Mum Guilt - A Cornish Mum
Life,  Parenting

Mum Guilt

 
I have a confession to make…I am not a ‘perfect’ mum, I try my hardest but like every other mum on the planet, it is impossible for me to be perfect at being a mum. So why then, am I so hard on myself for not being a perfect mum, and for making mistakes? I think because like every other mum, from the moment they were born I was hit by ‘mum guilt’.

 

This is when you suddenly feel guilty for things that usually aren’t your fault, and often isn’t something to feel guilty about, but you just do, as you love them so much you want life to be perfect for them. For example, with my first son I tried my hardest but just couldn’t produce enough breast milk and so I had to bottle feed him…instant mum guilt when I saw adverts everywhere saying ‘breast is best’, and had breastfeeding friends who seemed to find it all so easy!

 

With my second son I was so determined not to be a ‘failure’ by not breastfeeding and persevered despite severe supply issues, to the point where my baby’s urine came out in dry powdery lumps, which I did not know was even possible.┬áLuckily my milk did arrive on the very day that this started to happen, but did I feel triumphant and like a ‘perfect’ Mum?

 

Well no I mostly felt hungry all the time, had ridiculously sore nipples, and felt guilty I had almost made him unwell from my want to be ‘perfect’. In hindsight as a more ‘mature’ person (I was only 21 with my first and 23) and with the benefit of a lot more years of parenting I can look back and think that it does not matter how I fed either of my children so long as they were fed and loved.

 

The problem is that others feed mum guilt, from the mum’s who look down on you for not using all organic products and bottle feeding (or breast in some cases), to the media where every mum on television is portrayed as perfect and in control, and the various ways of doing anything with or for your child is debated to a ridiculous degree, everyone seems to have an opinion on how to be the perfect parent!

 

Even random strangers feel they can tell you in public, where you are supposedly going wrong, and family members all have different opinions on your parenting which they don’t always sensibly keep to themselves!

 

NO ONE can be a perfect parent, it really is not a concept that exists in reality. We are all just trying to do our best, and we make mistakes, we take shortcuts (anyone else’s child ever have McDonald’s two nights in a row because there’s no time with after school activities to cook, or sneakily taken a school top back out of the dirty washing to re-iron as you forgot to put a white load on the day before and they’ll never notice?), but the fact that we try to be good parents should be enough for us.

 

I think we as parents often wear ourselves out trying to be perfect, when all our children really want is us to be there when they need us, and to let them feel like we need them.

 

I’m writing this post today with no draft, just an outpouring of what is in my head at the moment so I apologise if I’m waffling, as believe me my head is a waffling type of place. I’ve sat down to write this today after embarrassing myself talking to one of the other school mum’s on the phone, and crying and sobbing like a fool.

 

The reason for my tears? My youngest had a learning assembly today, which is basically a mini assembly all the classes do every year to show what they have been learning, and I missed it.

 

They changed the day and I forgot to change my diary, and he would have looked up at the parents where I always usually am and seen that I wasn’t there. Putting this into perspective, I am often the only parent to watch his class swim, I am certainly the only parent to stand in the rain in winter to watch all of his football practice, whilst the more sensible parents hide in their cars for the first half, and I help out on school trips when I can (but I am not slating those who have to work and can’t before anyone gets on their high horse!).

 

Basically I am always there for both of my sons, and today I wasn’t, and it left me in floods of guilty tears. A complete over reaction I know, but the idea of letting either of my children down in any way literally hurts. I never want to be a disappointment to them, and mum guilt kicks in whenever I feel I may have. I think really that even though there is no ‘perfect’ parent, I want them to believe I am.

 

Luckily today the lovely mum Sarah who I spoke to told me that Harley was smiling at the assembly, and when it came to the end bit when the children go over and see their parents for a while he was happily running around and laughing, so although I feel guilty I have now managed to stop the ridiculous tears.

 

I’m also going to football practice after school today armed with new Match Attax cards, as only pretending to be perfect parents need to resort to bribery and sucking up sometimes!

