Hello there and welcome back to my little slice of me-ness. I've been a mother now for precisely 4 months and 4 days and of those 16 and a half weeks I have been stuck in on lockdown for 12. Now this might trigger a "boohoo we all are" mindset in some but let me explain to you in easy terms WHY this is so shit. MUM GUILT. If you have kids you know mum guilt, even if they piss you off and you want to put them in the bin most days, mum guilt will have you feeling guilty for wanting to go and have a poo as your body requires because your kids might cry whilst you're gone up stairs. Mum guilt will see you run that bubble bath and SNATCH it right from underneath you because you don't deserve 20 minutes alone, your baby didn't ask to be born how dare you be so selfish. Honestly that's not me judging us, that's mum guilt! So lets talk more about it, and while we're on the subject we'll try and make it disappear... just a little enough to have a cuppa with out putting it down and getting up to do them bottles, HAVE YOUR COFFEE YOU NEED IT!
Okie dokie, so first of all I dom't want to sit and talk about this without giving it a human name and why? Because to me mum guilt isn't just a "thing" it's a voice in my head. Honestly I swear since becoming a mum I now have a permanent resident in there telling me how bad a mother I am for wanting to do the simplest of things that I should even give a second thought to. I'm calling the bitch Susan! Why Susan you may ask? Because Susan doesn't care about upsetting the shop assistant if it means looking big and clever in front of people, she just wants to get to the boss and get her fucking expired coupon honoured that's why! Unfortunately for us, we're the crying shop assistant at this point. (Side note, I once was kicked off on by a customer when I worked in retail for going on my break, apparently it was rude because we were busy.... eh suck a fat one love). I'm not saying you're weak by any stretch trust me to live with Susan in your head 24/7 whilst maintaining some sort of social sanity you are so strong! Susan is a cunt. Say it with me. Also, sorry if your name is Susan, but, you know what I'm sayin 😂.
You time. Your time is absorbed when you have a baby, it's absorbed by everything you can AND can't do. Ot's absorbed by guilt and stress and what's more is you don't even feel entitled to your own time. Often I have sat and wished for 2 hours alone, but with COVID on the loose I think no I can't if the baby gets sick because I wanted some me time I wont be able to live with myself. I can't have time because I have a family, I can't have time because when I decided I was having my baby I threw away my right to me time. If I do something for me that's one less thing for him. See where I'm going here? 2 weeks ago I went to buy some makeup brushes for £26 including P&P absolute bargain, put them in the basket on the Morphe site and was POUNDED in the face with mum guilt. Yep, Susan popped up the cunt, "aw you can't buy that you haven't got the baby clothes this week" and with that I was berated by flashing images in my head of my poor baby smiling wearing ragged, grey clothes and I felt like crying. So I went onto the River Island site, spent £50 on 2 little outfits, one of which may I add, was the next size up and wont fit him for another 3 months AT LEAST, so he got 2 new outfits and my brushes are still in the basket because I can't find myself to part with that money. You won that round Susan you ever nagging, mushroom headed prick. But I decided no! I constantly put myself last when it comes to the baby, I mean the amount of times I've scalded myself making his bottles because I'm nervous due to him crying because I'm not within direct eye line of him or almost pissed myself because I am dying for the toilet and he's asleep but I know the second I reach that top stair I will hear that all to familiar high pitched squeal of "where is my mummy" radiating from my infants mouth is absolutely astounding. So I deserve some of my own time, just time to be human and breathe, time to think, to blog, to work out, to fucking just be me. I earned the right to my own time the day I was born. I always tell people "you'll be no use to anyone if you're sick, so put yourself first in order to put them first" because I've always known that's how selfless people are wired, you HAVE to put it in a way that them helping themselves helps others, and now I find myself giving myself the same speech and you know what, it works because it's applicable. So repeat after me YOU DESERVE GUILT FREE YOU TIME!
