Shall we talk about mum guilt? 

Experiencing guilt as a parent/carer/guardian towards your child(ren) is pretty common, I'd probably say it's something us parents experience more often than not but we don't like to reveal it as it could come across that we are maybe ungrateful or struggling. We actually feel guilt for feeling guilty - what's that all about? 

I was taken by surprise at how often I feel the mum guilt, it probably pops up in my head most days and it can be over something so small. It may be popping up more often at the moment because I'm on my last couple of months of maternity leave and I get overwhelmed at how little time we've got left together before he goes off to nursery and I go to work. 

Throughout pregnancy you're given advise from others, whether we ask for it or not, it's up to you whether you want to take it on board or not, however, mum guilt is something that has never popped up in a conversation unless we've brought it up after experiencing it. To this day, I am still wondering why that is the case.

So, what makes me have mum guilt? The list is pretty much never ending but here's a few examples of what goes around in my mind. 

1 - Am I leaving Wilf to play independently for too long? 

2 - Do I spend too much time on my phone, laptop or watching something on TV without Wilf having my full undivided attention? 

3 - Should I have got him out of his cot on a morning as soon as I first start to hear his noises rather than leaving him to chat to himself an extra five or ten minutes? 

4 - He doesn't have a lot of toys, will this affect his development? 

5 - We're still weaning on pouches with the odd finger food, am I lazy? 

6 - Should I have signed up to more baby classes? 

You get the gist. 

Guess what, my answer to all these are; your child needs to play independently as much as they need to play with you and other children. You need a bit of you time and not just in the evenings when your little ones go to bed, is your child happy and safe where they are, if yes then scroll on your phone for five/ten minutes, no one is going think you're a bad parent. What if you're responding to a work email, adding an item onto your shopping list or sharing a video to family and friends of the latest milestone. See what I'm getting at? 

Isn't it crazy how the smallest of things can creat the dreaded mum guilt! We must remember that there's zero competition between parents, what we see online (Instagram is the worst) or from what is mentioned when speaking to fellow mums/dads/carers/guardians, don't let that get to you and make you think you need to be just like them, what has gone wrong? Nothing - plain and simple. Why should we beat ourselves up about it when each baby is different; every milestone reached happens when it happens, there's no specific timeline you must follow - do not feel guilty! 

Now, I'm not here to tell you to never feel guilty, I just want to highlight that it's an emotion we all experience and that's ok. I just want you to know that there's no need to beat yourself up over it or feel guilty for feeling guilty like I said above, we just can't let it get us down. We're all in it together, let's hold each other up and say how amazing we all are at this thing called parenting! 

Alice xxx