When you become a mum you start feeling really guilty…..all the time. Not the “I got really drunk last night, tied my maxi skirt up to make a mini skirt, puked in glass and woke up with kebab stuck to my face” kind of guilty (not me??!!), but a really powerful ” you’re shaping someones life/personality/future” kind of guilty.
I’ve been thinking about “Mum Guilt” recently (mainly because I’ve been feeling so guilty). Its something I hear mums talk a bout a lot. Surely it just makes us good mums that we are worried about things?? Or bad mums because we are doing things wrong??
And then it came to me (as I was rocking/shushing/nippling/ online shopping at 3am), every cloud has a silver lining. So in fact, all of these things that we have been feeling so horrendously guilty about are totally fine. If anything, they could actually be viewed as GOOD things. It’s all about turning negatives into positives.
1) Feeding Child Snacks To Keep Quite
Children love snacks, snacks are food, food is good to help growing children, child is quiet whilst eating. WIN WIN. If child has filled up on snacks and wont eat
“proper” food…..saves cooking/ money/ time.
2) Too Much TV
On “Go Jestters” the other morning (go go, go go, goo jesters…..song in head all day long), they were talking about wind power and windmills. My 2 year suddenly chirped up “wind power”. I mean wow, how advanced to know all about how power is generated, child genius right there (!!!!). So, I really feel that TV is actually very educational. Kids programs these days are so informative, covering so many different topics that it can only be a good thing?! I was poorly when I was a kid, I had a very long time off school and just lay on the sofa and watched TV everyday, and I’m fine??!! Even TV programs like Hollyoaks (if they happen to be on) for example, your child can learn about emotions, relationships, life lessons etc. Then you can switch over to the news (ok Loose Women, basically news) for more political debates. You then have problem solving in programs like Broadchurch. Also environmental subjects covered in programs such as Love Island (travel) and talent inspiring TV such as X-Factor. So you see, TV is actually a GOOD thing. Its like being at school.
3) Too Much Time On MY Phone
I feel guilty about my children, even my 12 week old baby, seeing me on my phone. I even go and hide in the toilet to check Instagram, or cover my phone with a blanket “den” so I can check FB. BUT if you just say “Mummy’s working” then they will see just how hard you work and how you can multi task your “work” with mothering. In this day and age (unfortunately) it’s the way our world is going (back in my day……..) so I guess it’s a good way of them getting used to it. They don’t want to be behind their peers at school. PLUS I find Instagram/ FB and just taking a million photos/ videos in general on my phone is a brilliant way to capture moments. YOU ARE RECORDING MEMORIES, so well done you. Your children will love looking through them all when they are older.
4) Too Much Cake
Me/ children?? Both! Now, my son is really really fussy (to do with all the snacks??!), but doesn’t seem to be too fussy when it comes to cake?? Its got to a point when I feel that any sort of food I can get into him is a bonus. So I do make a lot of cakes. But I always make ones with fruit/veg in to make it “healthy” (Banana Bread, Carrot Cake, Apple Crumble, Flapjack with raisens?), therefore he’s getting one of his five a day…and you don’t have to feel bad anymore. Plus cakes have eggs in too.
5) Eating Food Off The Floor
All I can say is….”good for the immune system”. Sometimes I rub my childs food on the floor to help protect my child against colds.
6) Talking To Friends And Ignoring Child
I love a good chat. But I’m very aware then when I meet up with other mums and kids that I talk too much and don’t pay enough attention to my child. They are called mothers meetings for a reason I guess. However, It’s good for your child to venture out on their own without you having to hold their hand, makes them confident?! Anyone that knows my mum will know she talks A LOT (sorry mum if you’re reading this), and I feel, as an adult, I am pretty patient person. Maybe this is because my mum talked so much I had to learn to wait. BUT, you know when another mum comes up to you and says “is that your son in the Lama pen”, that you maybe haven’t been paying enough attention and to tone down the chatting.