Baby mile stones, you best be here for them ALL. OK let me just say STOP! I've been here every single day, morning, noon and night for the last 4+ months, I've been lucky enough to see the big milestones, however I've still missed things. Let me say, I've been literally confined to a space with my son and boyfriend for 4 months due to lockdown, my boyfriend shops, we stay here, we go for walks as a family, baby wakes through the night, I'm the one to wake with him becah
use that's how I decided it was going to be, mainly due to my grating anxiety. But I have STILL missed things. For instance when my boyfriend has mornings with the baby I've missed him chuckling which I am always so desperate to see and hear (it gives me life), I've missed him talking to the tele and gabbing away to my fella, again something I LOVE to see, first time my son played with certain toys and laughed I missed it amongst other things I missed for the first time because my boyfriend will take little risks that I wont (nothing strenuous just the likes of shoulder rides). My point is if I can miss things locked in confinement with my infant son with nowhere to go and nothing to do, anyone can. I'm not advising it but what I AM saying is, don't feel guilty for missing things you can't control, the important thing is your baby is still doing these things and you will still get YOUR first experience with them even if it isn't theirs. Babies love attention, so when I well up and clap a lot every time my son laughs or rolls over because I'm still SO proud, he loves it and we share that look, the little look they develop if 'wow, I did good are you REALLY clapping for me?' And only you and your baby will share that. At least then they will always know they could show anyone the first time but growing up they KNOW they can always come to mum and she will never get tired of their tricks and abilities, mummy will be there, cheering you on, every, single, time. So don't feel guilty, cut yourself some slack, the milestones are still there and so are you, but life happens.
Work and miss out on baby, or stay at home mum and have less to spend on your child. Oh how I've heard this ten thousand times over! I work in an industry that is primarily female, or at least my office is. So the amount of times I have heard "I can't wait to get back to work for some adult conversation and to make some money" swiftly followed when they return by "ugh I feel so guilty, they must be wondering where is mummy". And honestly I get it. I'm not going to preach feminism or anything this post isn't focusing on that, but as women, especially mothers we are shamed for absolutely every single thing we do, every choice we make and every step we take. This adds to our ever growing anxiety and guilt on the matter. For evert stay at home mum, there are a thousand people telling her "stop being lazy, get a job" and for evert working mum there is a hoard of people screaming "you should be ashamed of yourself, why have a baby if you aren't going to raise them properly yourself" and believe me I've been faced by both questions. I was considering returning to work but quickly decided with COVID, my anxiety and the fact that I'll NEVER get to do these years again with my baby I'm going to take as much time off to focus on being a mum, that is MY decision. I'm quite new agey, I'm a modern, independent woman who doesn't need to explain my decisions to anyone as far as I am concerned. And neither does anyone else. I wont feel guilty for not working, for a decade I have worked and stressed and been bled dry by this governments tax system, I've struggled and spent more time at work than I have living and I'm refusing to put my child second to that. While I have the option to not work, I'll be taking it because that is what's best for ME. I advise you do what is best for you and don't feel guilty for it. You can work and be a brilliant mum, you can stay at home and be a brilliant mum, you can part time or study and be a brilliant mum it's all down to YOUR personal circumstance and YOUR path. Repeat after me WORK OR NOT I AM A BRILLIANT MUM. Let the nay sayers sit in the stables where they belong. You got this mama 💪.
