Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that only single Mums experience Mummy guilt, because that is definitely not true. Every Mummy who has to get up in the morning and only spend an hour, at the most, with their little one before taking them to nursery or to a family member and going to work; who then comes home at night and only has chance to feed, bath and put them to bed has Mummy guilt and really we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t feel guilty for working to support our children or buy them nice things, to be able to feed our children and give them a warm loving home, but we are all human so we do feel guilty. We should really feel proud that we get up each morning even though we have had barely any sleep because the little monster decided that he needed to be cuddling Mummy’s head all night or kicking her in the back. We should be proud that we rush around in the morning getting him ready so he looks lovely and forget completely about ourselves, then do a full day at work but then come home at night and fathom the energy to cook the tea, bathe him, read to him and put him to bed, getting ourselves ready for round two of the sleepless night. Now let’s be fair, it’s not just us Mummy’s I’m sure you Daddy’s feel the same, but I can only talk from my perspective as someone who struggled with Mummy guilt.
I was brought up by my Mum and from the day I was born till the day I went to pre-school my mum looked after me. She and my Dad struggled on just one wage so that my Mum could bring us up the way they wanted us to be and can I say? They did an amazing job. With this in mind I always wanted to do the same, be a stay at home Mum even if it meant just one wage, but even before Alfie was born this wasn’t to be. Alfie’s Dad and I couldn’t afford just to live on his wage so I had to work. I used to work in a nursery so I thought of the next best thing to being a stay at home Mum and that was being a Childminder. This meant I could still bring Alfie up every day, but also get paid and the added bonus was that Alfie would grow up with loads of friends around him each day. It’s been amazing, Alfie has come on so much due to the fact that he has grown up around older children who show him new things every day.
I have never really, in the nearly 3 years that Alfie has been here, experienced mummy guilt because I was never that busy. I had a steady flow of children and could focus quite a lot of time and effort in to Alfie as well as the other children and it was great. The only problem now is Alfie is growing up so when his friends are here he is more interested in playing with them than hanging out with Mummy. In addition, I have become a bit busier meaning that I cannot focus much of my attention in the day is on him. I really hadn’t noticed this at all and was quite happily plodding along with my days watching Alfie having the time of his life, learning new things and building such amazing friendships with such amazing little children. Not to be big headed but all the children I look after are such adorable little children and so kind hearted. I absolutely love them being in Alfie’s life. Then it started, I went on holiday for 2 weeks to Poland and Alfie and I got to spend the whole two weeks together in each other’s pockets. It was the best two weeks ever. We grew so much closer, got to sit and have amazing conversations and for a two year old this boy can have some amazing conversations. We got to play and mess around with each other for hours on end and explore lots of new things, just him and me. It was amazing, such a good holiday and we had such a good time, but now I’m back I’m really struggling. I really didn’t think I would ever feel like this but having all the children back and not being able to focus 100% on Alfie gives me major mummy guilt.
Today I took Alfie to the toilet and he sat there telling me a story about what he was playing with with his friends and what was happening. I was just sat there listening, amazed. I was missing being able to sit and have a conversation with him. I then realized that since getting back to work and normality I actually hadn’t sat there with him and had a chat, which made me feel really sad and guilty. I sat there for a while thinking that it wasn’t fair that I don’t get to spend that quality time with him, just him and me, even though we are technically together each and every day, I miss him so much. I don’t know how you Mum’s and Dad’s do it. How you go to work for the full day. I honestly take my hat off to you, you’re amazing. I had to sit there and regroup. I watched Alfie and saw the smile on his face while he played with his friends and thought I may be feeling guilty, but he’s happy, he’s healthy and there’s nothing I can’t provide for him, because I get up each morning and work. I should be proud of what I do for him and not feel guilty for not having every second to give to him. So, from now on, as weird as it sounds, I’m going to saver those trips to the toilet and the catch up we have and look forward to the weekends where it’s just me and my little guy.
Mummy and Daddy guilt is real, but we shouldn’t be sat here feeling it, we should be happy that we are making our children happy with the effort we put in each and every day. We should look forward to the weekends and the holidays where we can spend that precious time with our little ones and cherish all of them. So, if you feel guilty, just take a moment to be proud of yourself. If you’re feeling guilty, it hopefully means you’re doing the right things.