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Mum Guilt

Mum Guilt...

As mums, I think we know that in some capacity or other, it comes with the territory right? But not as we might expect. Yes, it is true, we have all experienced this in one way or another, and for some, they have experienced guilt because they don't experience mum guilt.

For me, its the classic, straight up standard mum guilt. Feeling guilty for not doing enough, feeling like a failure, feeling bad for doing anything for myself, the list goes on and on.

The point in my life where this really hit the pinnacle, was when I thought, this is affecting my mental health now, I'm struggling to cope, to function, to regulate my emotions, and this all occurred in Lockdown number 2. Of course everything was heightened at this time anyway, but I had finished my maternity leave and been at work for two months, when the lockdown hit us. So I went back to being at home, with my son and was soon put on furlough. Two months into furlough, they released the announcement that they were going to reopen the nurseries.

I felt a wave a relief. Insert guilt.

Why was I relieved? Why didn't I love all this time at home with my son?

I did, but it was too much. With still not being able to have the full freedom of life, our version of normal life still wasn't back in full flow. So to feel like I could have a break from the more intense version of this life, the more caged version, came as a relief.

I need a break? From my own child? Insert guilt.

I only wanted to put him in for 2 mornings a week and that alone, sent me into full emotional breakdown and borderline panic attack.

I held Harry so close and sobbed because I felt like I had hurt him by wanting that time for myself.

I knew he would love being back at nursery with his friends, all the rational thoughts were there, but all I could ask myself was why I wasn't good enough? Why I couldn't do it all? Why I couldn't adapt to the new normal and occupy him all day.

I felt like a failure as a mum.

I never wanted to be a SAHM. I went back to work full time when my maternity leave ended and I was fine with it, I wanted balance, I wanted career and babies.

But at a time where career wasn't an option, and all I could do was fully focus on my baby. I struggled more than I ever have in my entire life. He was happy, more than happy, but I was exhausted, struggling, staring longingly at park benches and swings because any time we went outside all I could do was walk. It had to be exercise. The shops were essential, so stocking up on colouring suppliers and activities were a once a week with the food job.

I knew, all of this, I knew I shouldn't blame myself but I was anyway. Maybe I was comparing to others, who love and thrive as a SAHM, or whose highlight reel implies they're loving every second of occupying their children, maybe I'm comparing pre lockdown to during?

Each one of us as a parent, is not like any other parent, because as individuals we are on our own journey, with our own personalities, traits, histories, upbringing, relationships etc. So what we want from parenthood and for our children will always be different. How we respond will be different.

So we cannot beat ourselves up for wanting different, or experiencing different.

We are all doing what we need to do to survive, to cope, to find the joy and the peace in life. And if that is providing your child with a childminder, a sitter, going to nursery, that's absolutely fine.

If we use that time to fill up our own cups, so when we are with our babies we are a better person, a better parent, then it is time well spent.

If that time is spent going for cocktails and having a catch up with your friends, or having an uninterrupted bath, or a cup of tea in silence, or walking round Home Bargains ON YOUR OWN. They all equate the same, whatever you need to do to feel like yourself, get the peace you need, the solitude, do not compare, do not judge yourself.

And if you find those thoughts creeping in, tell them to jog the fuck on. Because your rationale mind knows, the greater good here, is looking after you to look after them.

p.s my son has a wild time at nursery. They're paid to make sure my son is safe and has a great time. I shouldn't feel guilty about him having a great time.

& if you're a mum who feels guilty cos they don't get mum guilt, DONT, because you deserve your time, and you wouldn't want the guilt, trust me! You're crushing it mama.

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