I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, “I’m such a bad mum ….”.
I will give you some examples, all from just this past week. And thankyou friends for unwittingly giving me fodder for this blog post. You know who you are!
- “I am a such a bad mum, I need a coffee more than I need to sit through assembly”
- “I’m such a bad mum, I am leaving the District Aths before my childs final race”
- “I’m such a bad mum, I wasn’t watching my daughter closely enough and she fell off the trampoline”
Of course these mothers are not bad mums, and deep down I’m pretty sure they all know that. The first mum needed a coffee to combat the effects of a night shift that lasted from 11pm to 7am, home just in time to get the kids up and ready for school. The second mum had swapped shifts to be at her childs Aths day and had been there from 9am til 2pm and thus forfeited her day off. And the final mum….God forbid she took her eyes off her happily playing child and wasnt quick enough to catch them before they feel awkwardly on the trampoline!
Similiarly we are constantly hearing about the inner turmoils and challenges of being a working or stay at home mum. The working mum feels guilt because their child is in childcare all day. The stay at home mum feels guilt for wanting to have lunch on their own, or for wanting to listen to their own music in the car (anything to get the Spongebobs Squarepants theme song out of their head)! We feel guilty for getting ‘take away’ again…because there is no food in the house and the thought of going to the supermarket at 7pm on the way home from after school activities is way to excrutiating. We feel guilty for buying something for one child and not for their sibling. We feel guilty for making our child go to a family gathering instead of a friends party. We feel guilty when we cant be bothered listening to a prep child trying to read their reader. We feel guilty when our child is late for his first footy training session. We feel guilty when we realise we had one too many wines when we were unknowingly pregnant. We feel guilty if we are unable to breastfeed. We feel guilty if we are, but we want to give it up.
So I know I am not alone in this….and I am sure you could all think of many things you have felt guilty about when it comes to being a parent. I have always said that guilt is a wasted emotion. It is wasteful because it doesnt really achieve or resolve anything. But what I am also coming to realise is that a little bit of guilt may not always be a bad thing. As long as we keep it manageable, we should come to see guilt as another indicator that we are doing a great job. Maybe a little bit of guilt helps to keep us on our toes and allow us to recognise that the very fact that we are questioning our practises means that we are obviously concerned enough about our parenting progress. If we a aware and scrutinsing, then we are also appraising our dedication to doing the best job possible. So instead of wallowing in the guilt, maybe we should just accept it and embrace it as part of the package.
So the very fact that one feels guilty…in fact means that they really have nothing to be guilty about at all.
By the way, if you are wondering about the relevance of the photo… little 1 year old was happily devouring a tub of $8 dip. I felt guilty about the wasteful way he scooped and smeared and thus wanted to take it away, but felt too guilty to spoil his fun!
What have you felt guilt about recently? Does it really matter?