As soon as you begin on the road to being a Mum, the guilt starts to seep into your consciousness. I think it starts in pregnancy. You’re already a bag of mixed emotions, worries and insecurities, when you’re suddenly aware of judgements on your choices; “You shouldn’t eat fish”, “Are you still exercising?”, “When will you be going back to work?” “Will the baby sleep with you?”
Once baby arrives, you feel the worry ten fold. Now you’ve got a kid, you’re responsible, what if you’re not doing the right things?
It continues as they grow. Here’s 5 things we do as parents, that we don’t want to admit, but we most definitely do and most certainly feel terribly bloody guilty about it.
1- Giving our children sweets to keep them quiet. I’m a total healthy eating advocate, food is our fuel, balance is key, BUT when I need to, I will silence my children with sugary treats. I do feel guilty!! I don’t want my children making bad food choices, but the truth is, sometimes it’s necessary. Reality? As long as your children get a healthy and balanced diet overall, brush their teeth now and run around and play, muting them with strawberry laces now and then will be just fine.
2- Making the TV the babysitter. Ooop, guilty. If I need to get dinner done, make a call, get us ready to go out, Mr Tumble or Peppa Pig may have to step in and take charge. If they watched telly all day everyday, then I would feel bad and if the content was bad, I would feel guilt. Those that think all telly, under every circumstance, is bad, are morons. Telly can be extremely educational, especially CBEEBIES.
3- Working either at home or leaving to go and work for an employer. Stop with this guilt, right now! How can you keep a roof over your head without money in the bank? You can’t, so accept time at work and move on. As long as when you’re engaging your child, you take an interest, they feel that you’re focused on them & you give them quality time, stop the guilt. It’s a good skill to learn, going to work and you’re showing them you’re providing, which as they grow older will be valuable.
4- Leaving your children. EVER. You walk out of that door and you’re not in control of what they’re doing (obviously you are aware I mean with another person, a relative, partner, babysitter etc, shit, I’m not mental, if you leave your kids alone you should most definitely feel guilt.) but any time you’re not there you worry you should be. There’s a whole lot of judgement placed on Mums when it comes to work and even having time to themselves, to those that judge, get real. It’s also important children know you leave and then you come back, they learn lots from you not being there too.
5- Shouting; Not nice & if you find yourself being a serial “shouter” seek help and work on changing that, BUT if like 99% of parents, you have on a few occasions, raised your voice and lost your cool. It’s OK. You’re only human, parenting is hard, make amends. Say sorry. They need to learn when you’re wrong, you apologise. Explain to your children you were wrong, that you made a mistake and they will learn that important skill. I specifically remember my Dad saying “H I made a mistake, I’m sorry, this parenting lark doesn’t come with a handbook. I was wrong”. Perfect example. You have made a mistake and although I would certainly not advocate this as the option, being a grumpy parent happens to us all, at points.
Carrying guilt, just makes you feel crap. We are bombarded with so many sources of info on what a perfect parent is, we feel lost.
A good piece of advice I was given was this; “your child has never had another parent before, they have no comparison” and there it is. Do what’s right for you and your family and if that means on occasion Dora the explorer and a fruit shoot, so be it. Anyone who says they haven’t done any of the above things is lying and a freakish robot of a person.
Lets collectively say no more to feeling guilty. Do your best, love your children and show them you do and you’ll be in the right area.