7) Not Playing Enough
This follows on nicely to this point. How much should you actually play with your child? If you play with them all the time then they will never learn to play on their own, but if you never play with them then they become neglected? I always feel that I don’t play enough with my 2 year old. I’ve discovered I’m rubbish at playing, I thought I would be a lot more fun but I’ve turned out pretty boring. BUT, I do let my son play on his own (quite a bit) telling myself that this is called “baby led play” (??????) and is VERY good for them to learn how to be by themselves and entertain themselves. By doing this I’m shaping their independence and helping them develop their imagination. Well done me??
8) Not Enjoying Diggers/ Tractors/ Cars/ Trains/ Aeroplanes
Again, this leads nicely onto this point. I’m quite a girly girl (but like extreme sports and wearing Vans)……but always feel hugely guilty that I really don’t like playing with all the ‘boy” stuff AT ALL ie: diggers/ Tractors/ Cars/ Lego (although I know girls can be really into this too). I feel bad that I find it boring and my son finds it AMAZING but I just don’t really know how to make a fun game out of a digger…day after day after day. I really need to get stuck into boy stuff now as I’ve just had boy number 2, this will be my life. Soccer Mum. BUT by playing with dolls, putting hair clips in his hair, dressing up, going shopping….(all whilst dad is out of course) I feel I am broadening his horizons and showing him its ok to be whoever he wants to be. The whole “not being gender specific” is quite popular these days so I’m bang on trend.
9) Bribing/ Incentives
Only recently (would have started way sooner if my son had understood)) I have started using bribes. Honestly, it has opened up a whole new world for me!! You can get toddlers to do pretty much anything. I did feel bad using bribery to get him to do things, until a friend pointed out another way to look at it. They are INCENTIVES not bribes. In life its good to be able to set oneself goals and aims and rewards when you achieve them. So therefore I am basically giving my toddler drive and focus and teaching him the value of commitment and results of actions etc.
10) Too Much Time In Car
I’ve always used my car as a tool to get my toddler to sleep, then doing “the transfer” (heart in mouth, blood pumping, sweating, could kill the noisy car that drives passed just as I’m getting him out of the car and into the house). Sometimes I’d drive around (for hours) to get my son off to sleep, then park up somewhere nice and leave the engine running to keep him asleep. Now I have a baby, I use the car/ car seat to contain my toddler whilst I feed the baby. (plus feed toddler snacks to keep quiet, see point 1). So all in all we spend A LOT of time in the car (also why car is so skanky). BUT, my toddler looks out the window and sees lots of different places (we cover some miles!), people, animals…diggers, tractors, cars. This gives him experience of the outside world and see lots of different places and gives him a zest for travel. I just wouldn’t be able to cover these sort of miles of foot everyday. Also my toddler is so full of energy, that I think being contained in the car seat forces him to have some down time, which he needs.
11) So much time feeding
Since having baby number 2, I feel so bad on my toddler that I have to spend so much time feeding him. A lovely lady at work suggested having a special bag with special toys to bring out for him whilst I feed, but then when he was feeding every 45 mins or more, the novelty soon wore off. I try and play with toddler whilst feeding but this is difficult to juggle as you are trying to dig in the sand with a digger (good at digger games??) and keep your wriggly baby on the boob with the other hand…….all whilst containing your modesty. So as a result, my toddler has to fend for himself once again. But I feel this teaches him all about mothers and milk and feeding/ babies. There was teething problems at the start where he got a bit confused and tried to latch onto my husbands nipple in the shower. But now he has really got the idea of it and likes to breast feed his own Teddy?! Also I guess this teaches him lessons on sharing ie; he has to share his mum…and share his breast milk with his teddy?!
These are just a few of the million things I feel guilty about on a daily basis. I actually feel guilty about writing this when I should be tidying bombsite/ interacting with baby on play gym/ cooking some sort of nutritious dinner/ preparing an education game for my toddler etc………..