When I started my blogs and started sharing about our family through Popsy I always said I would be really honest - what was the point otherwise? We reach around 400,000 women every single month - that’s a pretty big voice to have and I would be doing all those women injustice if I spoke about what a perfect life I have, how I’m the perfect mother, nothing ever stresses me out and I live a real life fairytale.
FULL TIME STUDENT
Mom guilt - it’s a funny old thing!! When we had our eldest I was still in my final year of university. I was at uni dropping off assignments the day before I went into labour and back writing essays a couple of days after giving birth. I had an exam when my baby was 5 weeks old and I remember SOBBING driving down the M42 because I had to leave my newborn while I went to my exam. The guilt hit me like an absolute ton of bricks!
“What kind of mother leaves their newborn baby”
I felt like the worst mother in the world! I felt like my baby deserved better and what should have been an enjoyable time of my life was filled with exams, coursework and being awake at 3am trying to get an essay finished. I kept telling myself I only needed to do another 7 months and then I would have my degree and I would then be able to spend all my time with my baby. I wanted nothing more to spend all day at home with my little girl.
STAY AT HOME MOM
I finished my degree and had all this spare time on my hands. I didn’t have to do any coursework, exams, reading journals! This was what I had wanted for months - yet I really struggled being a full time stay at home mommy. I absolutely loved spending time with my baby and knew I was so fortunate I was able to do that but I struggled being on my own in the house a lot, I hated waving Greg off to work and knowing if my mum was working that day I sometimes wouldn’t talk to another adult until he got home. Anybody who knows me will tell you I’m an awful cook (really awful!) and I wasn’t blessed with the skills to be a housewife! A simple statement like “I’m really tired” would have me feeling like I would explode and I often thought to myself “YOU’RE TIRED??? TRY STAYING AT HOME ALL DAY!!!” It may sound strange but I really felt like I lost who I was as an individual at that time. My days felt like they rolled into one. I hated the same routine of bottles, naps, tidying and I wanted to discuss something other than babies, weaning, sleep routines! I remember there being times I found myself getting excited when a brand new episode of peppa pig came on that I hadn’t seen before!!
And guess what was out in full force? MOM GUILT!
I now had all this time with my baby yet still felt guilty! I felt guilty that some parents had to work and would love to stay home yet I wished I had just an hour a week to myself. I felt guilty that even though I had all this time I somehow couldn’t manage the cooking every night and despite feeling like all I did was tidy - the house still looked like we had been burgled! I felt guilty that at 6pm I would look at the clock and think “only another hour to go” and felt guilty about.....feeling guilty!
Just a never ending cycle of feeling like I wasn’t doing enough or that I should be feeling a certain way because that’s how I was expected to feel. Don’t get me wrong - I love my children with my whole heart and they are both my absolute world but I struggled without the adult conversation and feeling like I couldn’t get a single minute of the day to myself. What didn’t help was I would see on social media all these moms looking like they were breezing through parenthood and I too would post pictures of myself with a smiling baby “so much fun with my baby girl today” when really I had rocked her to sleep for an hour because she was overtired, microwaved my cuppa tea 4 times and still not managed to drink it and become an expert at shoving as much washing in the cupboard as possible so it looked like I had my life in some sort of order.
Being a stay at home mum is TOUGH!! Way tougher than I ever imagined and I take my hat off to anybody who stays at home with their children! You are real life super heroes and I know how hard it can be! You’re doing an amazing job!
I’m now a working momma and I am in an extremely fortunate position where I work for myself. I’ve had it where I’ve barely been able to spend time with my child, I’ve had it where I’ve had all week to spend with my children and now I work from home as well as from the office which means I am here most of the time when the girls finish school/nursery. Despite having this balance, guess what is still with me......yep, MOM GUILT!!
Seriously!! What do us moms have to do to get rid of this thing??? This has been our first 6 weeks holiday and while we’ve had some days where we’ve been to the cinema, we’ve been to the sea life centre etc there’s been days where the girls have been looked after by grandparents, they’ve come to work with me, they’ve had to come to meetings and I am back at that all too familiar place! I feel guilty that I am on my phone working a lot and I seem to say “just one minute” way too much.
So I have come to the conclusion that despite what we do, how good we do it, despite everything we do being the best for our children us parents are super super hard on ourselves! It is easier said than done but I think we need to give ourselves a break and know whether we are a stay at home mom or whether we’re a working mom we are all just trying our best to keep all the balls in the air! It is tough for us all and we need to remember to be kind to ourselves!
So the next time you hear your little one giggle, the next time you see their cheeky smile or their laugh fill the room - get rid of that guilt and know that you’re doing an amazing job momma!