To the mothers reading this, I want you to know that you don’t need to feel guilty.
We all do it to ourselves, we all allow those thoughts and feelings to build up and overwhelm us – usually at 2am and it leads to a restless night.
The ‘mum guilts’ I have named them. The I should have, shouldn’t have, could have etc…about any situation to do with our children.
Mine tend to focus around photos and momentos. I should have had casts made of his hands and feet. I should have started a memory scrapbook by now, I should have taken more photos.
I had a revelation this evening that all my ‘should haves’ have nothing to do with my son. None of those things are detrimental to him. They are about me and my needs.
What he needs from me is for me to focus on interacting and enjoying him. He doesn’t need a lens stuck in his face every five minutes. I have very few pictures of me as a child – it doesn’t make me feel deprived or affect my memories of my childhood. I don’t hold my parents accountable demanding why they didn’t take more photos!
I tie myself up in knots about it and I don’t know why I can’t be rational but I’m going to make more of an effort to try.
I get ‘mum guilts’ when he is awake too long and gets over tired, when he wakes in the night and I feel shattered in the morning and am grumpy, when I don’t live up to the expectations I have set myself as to what a mother should be.
I hesitate about going out to Zumba or for a meal if he is not settled before I go.
A week ago I went out to see a comedian and he cried for the first 45 minutes I was out but then slept until I was home. I battled and won against the ‘mum guilts’ then. He may have cried if I had been there anyway. He was fine when he woke up – he wasn’t holding grudges!
That’s the thing, that’s what I want you to remember. Ultimately your child wants to be loved. You are doing that every single day. You are loving them in the best way that you can and they don’t hold you even a fraction as accountable as you hold yourself.
So, whatever your ‘mum guilts’ are about. Whatever triggers them in you – let it go.
You are a mother but you are not guilty.
Guilt is such an ugly, all consuming thing and frankly you don’t have time for it. You are far too busy loving your child.
So tonight, get some sleep while you can, don’t re assess the whole day picking on your faults but instead remember the smiles and laughter that were just for you, remember the hugs, the holding of your hand and know your little one sleeps feeling cherished by you.
You are loved. You are not guilty.