Saturday, April 20, 2013

{guest post} dealing with mummy guilt


Hi there! As you know, I'm currently vacationing with family for the next few days -- my littles are experiencing Disney World for the first time! While I can appreciate a good pair of mouse ears and princess lunches, the smiles upon my kids' faces are priceless. I can't wait to share our experiences with you upon my return. Until then, I have some really wonderful guests submitting posts in my absence. 

I’d like to introduce to you, my Aussie blogger friend, Erin, from Searching for Sanity blog. Grab a cub a coffee and be enlightened by the life of a single mommy  mummy, who recognizes that the littlest things in life can be the greatest of victories. Please help me welcome Erin

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Hello everyone I’m Erin from Searching for Sanity and I am super excited to be here as Mandi’s guest today. I am currently a full time mum to my 2 year old daughter Miss K, as well as a part time student.  Any spare time I have is spent doing one of the many crafty projects I start before I realize exactly how much time they will take to finish, or online begging for more followers on my blog. I live in a teeny tiny town in Victoria Australia surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery you could imagine, but I rarely leave town. Large trips with a small child are just too painful as I’m sure many of you know.

So today I am going to speak to you about something that every parent deals with on a regular basis, guilt. When you have children there are any number of things that can happen every day to make you feel guilty. I remember when Miss K was 2 days old I fell asleep while feeding her one night and nearly dropped her out of the bed. I felt so terrible at the time that I had almost damaged my brand new baby I couldn’t tell anyone about it, in case it just proved from the very beginning that I was going to be a terrible mum. And that wasn’t even the first time I’d felt guilty that day alone. This was day two of being a mum, how on earth was I going to survive a week without ending up an emotional puddle on the floor?

Sometimes a mum’s greatest enemy is herself. (I can only speak for mums as I have never been a dad, but they might feel the same way too, I’ll have to ask one.) We have such high expectations of ourselves as parents, and the first time we fail to live up to those expectations (usually within the first hour of being handed your brand new baby) we get so angry and frustrated with ourselves, and feel so guilty that we aren’t good at this whole parenting gig straight off the bat.  No matter how many times you swear black and blue that your child will never eat anything straight out of a jar, or how many times you promise yourself that you will never use the television to keep them quiet for five minutes just so you can think about the mountain of housework that mysteriously piles up while you’re asleep, every parent reaches a point where they realise that they just can’t live up to their own expectations. And that is the worst feeling in the world. 


Now not all guilt is associated with the shortcuts that we inevitably take as mums (and dads) just to make our lives a tiny bit easier. There is so much of parenting that is just improvising and winging it because you don’t have time to strategize when you have children, and it isn’t until the crisis is over or the children are finally in bed asleep that you actually have time to sit down and think “dear God what have I done?”  If I could have my time over with Miss K as a baby there are a million and one things that I would do differently, but I only know them now because I am looking back. I have no idea how I am going to deal with the next problem that arises, but that is part of the fun of being a parent. You only know you made a mistake once all is done and dusted and it is too late to change anything. Hopefully if you are lucky, the mistakes you make with your children aren’t going to be the kind that sends them into a lifetime of therapy, but again you won’t know until it’s time to make that first appointment. 

But luckily for all of us and our sanity, there are ways to deal with this guilt, and make sure it doesn’t cripple us entirely. The first thing you can do is learn to go easier on yourself. Unless you have the cape to prove it, you aren’t super mum, so there is no reason to expect that you are going to be a perfect parent. Very few of us will admit it to a group of strangers but we all take short cuts, we all make mistakes and we all have no idea what the heck we are doing here, so don’t feel that you are any different to every other parent in the world. We all put our pants on one leg at a time while listening out for the sounds of children breaking things while your back is turned. (Or worse smearing ink all over every surface they can reach. That one is not fun to clean up.)

The second thing you can do is talk to other parents. Just make sure you find ones that don’t see parenting as a competition. All it takes is for one of you to admit that you looked away for two seconds and one of your kids fell on their heads and you will quickly hear a chorus of “oh I’ve done that one too.” Listening to other people in the exact same boat as you having the exact same problems as you is always great for getting a load of stress off your chest. It’s even more fun talking to brand new parents and hearing all your old worries being repeated back to you. Because then it is your turn to reassure them that what they are going through is absolutely normal. 

And the last and best thing you can do is take a good hard look at your kids. Are they happy? Are they healthy? Are they loved and adored unconditionally?  

As long as you can say yes to all three of those things then everything else is just secondary. They will survive your mistakes and go on to make many more of their own. We all as parents are doing the best that we can, and while that can seem like small comfort when you’re gripped by the insecurity that you’re not doing enough, it really is all that you can expect from yourself.

Well that is all from me for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, and I thank Mandi a million times over for giving me the opportunity to come and share some wisdom with you guys. 

2 comments:

  1. gorgeous.........Love the pic. Liked this post too. Although I dont have kids but I do know what it takes to be a parent and all.

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  2. Love this post. So honest. Fortunately i have found a group of friends since becomming a mom that are fun and non judgy. I just started a blog as an outlet for some me time and have been struggling with how to do posts like this that help my readers get to know me... So this is drfinitely an inspiration. Thanks!
    Corey at www.tinysidekick.com

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I am incredibly grateful for your comment! I will respond as soon as possible. XOXO, Mandi

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