The constant niggling at the back of your mind, the tears in the bathroom, the regret at the end of the day… ‘Mum Guilt’ is a very real thing – and trust me, it’s not fun! I never thought, before I had Archie, that it was actually true that parents (mums especially I think) are always worrying that they aren’t doing enough, aren’t providing their children with everything they deserve, and aren’t as good as they could be… but it undoubtedly is.
It’s crazy how much I can find to worry about – big or small – when it comes to being the best Mama to Archie that I can possibly be. God forbid the day he falls over and gets an actual bump or cut… I don’t even want to think about it! I’ve had days where I have left him for a while – whether it be for a driving lesson, so he can spend some time with other family members or just to give me some time to get things done around the house – and felt like the worst parent in the world for doing so. It’s totally not rational to feel this way as we (especially in the first few months) spend every other hour of the day and night with our little ones. They barely even notice we’re gone when we leave them anyway! But because I do spend so much of my time with Archie – mostly on our own – I feel like I don’t know how to be without him in a sense. I am lost without my little buddy, no matter how much he’s made me want to rip my hair out that day… I worry that no one else knows how to settle him, doesn’t know how he likes to be held, his favourite toy, how to make him laugh – but in actual fact, I would never give him to anybody that I didn’t trust 100%, so there’s no reason for my stress!
Multiple times I have even found myself bawling my eyes out once Archie is in bed because I feel that I didn’t spend enough time with him during the day… He maybe slept too much that I lost a few hours with him (even though every nap is a complete blessing these days), or his Dad was home all day and did more of the parenting than I did… It’s a constant niggling that makes you feel like you’ve done something wrong that creates this ‘Mum Guilt’. Even having a lazy day leaves me feeling bad – if I am exhausted from a sleepless night, or full of the cold and groggy like I have been this week and leave Archie to entertain himself for a while so I can get a cuppa and just collapse onto the sofa for a few minutes – I feel like I need to make up for lost time.
I’ve spent hours on end also feeling guilty because I can’t afford to buy Archie lots of new toys or clothes – but at the end of the day, he is none the wiser and would probably be happy dressed in a sleepsuit all day with his little monkey toy and a rattle… I still feel bad that I don’t drive so I can’t take him into town to baby classes or to see other little ones – but we do get out at least twice and week and when I do get my license or we move into the town, he’ll have a field day with all the new activities he’ll be doing!
Chris and I have given our little monkey to his Auntie for the night a small number of times, and although I do feel guilty and upset without him (and spend all my time without him looking at my videos and pictures of him…), sometimes it’s important to have some time not being a Mummy and to just get a full night’s sleep and some peace and quiet. It’s a 24/7 job that takes up every bit of energy and patience that you have – and it’s impossible to keep that up without any break! Even though it’s not all fun and games having a little monkey (and trust me – it isn’t) I am so used to being with him that I doubt i’ll ever get used to not seeing him attached to my hip all the time. I’m going away at the end of this month for a couple of nights – the longest I’ve ever been without him – and i’m SO nervous, even though Chris will have everything under control. It’ll be a great weekend away and I’ll have some time to relax, have fun and recharge my batteries…but I already can’t wait to get back home to my boys.
Mum Guilt is a totally normal thing – we created these perfect, smiley little bundles and it’s not wrong or silly to feel like you never want them to leave your sight. We’ve only got ourselves to blame for making them so cute after all… It’s more a case of getting used to the feeling rather than trying to get rid of it. My own Mum says she still feels guilty for things now – and I’ve moved out and started my own family! Archie will always know that I love him, and I highly doubt he’ll even have a second thought about half the things I will feel guilty about it years to come. Even though it’s not always easy, it’s important to have some ‘Me Time’ and take care of yourself as much as possible – it’s true that a happy mummy makes a happy baby! I’ll be uploading a post next week all about how I like to pamper and relax, and ways to just unwind and make myself feel more human so share some ideas with you all if you’re in desperate need of a wind-down, chill out night.