While mums look happy and smiley on the outside, you’d be surprised how many of us are dealing with mummy guilt issues on a daily basis. One moment you’re sulking because you’re missing out on a girls’ night out. Then the next moment you start feeling guilty that you ACTUALLY entertained the thought because right now, you’re a MUM!
But honestly (and I think all mums feel the same), we are not machines. Our personalities do not change when we become mums – we are still pretty much ourselves. The only change is in our priorities. Most of the time our children will take centre stage, and when the thought of what we use to be is remembered, mum guilt can kick in.
4 Stages of Life When You’re Dealing with Mummy Guilt the Most
1. When They Are Still Babies
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You might have just popped out the most beautiful being in your life, but then reality sinks in. Your nipples are sore – in fact, you’re sore everywhere.
Then there’s confinement rules and endless opinions from everyone. Your little one won’t stop crying. You’re sleep-deprived, sick of diaper blowouts and you start thinking, “what was I thinking when I signed up for this?”
Is this motherhood? Endless diapers, walking around smelling like eau de puke and lugging home-cooked baby food everywhere?
The truth is you don’t want to breastfeed, you wish your baby would sleep through the night, and you wish everyone would stop telling you what to do. But you can’t even tell anyone.
Because the fingers won’t stop wagging and the looks of disappointment from everyone will be too much to handle for now. Don’t even start talking about how stay-at-home-mums are pressured to go back to work because they do not contribute anything to the family finances.
With life revolving so much around your little one, before you know it, the resentment and frustration can start to creep in.
Let me tell you, it is normal if you find yourself starting to resent your own faultless baby when you can’t get anything done. I’m not talking about PPD. You are not alone. A lot of mums are also dealing with mummy guilt trips like these too. Just catch yourself when it happens, forgive yourself and then shower your baby with tonnes of hugs and kisses.
2. When They Are Old Enough for School
Finally! A light at the end of the tunnel! School mean mums can finally catch a breather! But this season opens up a whole new can of worms!
Mums start to outdo each other with home-cooked packed food, handmade costumes, extra homeschooling and amazing birthday parties and play dates – really, the list is endless.
But you’re working now. Food on the table is catered from outside or reduced to simple one pot meals. Fast food keeps the kids happy and TV sitting is becoming a norm too. There’s even tuition now, and as long as their grades aren’t too bad, you’re not too concerned.
But dealing with mummy guilt is hard. Every day is a mad rush. Between ferrying them to school, work and other extracurricular activities, oftentimes mums find themselves rushing through homework and then rushing to put them to sleep so that they can have some time to themselves.
Remember the time you used to read to them when they were younger? You also didn’t use to shout as much too.
3. When They Are in Their Teens
The common thing when dealing with mummy guilt is this big fat question: Did I do enough? Or did I love them enough?
Was their foundation solid enough as a kid? If so, why are they so difficult during their teens? Why am I constantly worried about them? Why won’t they talk to me? How do I get them to open up about things? Do I keep up the tough mother image or do I play it cool?
To be honest there is no way to know if we’re doing the right thing or whether we have done enough. We can only do our best and hope for the best. And yes it hurts when they’d rather spend more time with friends, and they start asserting more independence.
Do we let go and trust that they will be okay? Or do we reel them in? This is one type of guilt that never ends.
4. When They Are All Grown Up
They are full-grown themselves now. So be prepared for the eye-rolling and answering back if you make a comment about the guys they date or how short their skirt is. Perhaps till this day, you will still beat yourself up about not doing enough. Nothing much you can do anymore, they have their own mind and life now.
If they still take your advice, that’s great. But all you can do is watch quietly, hurting when they get hurt. You can only offer open arms when they come running back to you for comfort because no matter what you will always be there.
Remember this: Every mum is still an individual with faults and wants. But at the end of the day, what we do and feel is universal to all mums, and we all share a common goal. Dealing with mummy guilt might be a small price to pay, but ultimately we would gladly sacrifice ourselves to give our children the best.
Read also: Why the ‘supermum phenomenon’ is hurting mothers everywhere