Mummy Guilt – it’s about forgiveness

January 22, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Mummy Guilt – it’s about forgiveness

 Mummy Guilt?

Learn to forgive yourself

It’s a funny journey … this motherhood gig

Motherhood is such a funny journey and I’m not always talking funny of the ha!ha! kind either. Mummy Guilt is often there, lurking in the shadows of a she-parent’s mind, waiting to pounce and it’s a phenomenon that starts even before the little darling is born. A pregnancy is announced and immediately there are raised eyebrows at a sip of champagne, a slice of Brie and heaven forbid a Maccas soft serve ice-cream treat for the mum-to-be. Ok, so I’m NOT really condoning the consumption of known foetus-unfriendly foods but I am suggesting that the sight of those positive pink lines can trigger a roller coaster ride of guilt that is truly difficult to overcome, even from the time conception is confirmed.

Am I doing this right?

The “am I doing this right?” question Mums (and Dads too!) ask of themselves is a universal one and seems to compound as our darlings grow and we tackle all sorts of conundrums – breast vs bottle, cloth vs disposable, co-sleeping vs controlled crying, white vs wholemeal, stay at home vs back to work, private vs public ……. and on it goes. I’d love to find and chat over a cuppa with a Mum who has never experienced a decent dose of Mummy Guilt but heck, where do I look for her?

I stand by my belief that Mums are intrinsically motivated to parent the best way they can, with the resources that they have, and we are lucky to live as villagers in a global community where support, reassurance and advice can be provided to those who seek it. There are many excellent articles, magazines, books, forums and blogs out there to assist with parenting BUT when these are consulted, please, I’m hoping that it is with firm confidence in the Mum’s own inner parenting voice that tells her what is best for her and her child. What works for Mrs Jones and her brood may not necessarily work for Ms Smith and hers and that’s A-ok.

What’s perfect parenting anyway?

When I’m not perfect (yes, it’s often enough!) I’m letting my kids know that I’m human. I do hope that my three have learnt many lessons in forgiveness during our amazing journey together, just as I’ve learnt to forgive myself when my times of acting with a well intended heart has not always had the desired outcome. Do I carry the burden of Mummy Guilt? Honestly? Of course I do, but thankfully it’s less so these days.

When I worry about the need to parent perfectly (whatever that looks like?) I reflect upon the couple who reared me. My Mum and Dad.

Were they perfect? No.

Did they love me and parent as such? Yes.

Do I love them today? Absolutely.

Children know, you know

Your children already know that you sometimes make mistakes and they also know how much you love them. They can tell, you can’t fool them with this one. Children don’t measure your love in terms of hours or by how much money you can spend on them – they absorb your love through the mindfulness you show, the gestures you make and the resolve you demonstrate to love them unconditionally.

Learning to forgive yourself

Mummy Guilt can serve some purpose when we take time to reflect upon our parenting to then improve our family situation because it’s surrounding a need that we’ve found through self discovery. It becomes a dangerous trap though, when we compare our parenting and our families to others – be they people and families we know or some imagined perfect household manifested by the media. Please forgive yourself – no one has ever been the perfect parent – not ever. Just remember that the skill of self-forgiveness is another life-lesson that your child will learn from you and that’s a real win-win!

Have you been a victim of Mummy Guilt? Have you learnt to forgive you?

Mummy Guilt – it’s about forgiveness

 

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photo credit: Cia de Foto via photopin cc

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12 Responses to “Mummy Guilt – it’s about forgiveness”

  1. Aroha @ Colours of Sunset Says:

    Oh yes, I don’t know a mother who *hasn’t* at some point had the mummy guilts! I am starting to think it’s something that never completely goes away, and can rear it’s ugly head at any given time! But I have learned to forgive myself far quicker these days. I know my son feels loved, safe, happy, and I know he gets frustrated with us as we get frustrated with him, but at the end of the day, we are best buddies and he sees things so completely different than we do. He won’t hold a grudge against us, like we do against others. Kids are so quick to forgive – at least at the age of 4 they are!! We could learn something from them. Great post, thanks for sharing. xAroha #TeamIBOT

    Reply

  2. Housewife in Heels Says:

    Great post. Especially love this: ” they absorb your love through the mindfulness you show, the gestures you make and the resolve you demonstrate to love them unconditionally.”
    So thought provoking. I suffer from mummy guilt. But truly, it is more harmful than helpful. Am working on self-forgiveness.

    Reply

  3. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen Says:

    I’m a fully paid up member of the mummy guilt club, but I am working on it.

    Reply

  4. Tahlia @ the parenting Files Says:

    Great post. This mummy guilt can be such a killer. We do the best job we know how to do, then and there, and that is all that matters. Nothing to be guilty about. x

    Reply

  5. Kelly HTandT Says:

    Love this post. Mother guilt is something we all experience. I really think they need to tell you more about it BEFORE you have kids. In all of the prenatal education, they fail to tell you that for the rest of your life you will question whether or not you are adequate. xx

    Reply

  6. Kirsty @ My Home Truths Says:

    I love this post Shari. I have written about mummy guilt before and I suffer it everyday. I don’t think it matters whether you are a working mum, a stay at home mum or a bit of both, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t felt mummy guilt at one time or another. I love your quote – mummy guilt, it’s all about forgiveness. That is so very true, hard to put into practice, but true nonetheless!

    Reply

  7. Sis Says:

    Guilty of suffering the guilt! And I too would think it almost impossible to find a mummy without it. XX

    Reply

  8. Emily @ Have a laugh on me Says:

    This is a subject dear to my heart, I blogged about it recently, and got some GREAT replies, one that I remember is that as long they are loved and know they are loved, I’m sure they won’t remember the small things I stress about when they’re older, I’m trying really hard to kick guilt to the curb this year! Great post. Emily :)

    Reply

  9. Sarah @ Just One More Chapter Says:

    Mummy guilt, I still suffer from it over a year later. There was the guilt when she was born early (What did I do wrong, why couldn’t my body nourish you?) to when I couldn’t breastfeed properly (What’s wrong with my boobs?) to when I finally stopped expressing milk for her (Why am I stopping? Why can I only get one feed every 1 or 2 days?)

    I think I’ve forgiven myself for 2 out of 3. The first one is still iffy….

    Reply

  10. Azara Says:

    I love this: “Children don’t measure your love in terms of hours or by how much money you can spend on them – they absorb your love through the mindfulness you show, the gestures you make and the resolve you demonstrate to love them unconditionally.” A great way to sum it all up!

    Visiting from IBOT.

    Reply

  11. EssentiallyJess Says:

    Love this post Shari. We mums are our own worst enemies so much of the time. We do need to learn to forgive ourselves

    Reply

  12. Grace Says:

    I’ve recently started making a conscious effort to stop with the mummy guilt. I was finally realising that it wasn’t doing me, my husband and especially the boys any good. And you’re right. It’s not about the hours we spend with them but it’s our mindful parenting that counts.

    Reply

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