1. How to deal with ‘mummy guilt’
As a mum, knowing that your child has spent most of the day crying is heartbreaking and enough to make you start doubting yourself and your decisions. My daughter cried for most of the day at nursery because she has just moved classes and is spending full days with people she hasn’t quite gotten used to yet. She’s doing this because I am going back to work next week. I made that decision. I took her to nursery this morning, I had to explain to her why I was leaving her there and then I walked out with her still screaming “Mamma!!!!!!” – How painful and cruel is that? I’m probably the person she trusts the most in the world and I left her, crying.
I know I’m not the first person to go through this. But this is the first time that I really questioned whether or not I was doing the best thing for my child. Is a job really worth my little girl being distraught (even if it is only temporary) and wondering why her mummy isn’t responding to her cries for comfort? Are my priorities right? Should I really be paying the nursery to do my job so that I can go and do another job? So many questions run through your mind because you feel GUILTY.
But how about these questions…
- Should I feel guilty for getting off my backside and providing for my children?
- Should I feel guilty for wanting the best possible future for my family?
- Or should I feel guilty for sending my daughter to a place where she will be safe, make friends, learn and have fun?
I would say the answer to all of those questions is NO.
If you are able to take yourself out of the situation emotionally for a minute and question the facts instead of questioning yourself; the answer will become clear. Other people might tell you that you are doing that right thing, but that doesn’t help if YOU don’t believe it. My heart will always tell me to go running to my princess if she needs me. But on this occasion I have to go with my head and THAT is OK because ultimately I am trying to do my best for her. So whenever that pang of mummy guilty sets in just ask yourself:
‘Am I trying to do my best?’
If the answer is ‘yes’ then put that guilt to rest.
2. How to lower my standards
A few weeks ago I was complaining and getting really overwhelmed about the state of the house because no matter what I do it ends up looking sh*t. I have learned to accept mess so toys everywhere doesn’t bother me as much. But DIRT… I can’t deal with. My partner’s suggestion:
“Why don’t you just lower your standards?”
Initially, when I heard those words I wanted to put my fist through the phone and punch him in the throat! (I was very hormonal, I’m not normally that aggressive.) How is that a solution? Am I all of a sudden supposed to be ok with finding 3 day old food under the sofa? Do I just starting liking dust?
I thought about getting a cleaner, but to be honest unless she moves in there isn’t much point. My daughter alone can undo housework – in her sleep. I could get up earlier but that would just mean that I don’t actually ever sleep and would probably collapse. It took me a few days to realise that my partner might actually be right. I needed to accept that with 2 small children things were bound to change. I needed to change my perspective. The dust, crumbs and sticky finger prints weren’t the problem – they’re so happy to be here that they just keep on coming back.
I WAS THE PROBLEM (me and my bloody standards). So I gave it a go and below is an example of one of my new lowered standards.
0 kids = floor is always clean
1 kid = the floor sometimes gets dirty but is still cleaned daily
2 kids = the floor is never clean. It gets cleaned properly about twice a week plus maybe a sweep here and there. Must verbally declare when I have hoovered and mopped otherwise no-one would ever know and they’d just assume that I spent my whole day on Facebook.
Don’t get me wrong, I still feel tension in my jaw when I spot something that needs cleaning or sorting out. But I have learned that it won’t kill us if it doesn’t get done right away and I definitely don’t need to cry about it! Life is too short and I just need to relax and do what I can, when I can. So far, It’s going OK…
What internal challenges have you faced since becoming a parent?