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MUM GUILT UNCOVERED

Jul 19, 2020

Nobody tells us when we give birth we take on a whole new level of guilt…the “Mummy Guilt”

You know about mum guilt right? Feeling sick in the stomach or 'bad' for taking time for yourself? Feeling like your kids are not getting enough or 'as much' as others? Feeling that you'll never be enough...oh yeah, that's mum guilt!

Studies have shown that a staggering 78% of mums feel guilty for actions they have taken while “mumming”,  with 68% saying this occurred once or twice a day. The majority of mums attribute ‘not spending enough time with the kids’ as the main cause.  Other causes include ‘not trying enough activities with the kids’ and ‘not being able to afford enough’.

Mummy Guilt is real.  It is something all us mums have inside us and while we can channel the guilt for good (more on that later), if not channeled it has the ability to cripple us!

But where does it come from and WHY is it so prevalent amongst so many mums?

Think about the questions you get asked on a daily/weekly basis...You know the ones…Questions that punch us in our solar plexus and have us second guessing every decision we make for our babes!

  • How’s the guilt?
  • How are you doing? Don’t you miss your little babe so much? Any regrets?
  • We were just so busy this weekend! It was cricket for him, then netball for her...I wish I had time to sit around with the kids like you, how was your weekend?
  • Oh, look at that picture! How could you leave him/her?
  • Man I wish I was able to get a massage. I don't have time for luxury, how do you fit it in?
  • Isn’t it so crazy how the dads never feel guilty?
  • How did you cope putting your child into daycare? I didn't want anyone else raising my baby.

These questions can be truly innocent enough in themselves and often the people asking them are not seeking to heap guilt or shame on anyone. They're just wanting to connect with us. However, what usually happens, is these questions weigh down on so many mums...which manifests as low self esteem...which cultivates a judgmental attitude (towards themselves firstly and then others)...and culminates in lingering mummy guilt.

Sound familiar?

I am here to share with you that it doesn’t have to be this way.  It is OK to put yourself first. You CANNOT heap love and generosity on others when your cup is empty. You can't draw water from an empty well right?

And do you want to know the big secret that the 'guilt' doesn't want you to know? Self-care DOES NOT equal indulgence. Self-care occupies a beautiful middle ground between indulgence and neglect. You will be a better mother for it!

I would love for you to try at least 1 of my easy steps below to step away from the guilt and be imperfectly perfect knowing you’re doing the best you can.  You WILL do better when you KNOW better.

🥰

  1. Recognise that ‘mum guilt’ can be a helpful prompt. Use the guilt to check that you’re getting your priorities right for your child, yourself and your family. It doesn’t always have to be a “bad” thing. Guilt helps us to reflect on our actions and whether they're inline with our integrity.
  2. Remind yourself that there is no such thing as a perfect parent (despite what the well-meaning, do-gooder, 'my child never', parent may say). You know your child. You know your family. You know the intricate dynamics and day-to-day operations. Above all, what your child needs most is your loving attention, a sense of security and time to play and explore. How this looks in practice is up to you and your people. 
  3. Prioritise Self Care. This can be going back to work if that’s what you need, seeing friends or following a passion. Making this time for YOU can recharge your batteries and make you a more calm and patient parent.
  4. Recognise the filter. It's the age of apps and Instagram...don't compare yourself (or your family) to the pictures that pop up in your feed. Remember that it is merely a snapshot in time, confined to a frame. You can't see what is happening outside the frame or what is happening before/after. The snapshot/filter isn't real life!
  5. It’s ok for your kids to not have everything! We live in a culture that glorifies 'busyness' and exhaustion is used as a status symbol. But that doesn't need to be your story. Say NO to extra-curricular activities that don't align with your family's goals. That doesn't make you a bad mum, that makes you the protector of boundaries....and FYI a baddass mum!!
  6. Pay attention to the stories you are telling yourself. There is a HUGE difference between what someone literally says/does and the story we tell ourself about what someone says/does. Always question the story you tell yourself. (If you haven't read any of Brene Brown's work, please do - her work on shame and vulnerability is phenomenal.) 

So, when you feel those annoying, solar plexus crippling twangs of guilt, or whenever you feel too tired to play with the kids, or have to work on a weekend, or simply feel like taking a day off from adulting, REMEMBER you are enough and and are doing an amazing job. 

And if that doesn’t work, grab a glass of wine and immerse yourself in the craziness of motherhood 😘 xx

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