Mum guilt, if you’re a mum, you’ve had mum guilt at some point. You may even have it regularly – let’s be real about this, it’s a thing that has blown up in recent years because we (I, in any case) spend far too much time comparing ourselves to other mum’s on social media, at the school gates, during a PTA, at soft play or on someone’s follow Friday post.
A friend of mine called me earlier this week to say she’d been called into school about her child’s behaviour. They were acting out and she felt tremendously guilty. She felt like she’d failed as a mother. Let me be clear here, she is a bloody fantastic mother, but seriously, she tore herself a new one over this. I went away and thought about the times I’ve been criticised or not even criticised as such, but spoken to about Ciara’s tantrums and or her lack of sharing and I’ve felt like the worst person on the planet. I’ve gone on social media to make myself feel better and been faced with everyone gushing about their perfect kids or at least that’s what I’ve taken from it and ended up feeling worse. I’ve been penalised for being ‘real’ for admitting when my child acts like a knob. People have said ‘no wonder if you call your child a knob, they’ll act like one.’ FYI I don’t sit there calling my three year old a knob to her face, but sometimes people, she acts like a spawn of Satan, so she gets the finger when she’s not looking, and sometimes….. she’s cute and shit. If you complain about your child’s behaviour or chastise them, you are branded an awful mother, and if you don’t, you are still an awful mother as you must not even notice or worse, don’t care!
It’s funny because when I thought about this in more depth I thought about our mothers and grandmothers. There weren’t parenting books and baby led weaning, or the Ferber Method. There also weren’t tens of thousands of mums on social media talking about being one. (I’m aware I’m that person too) What I’m getting at is, they had nothing to compare it to accept real life experiences from friends and family. There was hardly even any reality TV when I was a kid. None of this teen mum stuff or one born every minute (which I love by the way) but we all sit there and have a little ‘ooh I wouldn’t of done it like that’ moment when watching. Don’t get me wrong, there are just as many mums taking a stand against mum shaming on social media as there are ‘perfect’ parents, but where does this end.
If your kid acts up these days it’s because they have something wrong with them, or there’s something wrong with you, or you’re neglecting them, smothering them, missing something, and so on!
This is a time when if you kiss your child on the lips and photograph it, you’re branded a paedophile. Has the world gone absolutely bat shit?
My mum always gave me a big smacker before bed, she wasn’t/isn’t a paedophile. The only difference is, back then she didn’t photograph it and post it on social media. We seldom take pictures of our babies cute little bums or let them waltz around starkers because let’s face it, there are some sick people in the world and we’re quite rightly protecting our kids, I wouldn’t ever condone anything that put them at risk, but come the fuck on people, can you not give your child a kiss or a cuddle in public anymore? Loving your child and showing affection in a positive way does not make you a monster.
My daughter doesn’t eat any veg, or fruit, accept in the form of juice. We have tried EVERYTHING! Her eating has gotten worse the older she’s got and it’s a real fight in our house some nights to get her to eat pizza and chips, let alone home made vegetable ragu. I can assure you, it’s not for lack of effort on our part as parents, whether you believe my assurances is another matter.
When Ciara’s tired and in an ‘I want Daddy only’ mood – I wonder to myself if this is because I’m a terrible mother. Does she hate me? What am I doing wrong?
When she forgets to use her ‘kind hands’ at preschool I wonder why it’s my child that plays up, what did I do?
I know I’ll go away after this post feeling liberated for all of five minutes for the rant I’ve allowed myself, and then I’ll get back to wondering why I can’t do better or be better. Why nobody looks at me as an idol, why I’m not up on a pedestal of perfect parenting.
BUT when I look at my daughter each day and see her happy and healthy little face, when she randomly comes and plants a kiss on my cheek or puts her little hand in mine, I’m going to try and see myself from her perspective. I’m going to try and love myself a little more how she loves me, and I’m going to give myself a pat on the back for every day we finish a meal, every time I refrain from referring to her as a little knob, and every time she’s kind. Fuck it I may even get myself a reward chart because I am a good mum. Deep down I know this because my perfect girl is so loved, and guilt, guilt is an emotion I render as useless as a chocolate teapot.
10 things people without kids say to Mum’s that they need to STOP!
1: When I have children I’ll _______ The likelihood is that whatever _______ is, you wont.
2: I’d never co sleep.
When you’ve been up for 15 hours straight with a colicky baby, you’ll do almost anything to make them sleep so you can close your eyes too.
