3 Ways to Survive ‘Mummy Guilt’
We’ve all been there right – we’ve made a decision, we feel happy about said decision which has been carefully thought out and considered and then BAM….it hits. Mummy guilt.
Let’s face it, no matter what decision you’ve made – whether it’s moving type of feeding from boob to bottle, moving home from London to Birmingham or moving food from brown to wholemeal bread – the likelihood is if you’re a mummy, that you’re going to be feeling some level of guilt over it in some way.
No one told us about this when we were pregnant did they? The level of guilt you feel about EVERYTHING, it seems to just be built into our mummy DNA starting from conception and is a very fine line of “you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t” as I can pretty much guarantee that whatever you decide you’ll feel guilt.
So, here’s my top three ways to try and survive it:
(1) Remind yourself daily of the reasons behind your decision – if you’ve made a particular decision then you have usually done so for a reason. In fact you’ve probably considered it from every angle so remind yourself of those reasons. Daily if you need to, in fact write them down so you can physically see them. It’ll help to reaffirm that you’re making the right decision.
(2) Focus on the positive – list all the great things that your kids and your family will gain.
(3) Think of yourself (for a change) – list the ways in which you will potentially be happier / healthier / better off etc. If there are truely none in this category then reconsider point 1…..is this really a good decision? As it needs to work for everyone, including you.
So now to follow my own logic as an example
If you are a regular reader then you will know that my (latest) mummy guilt is around the fact that with 2 children under 3, I have recently gone back to work. What I now do for work has dramatically changed as I am now self-employed working from home but it does mean that 3 days a week my children are out of the house spending time with their grandparents. For some reason this now makes me feel more guilty than when I worked full time Monday to Friday and often had to travel with work.
(1) We made this decision so that (1) I can follow my passions and do what I love and (hopefully) get to the position where I can earn a good living from it. We made this decision so that (2) I can work part time in a traditional ‘day shift’ sense and then around them in the evenings for the rest of the time when they are in bed and at the weekend. This means they are out with grandparents 3 days a week and with me for the other 4.
(2) The positives of this situation are that: the kids get time with their grandparents and get to build that relationship. The Grandparents get real quality one on one time with the kids without parents around to distract from that, letting them really get to know each other. My husband gets more time with the kids as he does the drop off’s and pick ups at each Grandparents house. The Grandparents get to see my husband more when he drops them off and picks them up. The kids are well cared for with people who love them and actually have a great social life as each set of Grandparents (there are 3) do things such as day trips to museums, zoos and playcentres – lets be honest, the kids are also spoilt rotten by them all! Finally it saves us money as we no longer need to put the kids into nursery 2 days a week saving us around £750 a month.
(3) Finally, how this benefits me is that: I get time to concentrate on making this work. We need to have a second income therefore we have until the end of the year when my redundancy pay will run out to make this work which means that I need to have time to really give this a go and do everything in my power to make this work. As much as I would love to have them with me 100% of the time, that’s not possible when trying to progress 3 seperate business ventures! Finally….does the fact that I get to enjoy a hot cup of coffee three days a week count?!
This little list is a simple one but it helps me keep in mind the reasons why we’re doing this. That even when I’m missing them desperately, having the reasons as to why we’re doing this clear in my mind helps me keep strong and work my way through that guilt.
What about you? What decisions are you feeling guilty about? I hope this little exercise helps manage that guilt and keep it at bay!!