 

Writing this has helped me to put today into perspective more, and now I can wipe away the mascara off my cheeks….here’s to not being perfect and accepting it!

 

Stevie x

 

If you’d like to read some more of my ‘imperfect’ parenting please do check out Are you a salad cream parent?




49 Comments

  • Caroline

    oh try not to feel guilty, I wrote a post about mummy guilt last week, its so hard isn’t it. I am always tough on myself too. H came home with a letter for an Easter morning activity next week, but I have an appointment, its only at the hair dresser but I can’t get another appointment before our holiday, and I can’t decide what to do, I am always there for everything I can be at, I can’t often go to trips because of the baby needing childcare, but I would if I could, I think I will just have to cancel my hair until after the holiday.

  • acornishmum

    I’m sure we all put too much pressure on ourselves! I’m ok now that I know he is okay, and feel embarrassed and ridiculous for crying over something so silly!

    Stevie x

  • Pickinguptoys

    Aww,I really feel this post,I always feel guilty for everything too even if I do something as awful as letting them have a biscuit for breakfast- Don’t tell my dentist!I breastfed mine but found I was constantly being told to “get them on the bottle” as I was “turning them into clingy whingers” but to me as long as they’re fed who cares how it’s done!You’re doing a fab job Mama,keep it up xx

  • Dianne

    I hear you – the guilt is always there and the imperfections always outsmart the perfections. Hope you feeling a bit better now. My son’s favourite saying was build a bridge when I went on about whatever made me feel guilty – that does not even take away the guilt at the imperfections

  • acornishmum

    Thank you lovely :) Everyone always has an opinion don’t they?! When I had my eldest I was quite shy and was more easily pushed around (completely different story these days!) so I ended up doing stuff in ways to please others with mine when they were small, but as the years went on and I listened to others less I’ve become a whole lot happier, confident and I feel a better parent for it!

    Stevie xx

  • Dot Makes 4

    Please don’t feel guilty hun. I know what you mean though. I think that guilt comes with the job!
    When I had my son, I was 20 and was given “advice” by so many people and you feel that you have to comply to be a good mum and feel guilty when you can’t.
    As the years have gone on, but especially after having my daughter a few months ago I have become happier in my choices on what I think is best for them.
    As long as you have the time for them, which you always do, you’re doing it right :)
    You are a fab mum :)
    Laura xx

  • acornishmum

    I am thanks hon, but I won’t feel completely okay until I’ve seen him and know he’s not been upset at all! I suppose the guilt makes us all better parents in a way as it shows we want the best for them like any parent should really!

    Stevie x

  • acornishmum

    Aw thank you lovely! Everyone has been so lovely you’re all going to set me off again in a moment. I can’t even remember the last tie I cried before today, hoping not to make a habit of it. I’m usually a positive person but anything to do with my boys hits me hard naturally.

    Stevie xx

  • Suburban Mum

    Oh bless you honey – mum guilt is definitely always there and doesn’t go away. Don’t be upset, you’re boys know how much you love them and they are very lucky to have you xxxx

  • acornishmum

    Thank you Maria! I’ll be a lot happier once I’ve seen him. It’s football tonight and I have to stand and watch for an hur with a bad back and hip that’ll be my ‘punishment’ ;) Really wasn’t the best start to the day!

    Stevie xxx

  • Eimear

    The motherhood guilt is totally natural unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a moment in the day I don’t feel guilty about something, I can only imagine the anguish you felt not being there today but at least you know he’s a well rounded little boy that is confident in the fact that Mummy loves him so he doesn’t need to be sad you’re not there for assembly because you’ll be there for football!

  • acornishmum

    Hopefully I’m not too far into his bad books! Though I had better get a move on and get offline before I am late for football, and really ruin the poor boys day!!