Mother to a boy, are you teaching him how to respect boundaries and be a feminist or are you molly coddling him so much he will automatically sterotype every woman? Oh my goodness I wont lie, this thought has flitted through my mind more times than I'd like to count. I am a feminist so teaching my son to respect everyone the same is the height of importance to me. I don't want to hear any sexist jokes in my house, because I feel it normalises it. Don't get me wrong I know there will be the odd one because comedy comes from life it is what it is, but it wont be encouraged and I know my boyfriend isn't the sexist type, I call him dad mum for goodness sake he does everything housework wise. But I'm wracked with guilt for my sons future, will women or girls think they can get away with more because he's a boy? Will he be hit by females and not hit back because he is plagued by 'you're a sissy' and 'men don't hit women' because I won't allow that either. No one has the right to hurt anyone but I'm certainly not naive to the world and how violent it is. I'll be raising my son to defend himself no matter the gender, you can't scream for equality and then cry when it smacks you back. But yes I am wracked with mum guilt over this, I think about it a lot. Should I feel guilty for what I can't control? I shouldn't but I do. I'll be raising my boy to be as respectful as I can to everyone although I will feel guilty when I say 'sister solidarity' knowing I have a boy I love more than any person that could ever step foot in this planet, and I know a LOT of boy mums feel this way too. Mother to a girl, are you teaching her how to stand up for herself and be outspoken knowing her rights to equality and fighting for them or are you just forcing her to take on something that she shouldn't have to think about? I've known girl mums to feel guilty for both of these and I get it. But look, life is difficult, women do need to learn to defend ourselves because as heart breaking as it is, bad people will always exist, I would much rather have the knowledge and not have to use it than need it and not have it. We shouldn't have to think about it, and I know how guilty some mums feel because they have raised their daughters telling them "you can't wear that" for fear of older men preying on them and sexualising them when all their daughters want to do is wear a lretty outfit or express themselves with clothing, it's very difficult to bring up a woman saying "you own your body, no one has the right to objectify you" whilst simultaneously saying "no that skirt is far too short people could get the wrong idea or touch you up" it's such a horrible, guilty feeling. I've spoken to a good few girl mums over it, it's almost as if you feel responsible for having to stifle your daughters individuality and innocence because of the perverse and aggressive nature if some others and I get it, trust me I do. Of everything I've said, I'm learning with you that we can't control the world. But we can't feel guilty all the time, it takes away the magic of all we can enjoy with out little ones. Repeat after me I WONT FEEL GUILTY FOR WHAT I CAN'T CONTROL! Keep that magic mama 😉.
I'll make this my last mum guilt point. Clean the house and let the baby cry or let the house be messy and be judged by everyone because you chose to settle your baby? Oh dear, I have 2 close friends who have babies the same age as mine and we each have this thought. So, I feel guilty because I hate my son crying and feeling like he feels unimportant, so I'm plagued with guilt when I have to leave the room to clean, I'm then over taken by fear and anxiety as the guilt morphs into horrible thoughts if 'what if he stops breathing and I'm out here' or 'what if he jumps off the couch' like, he can't crawl or sit up unaided but yes he can do a full 360 mid air triple back flip off the couch, but this is how my fragile mind works these days. But then when I see him doing tummy time and I look and see he has grabbed some fluff off the floor I'm plagued with mum guilt and up pops Susan with her fucking side fringe lord farquad bob, and judgemental hand gestures 'you're leaving your baby living in squalor, how dare you, unfit mum, everyone elses homes are pristine, they can get it all done why can't you, you should be ashamed of yourself' and I do. For those small moments I feel terrible, I think Oh no, my baby will be that kid in school that looks unkept and scruffy because I don't clean everything top to bottom. But then I snap out of it and think hang the fuck on, my house is clean and tidy, he grabbed some fluff, when I was his age I ate dirt for goodness sake! I spent my childhood climbing trees and rolling around the floor in the middle of the street. I virtually rip a chunk of Susans perfectly streaked hair because she's a creature of annoying habit and hasn't changed her hairstyle since the late 90's, I smirk, tell her I'm a good mum and I get on with my day. In all honesty things do play out quite like this, I'm a visual person and if I kick the doubting mum guilt voices arse I know I'm a good mum. If not it's my conscience and I go with it. My son is happy, so my house isn't immaculate so what, it's a home not a show room and I don't want my baby growing up feeling like he has to be pristine. My son will more than likely be messier than I was and I'm making my peace with that. I'm giving myself some sanity, so repeat after me ladies I'M A GOOD MUM, MY HOUSE IS A HOME NOT A SHOW ROOM.
The way I see it, if your baby is safe, happy and healthy, you're doing the best you can... you are a great mum. And odds are if you worry, you're a fantastic mum because worrying means you care! Have faith in yourself and tell Susan to fuckoff unless she's bringing the gin she isn't necessary. We all have our Susan's, we're gifted them from the day we find out we're pregnant, but it isn't you, it's the anxiety and societal pressure. Trust me, we all know that mum guilt is real, it's what keeps us grounded and sometimes it's a good thing. But don't let it consume you, because next thing you know you'll be getting a bob and calling out other women on mum groups for being bad mums for missing an antinatal class. (I joke).
You do you but remember you're a great mum, feel free to complain you earned that right. And in case no one else is telling you, I will, you're doing amazing mama!!!
Until next time don't be a stranger and stay safe.
💙 Much Love 💖