Learning to cope with ‘mum guilt’

Being a mum is absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done. I constantly worry about what I should and shouldn’t be doing, what my children are thinking and feeling, what I can do to help them and what they need. 

Our girls are now 11 and 7 and growing up to be polite, kind and loving. Every day they say or do things to surprise me and remind me that they are growing up right in front of my eyes. But sometimes I worry that I haven’t savoured this stage enough. I stress that before I know it they will be all grown up and I will have missed so much of their childhood working, being stressed out and grumpy about work or dashing around trying to accomplish what is on my to- do list.

 I know I am not alone in feeling this way. As mums we can be our own severest critic- only highlighting the things we don’t do instead of the amazing things we do every day for and with our children and the lessons we teach them in the process. 

Lately I have been reflecting on the positives and shutting out the voice that tries to make me feel guilty for having to go to work and highlights my failings as a mum. My children have learned from me that women work hard and that if you want something in life – you work for it until you get it. I hope they have also learned that life is not about striving for perfection but doing the best that you can.

I have been trying to focus on what I have done well as a mum. Our children are healthy and for the most part pretty happy. They have inherited my love of reading and their dad’s cheeky sense of humour. They are resilient, reflective and strong. Last week we were at a gym competition and as I watched my eldest daughter take the hand of her little sister on their way to buy a snack, I felt pride swelling in my heart. The small things mean so much and so I am increasingly trying to capture them and store them in my mummy memory for later. 

If you are like me and often fall victim to the curse that is ‘mum guilt’, try looking for the positives. If you have to work, think what your hard work is teaching your babies. If you struggle to manage your home, to stick to your budget and are battling exhaustion but carry on anyway, think what your struggles teach your children about resilience and strength. Start to notice the small things that are the proof of a job well done. The caring gestures, the cuddles, the kindness and the love. 
Being a mum has been my most challenging role to date but also the most rewarding. Nothing prepares you for the emotional roller coaster that is motherhood. So far, it has made me sadder than I thought I could be, more frustrated and exhausted than I thought possible. It has also brought more joy, happiness and peace than I could have hoped for. At the end of each day as I kiss each of our babies goodnight and take a moment to just breathe them in, I know that this is my most important job and the job I was made to do.  



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