To all those suffering with 'mum guilts'

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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.

I am not your enemy – why is motherhood a battle?

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I have a four month old son. I am a mother.

This post may be somewhat contentious, it is not my intention but nonetheless it may be. The reason being? I am writing about motherhood and little did I know until four months ago what a minefield that is.

Pre motherhood I was oblivious and I am glad, I came into this arena wholly unprepared for the battle it would be.

Many of you think I am talking about the trial and tribulations of raising a child, the lack of sleep, the nappies, the concerns over health, development, growth etc… I am not. I am talking about other mothers.

Before I begin, l must stress that if you are a mother – I salute you. You are amazing, you do great and wonderful things every single day and you are doing an awesome job and I mean it sincerely.

I want to tell you something though…

I am not your enemy.

When I walk through the door of a play group, baby group, coffee shop, church or shop, I am not there to compete with you. I am not there to make you feel inadequate, I am not there for you to measure yourself against and feel smug about because you feel you are better.

I am like you.

I am learning as I go along. I had to drag myself into the shower this morning and make attempts to look presentable so that I could leave the house. I am afraid of making mistakes, of being too grumpy, too much, too little, over-involved, under involved.

I take a while to re engage in the world of adult conversation at times and so I may seem stand offish but I don’t mean it. I just need those extra five minutes to warm up. You know exactly what I am talking about.

My natural conversation topics are now baby related. So when I talk about my son’s sleeping habits it isn’t an attempt to seem as though I have a perfect child and have it all together but simply an attempt at opening a conversation and finding a common ground.

Can I ask why as mothers we look at each other with such suspicion? Why if your child is older than mine do you not deem me worth speaking to? Why do we often like to put each other down or be scathing about the little things we celebrate?

Can I ask you what you love about being a mother? Can I ask you why you don’t talk to me about that? Why don’t you tell me about all the things I have to look forward to rather than running down what I enjoy.

I am not your enemy.

If you breast feed, formula feed, have a strict routine, go with flow, bath your child every night, bath them every few days, stay at home, go to work, post selfies, keep your photos private, are part of an NCT group or not, have a child who is under a year or over a year old…

I am like you.

We are all mothers – why make it a battle?