3: I know having kids is hard but everyone does it.
You haven’t done it yet Julie, so why not pipe down.
4: I would never let my kid do that! If we’re talking about eating a happy meal or an ice cream before dinner or even staying up past their bedtime, sometimes Diane, you will.
5: If my kid doesn’t eat their dinner they won’t get offered anything else.
I didn’t believe in giving your kids coco pops for tea or letting them eat off of the floor either, but when they’ve turned their nose up at 5 different meals and found a wotsit behind the sofa that they actually WANT to eat, trust me Wendy, you’ll believe in the power of orange corn puffs.
6: I’m going to establish a routine from day one. NEWS FLASH babies are human beings, that means they have their own brain, and do pretty much what the hell they like. But good luck with setting those ground rules by day 3 Keisha.
7: My kid would never get away with that!!
Ok darling. Keep me posted when they draw all over the walls in pen, punch another child for no reason or eat a tampon, feel free to give your advice on a suitable punishment.
8: All kids are the same.
NO, No they’re not.
9: I wouldn’t do that if I was you. Great thanks for that Rebecca.
Please feel free NOT to give me advice on what you wouldn’t do.
10: You look tired. YES, Yes Stacey, I am so fucking tired, my tired is tired, thanks for pointing that out.
Motherhood is hard. Mums are tired, and hormonal, and sensitive and everything in between. Please be mindful of this when giving out unwanted and it most cases unnecessary, advice.
Try saying ‘How are you feeling?’ in place of you look tired.
Or ‘Can I do anything to help?’ In place of I wouldn’t do that if I were you.
Lastly, you could just keep quiet and provide an ear to listen.
Anyone else’s kid pushing their proverbial buttons at the moment? Sometimes I have to look at pictures like this one to remind myself she’s not a constant terror, and does have a cute side. Breakfast this morning was a hit, waffles and banana at the farm shop. We went there pre our planned walk at Greyfield Woods. Get to the woods and she has a meltdown worthy of an Oscar and refuses to walk, get down, put her coat on etc… some lady dog walker even stopped to ask her what was wrong as I swear she thought Shaun and I were dragging her into the woods kicking and screaming like some fucked up up Myra Hindley copycats! 😩 When asked what was wrong, Ciara’s reply was ‘I don’t like it down’ of course she was referring to not liking getting down and walking and wanted Daddy to carry her, but seriously, to a stranger I’m sure that sounded alarmingly odd! We asked her what she did want then, and she said ‘Mummy’s house’ meaning she wanted to go home, again, probably making said stranger consider if I even was her mummy! I just wanted to post this to let the kind if a little nosey, passerby know that our child is in fact ours and is now loving life again eating a paw patrol cake bar and watching some shit on YouTube so you can sleep easy tonight knowing we’re not murdering predators! Kids eh! FTLOG 😩😩🤯
First published on Selfish Mother
Strands of toilet roll scatter the area around you, paw patrol is on its 5th loop and there’s a whiney noise coming from the other end of the sofa.
That’s the toddler, the one who’s been up 3 nights in a row with a hacking cough and a snotty nose.
She’s been up 3 nights in a row sneezing and insists you say ‘bless you’ after every single one, even the 3am ones.
You’ve not slept for those 3 nights and you’re pissed that your hubby seems to be getting all the sleep, so this time, you send him to bed with the snotty toddler instead. Now all you can hear are his snores in between her coughs, and it sounds like a dysfunctional metal band without any real tune. The vocals coming through as the occasional whimper from the toddler.
You know tomorrow’s going to be much of the same. After all, it’s winter and everyone knows toddlers are renowned germ carriers, spreading them like Chinese whispers amongst their little friends, occasionally passing them on to their parents too.
You wish, as the snotty toddler kicks you in the back for the millionth time, that she’d just go sleep. For the love of god, go to fucking sleep.
Tomorrow is going to be worse actually, not the same as you’d first thought. Worse because, you’ll be on your 4th day without sleep by then. Whilst you curl yourself around your baby wishing them to sleep you also take in a deep breath, breathe in their scent, and remind yourself that one day they mightn’t need you to stroke their hair when they feel unwell, they might start to like sleeping in their own bed instead of yours, and that’s when you accept, even with their bogeys under your fingernails, that sleepless nights are, for all intents and purposes, actually magical moments that you may not look back on with total fondness, but you’ll look back on nonetheless. Nothing lasts forever. Hang in there Mama’s.