The mum guilt is real
People always talk about how they respect working mothers. How hard it must be to juggle things around; get the kids to school on time, meet your work deadlines, get the kids home again, take work calls while the kids wrestle each other in the background, do the housework, feed everyone, get everyone to bed, breathe, sleep, then start again. I’m not even going to mention the clubs, the taxiing around, the friends over and the school holidays - they all go without saying. Even for non-working mothers, the juggle is still immense, the days go just as fast.
I’m super lucky that I have a supportive modern husband. We are both self-employed and share the load as much as we can when it comes to the boys. However, even though the jobs might be split down the middle (he does the bins, I do the cooking sort of thing), I feel like when it comes to the emotional load, I bare almost the totality of it.
when it comes to the emotional load, I bare almost the totality of it.
Right now, as I write this, I’m lying in a hotel bed, in London, at 6am, feeling guilt. And why? Because I’m overthinking last nights family crazy golf tournament we had at Puttshack. I know, I sound crazier than the golf itself, but it’s true. Was I supportive enough to my youngest son, who always comes last in our family activities? Should I have let him beat me? Did I praise my eldest son enough, who is a top sportsman and always wins everything? Does he really know how proud I am of him and his achievements?
The fact is, mum guilt gets me many mornings. And some nights. I generally re-live the day before finding holes in my parenting style and kicking myself in the leg.
All the talk about mental health. Kids needing more help. Anxiety and depression. Suicide rates. Boys suffering most. It’s terrifying for parents. Are we doing enough? Will they be okay? Are they hiding anything?
I think I’m a pretty chilled out mum. I let the boys have their freedom to express themselves the way they want to. They generally wear what they want (although yesterday I stopped my seven year old from choosing a PlayStation hoodie in the shop. We don’t even own a PlayStation?!) and we talk about everything a lot. We even write our diaries all together before bed to download the day. To be fair, in the grand scheme of things, these two should be pretty grounded. I am a blooming yoga teacher after all.
But yet the guilt is still there.
Why is it still there?
The school summer holidays are tough. I think they magnify everything by 100% when it comes to parenting.
The school summer holidays are tough. I think they magnify everything by 100% when it comes to parenting. And, so here I am two weeks in feeling magnified. Forking out around £200 a week for sports camps for both of them while we get our work done (which they love!) but feeling that same pang of guilt each morning when I drop them off with their pack-up and suncream. Like I should be spending more time with them at home.
I even bare the guilt of other people too. When they fall out with friends, when their dad tells them off, when they don’t get selected for football trials. I see them all as more failings on my part. Does anyone else feel this too? I’m sure I’m not alone? And if so, how can we lose the guilt? Can we actually lose the guilt?
I think so. Because we’re doing a bloody good job all things considered.
We’re not robotic nannies programmed to raise robotic perfect children. We’re little human beings trying to hustle through life as best we can. We might listen to podcasts on how to raise boys through positive parenting and how not to raise our voices to cause alarm, but seriously sometimes, you just gotta let it out.
Yesterday I posted a quote on my IG wall and it was this:
“Life isn’t as serious as our mind makes it out to be”
And this has to be our saviour quote when it comes to parenting too.
We might make mistakes when it comes to forgetting World Book Day (again! so sorry!!) or running out of sandwich fillings by Thursday and having to use strawberry jam. We might favour one of our kids one day because they have genuinely been the nicest one. We might make an accidental laugh when they make a comedy fall in the park even though they scrape their leg. And, we may need to just hand them over an iPad in a restaurant because they are being unbearably needy and it’s costing us a hundred quid so we want to enjoy the food.
I’m pretty sure these things won’t scar them for life.
Parenting doesn’t have to be so serious. We are all still part kid after all.
Parenting doesn’t have to be so serious. We are all still part kid after all. Trying our best to befriend our kids is the best we can do. As well as have a laugh and joke with them. We try our best to be kind, respectful and grateful so that we lead by example and if we achieve this, then the other stuff is just minor really.
And then, when we’ve had a particularly bad day of shouting like an ogre and feeling major guilt as they fall sleep - we just watch Bad Moms on Netflix and hey, it’s all cured.