(And Dad guilt!)
The other weekend me and Daz were having a really tough time with baby J. There had been practically non-stop moaning, whinging, crying and general unhappiness. Baby J had been in a pretty bad mood too 🤣🤣
So my sister, Laura, took Baby J off to her house for a few hours so that me and Daz could rest. And so began the mum guilt.
We’d had a week of Baby J refusing naps during the day, not wanting to go down to sleep in the evenings, waking during the night (which he hasn’t really done for a long time!) and waking early in the mornings. Like, 5:30 am early. I didn’t even know that 5:30 in the morning even existed.
We’d tried everything that normally worked, but this time nothing was working. On Sunday, when he’d woken at the crack of dawn we had bought him into our bed to see if he would sleep for a bit longer, but nope, he was not having any of it! So all 3 of us traipsed downstairs. Did you know that CBeebies doesn’t start until 6 am?
By this point, me and Daz were broken people. I do not cope well on lack of sleep (who does?) and I had been pushed to the limit. I sent a begging message out to the family, please help!! Thankfully, my big sister came to the rescue. She said that she would pick Baby J up at 12, give him dinner and bring him back around 5. Lovely. So what was stopping me from saying yes please?
What’s The Problem?
Me and Daz needed a bit of break. I know, I know, I can hear you say it now, ‘You don’t get breaks when you have children’. I was feeling proper mum guilt because I know you don’t get breaks when you have children. Why should you? But after Daz was head-butted by Baby J and I got a slap in the face, I made up my mind. Yes please lovely big sister, please pick up the devil child!
I felt awful. We’d spent nearly 3 years trying to have a baby and now here I was needing a few hours break. I felt so guilty but it wasn’t like I was palming my child off to some stranger or putting him up for adoption! He was going to my sister who has 3 children of her own who are extremely well cared for (if a little crazy and feral!!!) He was going to be safe (apart from being licked to death by Pixie, the dog).
Me and Daz had a lovely few hours to ourselves. We took a walk to the shop, had some lunch then I took a well-needed nap. But I felt guilty the whole time. Guilty because I needed those few hours away from Baby J. And guilty because I felt great just having those few hours just to be Lisa again. And obviously this got me to thinking about mum guilt.
Why Do We Feel Mum Guilt?
Mum guilt can strike at any time and in so many different ways. Maybe you’re feeling guilty that you fed your child chicken nuggets again, or maybe you lost your temper and shouted, or you can’t afford to buy them that new toy because the money just wouldn’t stretch this month.
Let me just say, yes, maybe that are having chicken nuggets again, but at least they are getting a hot meal (or, you know, tepid once they actually get round to actually eating it 🙄). Maybe you did shout because you lost your temper, just apologise to your child and explain why you shouted. You’re only human! Who doesn’t get annoyed when your child has repeatedly switched on the Xbox when you have asked them not to 25,678 times. You can’t afford to buy them a new toy – its more important that they have food on the table and clothes on their back. I bet some of your kids best memories are from when you played on the floor with them and built a den, or when you had a kick about in the park or had a picnic in the garden. Time is so much more valuable than money.
Not everyone, but some people on social media can paint such a pretty picture which can make you feel like a failure when things aren’t perfect. Then trying to live up to those unrealistic expectations only makes you feel worse and more guilty that you’re not ‘perfect’. And this leads me on to my next point…..
We Are Only Human
I think that we are forgetting something though when we try and be the perfect parent. We are only human. We are perfect and flawed in our own unique ways, just like our children are. How can you realistically expect to never get angry or annoyed, or to have everything together all of the time? It’s not possible! (And if you are a perfect parent please do leave me a comment and let me know your secrets!)
We all have good days and bad days, and we are entitled to that. So don’t feel guilty about being human. We are learning and growing every day, just like our children are. Just when you think you have this parenting malarkey down, they go and completely change. We have to adapt to them, and sometimes we are going to get it wrong. As long as you are trying, that’s all that matters.
Stop being so hard on yourself. Being a parent is hard, so don’t ever feel bad about asking for help and don’t feel guilty about needing a break sometimes. We are all entitled to some ‘me’ time.