I don’t get mum guilt. There, I said it.
I don’t feel guilty for the choices I have made as a parent. I refuse to give in to mum guilt.
Here are some things that I don’t feel guilty for:
The fact that I don’t feel guilty doesn’t make me a bad parent or mean that I don’t care. Although I don’t feel guilty about these things, I do reflect on them and ask myself if I can/should do them any differently:
I often wonder if people get ‘guilt’ confused with ‘self-reflection’. Self reflection is a good thing. It can help us grow and improve. But just because we might do things differently next time doesn’t mean we should feel guilty for how they played out the first time around. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Guilt is defined as ‘the fact of having committed a specified or implied offence or crime.’ This implies that there is a right way to parent; but who is responsible for deciding what is the ‘right’ way to parent anyway?
It seems to me that most ‘mum guilt’ centres around an expectation of what a mother ‘should’ look like. Most parents would agree that raising children is the the most important job in the world. If this is the case, why do we let people who don’t know us, who have never lived a day in our shoes, or better yet, have never raised a child themselves, have any say in how we raise our children? Why do we let ourselves feel guilty because of unattainable and, in any case, conflicting, expectations from society?
Have you noticed that there are always two sides to every ‘mum guilt’ trip:
… and on it goes.
I refuse to give in to society’s expectations as to how I should raise my daughter. Being a parent is tough enough without the weight of the world looking in. No one is perfect. We’re all on the same roller coaster; learning every day and doing the best we can.
The one piece of advice I would give to mothers it to let go of the guilt. Stop comparing yourself to others. Just do you. You don’t need to justify your parenting decisions to anyone else and you certainly don’t need to feel guilty for them.
If you feel guilty because you’ve made a choice you aren’t happy with, change it! Don’t let feeling guilty let you off the hook from making change. If you feel guilty because you’ve made a choice that goes against what society tells you you should do, let it go. Look at your kids. Are they happy and healthy? Do you provide them with love, comfort, security and fun? If the answer is yes, I doubt you have much to feel guilty about.