    Stevie x

  • Brigitte Ravenscroft

    Please don’t beat yourself up with guilt. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. From what I read on your blog, you are a fab loving mum. Speaking as someone years older, I know that children grow up remembering all the great times and forget quickly about the odd lapse of memory. When being all nostalgic with my eldest the other day and reminded him about the time I forgot to watch him when he did his 50m swimming badge, he had no idea what I was talking about. Being the perfect parent doesn’t exsist. Being a loving, caring parent is what it’s all about. xx

  • acornishmum

    Thank you Brigitte!! Everyone made me feel a bit better today, and then when I met him at football practice this afternoon, the first thing he said to me was “I’m really sorry for not reminding you it was today”, he was feeling bad for forgetting to tell me this morning bless him! He really is the sweetest little man. He still had some match attax cards though, as a treat and his brother to be fair!

    Stevie xx

  • Lisa@intotheglade

    Ah Stevie, I am a bit further down the parenting line I think. It happens to everyone and if anyone says it’s never happened to them – I think they might be telling fibs. It has certainly happened to me more than once! I think you have highlighted the problem perfectly, other mothers judging and the way the media always depicts motherhood! You seem like a great mum and I am delighted that you have found your mojo again chick X

  • acornishmum

    Thanks lovely! Luckily my little man is understanding, and I felt better as soon as I saw him. Sure there will be other ‘guilty’ moments, but I know I just have to accept I’m doing my best and that’s all any parent can do! Having such lovely reassuring blogger friends helps too ;)

    Stevie xx

  • Helen Wills (@ActuallyBlog)

    I’ve totally done that “Oh no I let you down but I’m going to over-react when I make it up to you” thing. I’ve even done it when they haven’t noticed I did anything wrong! Mum guilt is the worst kind!

  • Lindsay @ Newcastle Family Life

    aw lovely we all get mum guilt and i am sure all the things we beat are self up about are the things are children will forget . I had no idea at all that urine could come out as dry powder, you learn something new everyday! And yep to the two takeaways in a row for tea that use to happen about four nights a week when i was working full time xx

  • acornishmum

    Thanks hon :) I think you’re right, we’ve just spent some time tonight looking at old photos and videos with the boys and they’ve been in stitches, and they’re both very happy mini men I need to just remember that when I next have a wobble about not being ‘perfect’

    Stevie xx

  • The DADventurer (Dave)

    It’s totally natural, but try not to feel guilty about things. I think a lot of the time it is other parents and TV which adds on loads of pressure – just try to remember that you’re doing an awesome job and there’s always going to be annoying people out there who boast etc to put on a front. Chin up :)

  • acornishmum

    Thanks Dave, you’re definitely right and I am sure half of the ‘perfect’ parents you see are pulling their hair out at home in a fug of organic pureeing exhaustion ;)

    Stevie :)

  • Kat | Beau Twins

    I read this the other day and loved it. Such a great post and I think suffering mum guilt means you are a good mum because you care. It’s annoying as it can eat you up inside but our babies are our world right? So nothing else matters. But we need to be realistic and try not to beat ourselves up. Easier said than done. But I am all for mums having “me time” a happy mum is a happy home. You are doing an amazing job lovely lady and you can see that you are a wonderful mummy. Lots of love. Kat xxxxx

  • acornishmum

    Aw thanks Kat means a lot coming from such an amazing Mum yourself! One complaint though…could your twins stop making me broody please? Just make them look less scrumptious or something ;)

    Stevie xxxx

  • Renee @ Mummy Tries

    Oh hon we all get days like this, and no matter how much other people say “don’t beat yourself up” we always do. I’m glad you had a friend that filled you in on the assembly.

    Life with small kids is bloody hard work. No one is doing it perfectly, scratch the surface and everyone has a story to tell. You might enjoy this:

    Hope you felt better after getting it all off your chest xx #brilliantblogposts

  • EmilyG

    Totally get this post! I had to bottle feed in the end after failed attempts at breastfeeding (combi fed for 3mths) and even now I can feel bad about it. Any time I do something for me, or maybe go out with friends, I get a little pang and feel guilty. It’s like as a mum we are pre-programmed to feel this, even when it can be irrational at times. We are all good mums, all trying our best and that’s what we need to remember x

  • Rachel

    Sending hugs. Know how you feel. I couldn’t get time off to go to my sons easter bonnet parade this morning, it’s the first time I have missed anything and I feel rubbish about it. Great post to read to make me feel a bit better about it :) xx

  • Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

    Totally with you on this one. I’m a first time mum and still finding it hard to accept that I’m not perfect. Have no idea what convinced me I would be in the first place. It’s not like any other aspect of my life it totally together.
    Anyway… *fistbump* we’re surviving and our kids are thriving!

