I am not a perfect mum, and I don’t care if you are either! In fact I’d rather you not be, because if you are then ‘the perfect mum’ exists, and that would scare the crap out of every mum everywhere! The only thing that keeps me from being consumed in ‘mummy guilt’ is the thought that other mums are screwing things up as much as I do! They are right?
Did you know that the urban dictionary defines mum guilt as “guilt a mother feels anytime she takes time to do something for herself, outside of work, that does not involve her children.” Actually I think Mum Guilt actually could be defined by way more things than that! Can I just point out that I did type in ‘dad guilt’ and the Urban Dictionary said ‘they don’t have a definition for that’, which kind of sucks as dads do feel guilty too. For the sake of this post I am writing from my own perspective as a mum, but believe me I know dad guilt is just as real.
Do I consider myself a good mum? Yes I do. I feed them, clean for them, listen to them even when they are boring me by naming every Pokémon that exists, that’s like over 800 by the way! I hug them, I put Band-Aids on cuts that are so tiny I can’t see, I clean up vomit, and I love them so much my heart feels like it may burst!
How can we ever define the perfect mum anyway? We all have different thoughts on how to raise our children, so what one person would define a perfect mum as, the next person wouldn’t. There is some that believe we should home-school, some who believe private school is the only answer, then we have co-ed, or single sex schools. We have some who believe religious teaching is at the top of the list and others who don’t believe in religion. We have those who believe kids should play in the dirt and others who wipe every surface down with hospital grade disinfectant. Some mums believe they should be home with their kids, and others who believe working is the best example to set their children. You can’t win!
So why do we become so consumed with mum guilt? No matter what our beliefs are we want to do better than our best! We love our kids and we don’t want to screw them up. We don’t want them to miss out on things we wish we could have experienced. We want to protect them from the things that hurt us. We want them to experience the joy of the things we found joy in. I’m guilty of this, we all are. Then we also want to have some time for us that isn’t all about them, but we brought them into the world so we feel responsible to do everything for them at all times. We don’t ever want them to feel we are not there, or that they aren’t our priority, we never want to see them sick, hurt or sad, we want to protect them from everything! But we can’t, so we feel we fail them over and over, and we feel guilty. Yes it is a vicious cycle. It seems no matter how much we get told not to feel mum guilt, we still do!
So can we ever really shake off mum guilt? Maybe not? Maybe it is the thing that keeps us looking after them, like some deep primal animalistic instinct? The mum guilt makes us strive to do the very best we can. After all we want our genes to carry on, it is our basic instinct. But gosh it can feel awful feeling guilty all the time, surely we don’t have to put up with beating ourselves up over our so called “mummy imperfections”?
Anyway I am just thinking out loud here. I don’t have the answer, but what I think is maybe a little mummy guilt is OK if it makes us good mums, but we have to have our own definition of what makes a good mum and stop the ridiculous comparisons with every other mum. We especially need to not compare ourselves with the portrayal of mums on commercials, or those who only ever post on social media the perfect posed photos with their toned bodies, and their pristine homes, and pristine child in their designer outfits and the perfect quote that accompanies these images about how magical every moment of motherhood is. Don’t get me wrong motherhood is magical! I feel completely blessed with my life, and I love pretty Instagram feeds, I even post pretty pictures, but I am not going to try and live up to those unrealistic standards and neither should you.
So where to go from here? Be yourself, have realistic expectations of yourself and of parenthood, know that perfection really doesn’t exist, love your kids, love yourself. If you believe that parenthood is getting on top of you then seek help, you don’t have to do it all alone. We need to be supporting one another instead of competing with one another, and being bitchy. Surround yourself with other parents that aren’t so judgemental and be open minded about the way others raise their families. We don’t all have to fit one mould to be described as good parents.
Just love your kids, and be happy to hang out with other mums and have a laugh about our parenting imperfections, after all, we all have them.
Love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Thanks for joining me, love Mackenzie xx
Come and link up with me every Monday for #mg linky, any posts old or new welcome!
You can also link up with me every Thursday for #ablogginggoodtime.
Hope to see you!