As mothers, we seem to always feel guilty. Somehow we convince ourselves that we’re not doing a good enough job and then we’re left with a gaping hole of guilt we feel compelled to fill. Seriously, I don’t know about dads, but mums, we’re always riddled with guilt. Who’s familiar with my constant daily battle that goes something like this?…..
I’m guilty if I wake my son up in the morning because I have to go to work. I’m guilty if he’s dragging a wet nappy behind him because I don’t have the mental strength to tackle the battle of a nappy change with a wriggling kicking toddler. I’m guilty if he doesn’t eat a good breakfast. I’m guilty if he wants to eat just Nutri Grain and I concede defeat on the cereal front. I’m guilty if I haven’t prepared an organic morning snack and have grabbed something in a packet instead. I’m guilty when I go to work and leave him in someone else’s care because I contribute to providing for him. I’m guilty if I don’t come get him straight after work in world record time. I’m guilty if I’m cooking dinner and he’s watching TV because that means I’m not spending enough time with him.
I’m guilty if he picks up my mobile phone and starts pretending to talk on it because obviously I’m spending too much time on the phone and teaching him bad habits (although it’s pretty funny and cute). I’m guilty if he watches TV because too much TV is bad. I’m guilty if the house is a mess because I’m not providing a clean and hygienic environment. But then I’m guilty if I spend too much time cleaning because it’s digging into quality time with my child.
I’m guilty if he doesn’t go to bed early because he’ll wake up tired the next day. I’m guilty if he’s asleep too early because I’ve had enough and am trying for some precious ‘me’ or ‘us’ time. I’m guilty if he has a snot-covered face because, even though I’ve tried to wrestle with him a gazillion times to wipe his nose, I’ve just given up and now he looks grotty. I’m guilty because I take him out shopping and do a disservice to the quiet peaceful shoppers going about their shopping (sorry shoppers). So to save face I guiltily scold my kid so the other shoppers know I’m a good mum. Then I feel guilty because I know my son was just playing and not doing any harm.
I’m guilty because I don’t exercise 5 times a week and I’m not setting a good example of a healthy lifestyle. Then I’m guilty when I do a work out because there’s surely something I should be doing for my son. I’m guilty because I ate two cookies and only gave him half. I’m guilty because I gave him cookies to begin with instead of fruit. I’m guilty because he doesn’t like fruit – I’m sure that’s my fault.
I’m guilty. I’m guilty all the time. Sometimes I feel like I’m burdened by guilt morning, noon and night. But why? WHY? As I wrote the above, my logical self could see how ridiculous my internal struggles are. After much thought and soul searching (guilty as should probably have been devoting mental capacity to thinking up some new organic paleo recipes for son) I realised that it’s actually something pretty basic. Us mums, we’re not feeling guilty because we’re really crap mums … we feel guilty because we’re amazing mums and want the best for our kids.
There. Phew. I feel better after that light bulb moment. Now I’d better get my son into bed so he’s not tired, then tidy the house and bake a batch of healthy home-made organic cookies for tomorrow’s morning tea!