Mothers face scrutiny every single day and about almost every single decision they make in their child's life so its no wonder we put so much pressure on ourselves as mums and feel so guilt ridden. I think its safe to say were all guilty of feeling guilty at some point.
I feel guilty about sitting Jax in front of Baby Bum on his kindle for an hour while I get washing sorted; I feel guilty about giving him that extra bit of biscuit or cake when he moans for it. One of my massive mum guilt examples is leaving him crying in the morning because I have to go to work, my list is never ending.
But why are we so hard on ourselves? I guess you could say it comes with the territory; we’re wholly responsible for raising these little people and teaching them right from wrong, we want them to be a better version of us and when its our responsibility it can make us question everything we do. I think society and media also play a huge part in making us feel guilty and shit about everything we do, the good news is, we are not alone with feeling so doubtful about our abilities.
The well known baby brand NUK conducted a survey in which they surveyed 2,000 UK mums. They found that a massive 87% of mums claimed that they felt guilty at some point in relation to parenting with 21% stating that they felt guilty most or all of the time.
If the research isn’t enough, just speaking to fellow mums shows me that mum guilt is everywhere, in all shapes and sizes.
Founder of Boujie Kids and fellow insta mum Kez says her mum guilt revolves around running her business and juggling that time with her son Trey, she says:
“its just that horrible feeling that you’re so busy with everything else once he goes to sleep you wonder, did I do enough with him?”
It seems to be a common theme, with What Ted Wore owner Lucy saying she felt guilty about sending her son Ted to nursery so she could set up her small business.
From speaking to insta mums I heard so many examples of mum guilt:
Lois Malika: my daughter is still co-sleeping, just so I can get some sleep, also sometimes for dinner I’ll do the classic fish fingers with peas and smiley faces when I’m too tired too cook, I have lots of mum guilt”
Sharlene: my list is endless, not doing enough learning with H because I’m trying to fit in my own jobs into our routine…having a balance or feeling like you don’t have a balance at all gives you plenty of guilt too”
Meghan Brook: I always feel guilty on days that I don’t take Amelia out somewhere and do something!
Katie Newnham: I get mum guilt from feeding my baby store bought meals, or having to direct more attention to the other sibling.
Talking of Instagram, I saw Tennis champ and all round super woman/new mum Serena Williams addressing her mum guilt to her followers saying:
It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby. We have all been there. I work a lot, I train, and I’m trying to be the best athlete I can be, however, that means although I have been with her every day of my life, I’m not around as much as I would like to be. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal.” - Serena Williams
Even Hollywood actress and mum of 2 Jessica Alba has spoken up about mum guilt saying:
“I think feeling like you’re missing moments, like, well first off, you feel bad when you realize they are wearing shoes that hurt them because you’re like, ‘Oh, I didn’t even realize that you’ve been wearing shoes that are too small for you for like 3-4 months, my bad. Some of those milestones or moments, you want to be there for every single one and it’s not realistic when you’re working, but for me, that’s what gets me.” - Jessica Alba
For the full interview click here. https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/jessica-alba-times-the-actress-got-real-about-motherhood.html/
For every mum that thinks they’re smothering their baby, another will worry they don’t see their baby enough. It’s completely normal and the fact that we as mums do worry, just shows that we care even if the guilt is unwarranted.
The truth is that we are all dealing with this mum guilt cloud that hangs above us, even though we are all doing our best, the remedy is to talk about it and air our thoughts on feeling bad, its amazing what a bit of chit chat among mums can do. Talking of chit chat, co founder of Mums That Meet, Amelia Cunningham has also got something to say about this topic, here’s her take on it...
I recently did a story on my Instagram talking about Arlo’s love of milk and how he still has 4 sometimes even 5 bottles a day and drains each one like it’s the last thing on earth. When I found out Jodie was doing a post about mum guilt I had to jump on board.
I want to start by saying ok so it’s nobody’s business what you decide to feed or allow your child to drink, what time they go to bed, whether you let them watch tv all day, but that doesn’t stop mum guilt from being real and doesn’t make it any better when we experience the judgement or negative opinion of others.
I want to talk about the milk thing because that’s one of the most recent things I’ve been passed judgement on. I whip out a bottle for Arlo at messy play a few weeks back, and within seconds I’ve got the worker there all wide eyed asking me why he’s still drinking out of a “baby’s bottle”. OK so it’s not a beaker, but what does it matter? It’s just a bottle. A bottle he’s used to and likes drinking out of. But then I’ve still left messy play questioning myself whether I should try and wean him onto a beaker all because one woman said so. After sharing this with my followers I had lots of messages from mums with kids a similar age to Arlo who also still use a “baby bottle” and it’s funny how those messages made me feel a whole heap better.
Like with the dummy, when I got a man stop me in the street to look at Arlo and his first comment was “oh he shouldn’t have that thing in his mouth he’s a big boy”. I smiled walked off but there is a part of me that wishes I would have said what business is it of yours! But again I came away from that thinking maybe he shouldn’t have his dummy anymore. The negative comments of strangers and even people we know is something that we probably don’t like to admit but that’s why we need more people speaking about it just like Jodie.
Mum guilt is real and I think we can all agree that it’s not just our own choices of parenting but other people’s reactions to the way we choose to parent that leads to most of our guilt.
There's still time to grab your tickets to the Mums That Meet event taking place in March, for tickets click here.