Mum guilt, it’s something that EVERY mum suffers with, but are we our own worst enemy’s?
It’s Sunday night, just gone 8 o’clock and I’m counting my lucky stars that Sienna has gone to bed and straight to sleep. When these little mini humans enter our world, we find it very hard to then continue life as it once was, as our own person, without mum guilt kicking in every five minutes.
The constant 50 / 50 of making sure the kids are happy, vs that glimmer of hope that you might one day enjoy some time for yourself.
The journey for us having Sienna was not a straightforward one, as it so often isn’t nowadays. We’re leaving it later in life, we have careers, long term partners, and then decide to shake it all up and finally settle down with the one we want to spend those precious moments with. This added struggle for us, that ended up with 3 rounds of IVF before finally conceiving our precious girl, make that mum guilt wear me down just that little bit easier. The constant ‘I wanted her so much, so why should I really want her to go to bed now and sleep’ is a question that subconsciously crosses my mind regularly. And it’s not just the sleep thing, it’s anything, a night away, dinner with hubby, every time I leave her, this little Sienna shaped cherub sits in my mind and tells me what an awful mother I am for wanting some space and some peace and quiet.
Now any mum knows, that when our little munchkins do finally hit the hay, and you can creep out of the bedroom and look at their angelic sleeping faces, that relaxation is rarely on the cards for us. We need to make the packed lunch for school, make sure all of the books are in the book bag, the uniform has been ironed, and so on. And on the rare occasion we say, ‘sod it, I’m sitting and watching Britain’s Got Talent with a glad of wine’ we end up running through the list of unachieved things in our head, and stress about the fact that we’re not doing them. Relaxing? I don’t think so.
Where has the time gone?
So why, do we spend so much of our life battling with this mum guilt of wanting time. Time we had in abundance before they arrived. Time we had to sit in the bath and chat to a friend for hours on end, time we had to lay in on Sunday morning with hubby and watch coach trip (a guilty pleasure of mine), and never did we feel like we should be doing something else. We felt we deserved our happiness, we worked hard, so we deserved that time to do whatever made us happy!
Yet now, we are busier, more hard-working, and definitely more deserving, but we absolutely do not allow ourselves that right to feel that way. We spend our lives questioning our decisions, working ourselves into the ground, and feeling bad for not spending the time with the kids that we think we should be. However, do we ever take time to step back and see the world from the other side, I know I don’t.
Actually, if we did take a day off, left the chores and calls and emails and really relaxed, just once in a while, maybe we would be better versions of ourselves. Less stressed, less irritable, and more ready to face the daily grind.
Or maybe its more realistic that we just drink more wine, and try and forget the invisible guilt cherub that tells you you’re crap!
I for one am trying, yet I find it so hard. With running my own photography business, writing regular blogs for both myself and other businesses, being a housewife and a mum, all whilst trying to stay sane. I promise myself weekly, that I will take a day, and in the 6 short hours between drop off and pickup, I’ll go to the gym, I’ll have a massage, I’ll meet a friend for lunch, or wander around the shops… on my own…..
I even write it in my diary. But does it ever happen? No, of course not, the little guilt cherub kicks in, as my eyes open in the morning, and it kicks me hard. It reminds me of all of the emails I need to reply to, and the images that need editing and so on. And so, off I pop, laptop open by 9.05, and I busy bee myself away, running on empty, and usually a diet coke and a packet of chocolate digestives, until I run out of the door at 2.45pm to beat the other mummies to the closest parking space outside the school gates.
So as of today, I’m not doing it anymore. I love my daughter more than anything in the world, and I love my job, but should I get to feel like me every now and then, damn right, should I feel bad about it, no.
I’m going to allow myself a day a week (or even half a day to start with) just to have some me time. To lay on the sofa with a cuppa and watch Greys Anatomy and re-runs of Say Yes To The Dress without beating myself up about it. And just maybe when I do the school run, I’ll arrive with a little spring in my step.
But I won’t be starting this week, this week I’m just too busy