As part of another difficult week and as we slowly drag ourselves towards the end of January I have decided to look at some positives and update my page ‘Joy of Motherhood’ (take a look if you fancy). There is so much joy with baby at the moment, she asks for ‘cuggles’ and smiles with a cheeky squinty eye. I feel more and more guilty for the amount of low points that I have in these weeks. She is growing so much as a little girl and I want to give her the best of me. I really do need to take some time-out sometimes, even if its half an hour, and I feel as mothers we find it hard to admit it and say it to another person, but it really is true. ‘Mum-guilt’…it’s everywhere. This is one of the extreme examples of ‘mum-guilt’ and some of this guilt can be as simple as giving baby a packet meal instead of a homemade nutritious meal. But as mothers we do put ourselves through this feeling… daily, if not hourly.
Because of this and the realisation really hitting me hard while hubby has some crazy busy weeks, last week I had to make the trip up north again to stay with my parents. The only way I was going to get any time to breathe or get chance to go for a run or even to get out of the house without baby, was to stay with them. Frustratingly it takes a good 4 hour car journey to do it, and to get this result, but it had to be done.
One of the things we got up to was (in the frosty north) we went to Tropical World in Leeds. It was lovely to get into the warm even though we were ‘out and about’. It was great to let baby run about and feel like I could just wander slowly and just take in my surroundings for once, instead of constantly thinking about what we were going to do next, or how I was going to fill the time with her. However the only food I’d brought with us for her lunch was a microwave meal for 12 months+ from Tesco and no microwave to be seen. So while we enjoyed a hot cup of tea, I tried to feed her the cold pasta and veg… She spat it straight out. Joy. So I persisted a bit to see if she’d at least try a bit more and like it- alas no. So I went to find something that she might eat… the easiest/cheapest thing I found in the café was a (sliced) cheese and (wafer) ham sandwich (on white)… something I would normally never give her (‘mum-guilt!), but knew she needed something at least filling so she might not moan at me all afternoon. Thankfully she ate it and she had a little nap while we got our lunch a bit later. But then I had the guilt of eating a lovely salad (from a different café) while I just went for convenience with baby. Ugh. Can a mum never catch a break?!
I think I should have come more prepared, or maybe I should have let her eat food from my plate and not get a meal time to myself (as we tend to eat dinner together anyway). I want to take pressure off myself, I really do. But those voices just creep in no matter what I decide and no matter what mood I’m in.
I think some parents on social media use ‘mum-guilt’ as a humourous way of explaining themselves sometimes, or as a ‘hashtag’ too readily, but the reality is we should talk about it a bit more and say these things out loud as NORMAL. This feeling of how we are bringing up our children and using shortcuts or getting time to ourselves, shouldn’t be seen as something to feel ‘guilty’ about and the more people use it as a ‘hashtag’, the more some mums might feel like these are things to feel guilty about. But we shouldn’t. No one is judging you for feeding your child, or for going for that half-hour run leaving baby with someone else. We should talk about these things in a humourous way because they’re so stupidly normal! Shortcuts are there for a reason, because we have so many other challenges to go through each day that to get 2 mins breath we might have to get the easy option for lunch. And that half hour time-out (if even possible) is there for a reason- to keep us sane and stay our own person in order to be able to develop our children and give them the best of us (or just keep baby alive).
I wish I had the luxury of childcare on tap or all the energy and time to cook infinite meals for baby but I just need to say out loud ‘I AM NOT A GUILTY MUM!’. Baby can have the best of me. And a ham and cheese sandwich is the best thing for both of us, sometimes. Hurrah!