    #brillblogposts

  • acornishmum

    Thanks lovely, I’m back to my usual happy self again thankfully! I’m not a fan of dwelling on stuff, but anything to do with my boys always hits me hard! Will check out your post now :)

    Stevie xx

  • acornishmum

    There is so much pressure on us to be ‘perfect’ I think, but we just need to remember no one is, and even the most perfect seeming Mum us probably screaming at her kids at home for drawing in felt tip pen on the carpet ;) It’s probably just our natural protection instinct, but I am trying to accept my imperfections more!

    Stevie x

  • acornishmum

    Thanks Rachel, and aw lovely that must be hard! At the end of the day though they won’t remember what you weren’t there for, they will remember the times when they really needed you and you WERE!

    Stevie xx *Hugs back at you*

  • acornishmum

    I don’t think that we as Mum’s always help each other out by admitting that things aren’t perfect for us either. At the end of the day there is no shame in not being perfect, and I happily cheer friends up who have made osme sort of parenting mistake with stories of mine own, like the time I left an upstairs window open and my youngest had one foot out on the ledge aged 16 months or so….that still make my stomach flip thinking about it!

    Stevie x

  • Mummy Fever

    Oh bless you – we all have days like that. I still cringe that I missed my first born’s first ever sports day because I was away working . Tomorrow is another day #brilliantblogposts

  • acornishmum

    It’s awful missing anything isn’t it?! From September I’ll have one in primary and one in secondary school, so I’m expecting the occasional conflict where I’ll have to choose a child to watch doing something over the other one….crossed fingers it doesn’t happen! Still a little freaked that I have a child old enough for secondary school!

    Stevie x

  • Urban Mumble

    You’re not alone! I read somewhere that career mums and stay-at-home-mums are equally prone to mum guilt. I get it too (and I’m rubbish with calendars). Perfection does not exist but I’d like to think parenting is as an art you can improve in. We just need to do our best. That’s all we can do really :)

  • acornishmum

    I definitely think part of parenting is learning from your mistakes! I’m triple checking my diary each week now to make sure I don’t miss anything else!

    Stevie x

  • Mummyandmonkeys

    Oh no the exact same thing happened to me the other week, they had a Mum afternoon which I somehow didn’t get the letter about and then a celebration assembly (same afternoon) where my eldest got a Headteachers award. I felt so awful! Hated the thought of hom wondering why I wasn’t there :( x

  • acornishmum

    It makes you feel awful doesn’t it?! I am now obsessively rechecking my diary all the time to make sure nothing else slips through the cracks eek! ;)

    Stevie xx

  • Jenni - Odd Socks and Lollipops

    I think, sadly it’s natural to feel guilty about lots of things as a mummy and I think we are far to hard on ourselves. The fact that you felt guilty about a genuine mix-up shows that you are a great mummy and no-one is perfect and I think it’s sad we feel we must all live up to an un-achievable ideal – yes it’s nice to have something to strive for but still.

  • Natalie @ our parallel connection

    Stevie the honesty is amazing. I recently wrote a post like this ( & my kids are older) but the guilt stays. The fact that you are writing about it means you will learn to accept that we are NEVER going to be the perfect parent but happily our kids love us no matter what.

  • Dominique

    All of this resonates with me! There is too much pressure on us as parents to be perfect, very often coming from those who are far from perfect themselves. Being a good parent is far more important, sometimes our children’s needs mean we need to make decisions that don’t go with some peoples ideas but tough! xxx

  • acornishmum

    I think we’re all as bad as each other with this, definitely part of being a Mum! I did feel so bad that day, but I guess the fact it made me feel physically sick letting him down shows I am a good Mum lol! and you are clearly an amazing Mum lady, love seeing the pictures of your smiley little miss :)

    Stevie xx

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