Mummy, Mummy”, and I like the social side of working. I look forward to my days off and I’m constantly thinking of how to spend the time with the kids. Usually when my day/s rolls around, I feel like time to myself and of course guilty I’m not doing more or enjoying my children.

I was diagnosed with depression this year and I have experienced a couple of, shall we say rough periods at times. When I am low, my kids suffer. I don’t want to be a Mum to them and constantly want to hide away so I don’t have to talk or do anything for them. I want to resign my role of being a Mother. It is a horrid feeling not wanting to be a Mum or be around my children, but when I am low I cannot do anything else apart from attempt to get through the day. The guilt is not as prominent during that time, but it certainly kicks in after my mood begins to lift. Feeling guilty for feeling the way I felt, but powerless to do anything about it.

I love my children very much, and my own Mum assures me feeling guilty is just part of motherhood and is perfectly, dare I say it ‘normal’. Well, I think the feeling of guilt sucks! I try to remind myself constantly and my husband reminds me, I am doing the best job I can. My kids are happy, loved, fed and have the comfort of a nice home and clothes to wear, so why the guilt? I judge myself and compare myself to other mothers constantly. But don’t we all, is this a normal part of being a mother?

As Mothers we have to be kind to ourselves, and definitely make time that is for us. I know it isn’t always easy to do that. Even though the guilty feeling of spending time without our children and perhaps enjoying childless time with our partner, I feel this guilt is ok. When I am having a bit of time to myself, I think “it’s ok, the kids are happy”. I look forward to when it is time to collect them from daycare/preschool, their faces light up when they see me. Besides time for me equals happy Mummy and all kids deserve to have a happy Mummy who looks after herself, even with the guilt sitting on her shoulder.