Okay, so I’m pretty sure most mums can put their hands up and say ‘yep, I’ve had mummy guilt.’ Some may believe we are programmed to doubt ourselves as mothers. Which is a good thing if you channel it correctly to make sure we are doing the best for our babies. I hugely agree with this and believe that our instincts are there for a reason, if you are feeling guilty about something or your instincts are telling you to not do something then listen to them.
For me situations that increase my mummy guilt would include:
-Popping Freddie on the bed whilst I run to the bathroom to have a pee and he subsequently rolls off and starts crying mid pee so I end up running into the bedroom with my trousers and knickers around my ankles!
-Being in a traffic jam and Freddie is crying in his car seat and there is literally no where to pull over and comfort him.
SO i’ve put together some tips that may (or may not) help us minimise this mummy guilt that is eating us all up.
1- Try and minimize the situations that usually make you feel guilty.
For example, for me I have learnt my lesson and stopped leaving him on the bed! He now has to put up with sitting on the bathroom floor while I go for a piddle.
Now that we live closer to the town we hardly have to use the car, but when we do I sit in the back with him and try and entertain him with multiple toys, food, funny faces and singing.
2- Be informed and happy with your choices.
I see the phrase ‘you’re making me feel guilty’ faaaaaar too much on the internet. If a woman posts a status saying she’s so proud of herself for breastfeeding for however long there will always be a comment that says something along the lines of ‘well done hun but every mummy should be proud, statuses like these make people feel guilty.’ Erm, what? Way to piss all over a happy status about being proud (and so she should be proud). Be informed, research about all the pros and cons of doing something before you do it, especially when it affects your child, and be happy with your choice. I am a self exclaimed breastfeeding activist however I know several mums who formula feed simply because they wanted to and they are well informed and happy with their choices and that’s how it should be. However I know a hell-of-a lot more mums who exclaim they are happy with their choices but they are clearly not and it makes me sad. ‘Happy mum, happy baby’ is another phrase I despise and its often used by mums who are riddled with guilt and want to justify their choices even if they know it wasn’t the best choice to make. Whether its to do with infant feeding or other things to do with your child there will always be differing opinions, opinions are like arse holes; everyone has them.
I have quite a few friends who are anti vaccination and I’ve read into a lot of research that supports their reasoning. I, however, am pro vaccination but these articles don’t make me feel guilty or upset as I am 100% happy with my choice to vaccinate Freddie. Me and my partner made an informed choice and researched together and made the choice to vaccinate our son. I also know plenty of people who think that co sleeping is dangerous or creating a rod for life however, again, their opinions don’t even phase me. I love co sleeping and its perfect for us.
I asked on several mum groups their opinions on mummy guilt and what they think causes it. I never once asked what their mummy guilt was, yet tonnes of women replied with everything they feel guilty about. We are our worst enemies and if we can stop insulting ourselves and be happy with our choices then other peoples choices won’t ‘make‘ us feel anything.
One of my favourite replies was this (excuse the language!):
“I think a lot of guilt is exacerbated by perceived judgement. Born out of this mummy wars shite where we often (wrongly) feel pitted against one another. My worst Mummy guilt comes from her wanting to appease me. We have always reinforced and celebrated the positive and ignore the negative behaviour. But I felt awful when she admitted to eating veg just to “make mummy feel happy”. I know veg is good for her and that it is my job to influence her. But that responsibility makes me feel guilty, I hate to think I may be manipulating her into being a compliant person.”
SO what I’m trying to say is, be happy and informed!
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