When I was pregnant, I read lots of ‘what to expect’ books (side note: thank you Kaz Cooke for writing ‘Up The Duff’ and making me laugh at the weirdness of my pregnant body).
During my pregnancy, I was totally across what was happening week by week. Of course, like every Mum, once I gave birth to my first baby, I realised I had no idea what to expect at all!
But in all those books, not once did they mention that once you became a Mum you put on a cloak of guilt – and don’t take it off!
And I’m not talking about about retail guilt. I don’t recall feeling guilty that I hadn’t bought a certain type of pram, bottle, etc, etc – although I was a subscriber to ‘Choice’ and trawled through their safety reports! Ha Ha.
The guilt I struggle with is totally self-inflicted, all in the name of trying to be a good Mum!
I feel guilty when:
I go to work
I feel guilty that we are always so rushed in the morning to get to school/daycare/ work, when all the kids want to do is play with me.
I feel guilty when I work late and miss out on time with my kids.
I also feel guilty when I can’t do more for my daughter at school. I can’t go on school excursions, I can’t do any reading with her class, and I can’t be on any committees. She is always asking me to do more because most of her little friends have Mums who don’t work at all.
And then there are those mornings when I feel guilty about feeling happy and relieved that I get to go to work and leave the kids at school or daycare because they have been feral and annoying!
I’m too tired
Sometimes at the end of the day, when my little boy is regaling me with a monologue on the complexities of ‘Lego Chima’, my mind wanders and I totally tune out because I am bone-tired.
And then he catches me out and I feel bad because he’s been waiting all day to talk to me – but I can’t fake any interest!
I feel guilty when I am so tired that I am a grumpy Mummy and seem to spend the whole day/evening nagging and yelling at the kids.
I feel guilty when I am so tired on the weekends, that I encourage the kids to watch lots of TV so I can get some time out and read the papers in peace!
Guilt. It’s always there.
I feel guilty for being a bad Mum; I feel guilty for being a slack Mum; I feel guilty for being an over indulgent Mum; I feel guilty for needing a break from being a Mum!