Being a Mum is supposed to be the best thing ever and it is , don’t get me wrong but why weren’t we told and why do we suffer under a ton of baggage that comes with it.
First is the fear. Fear of everything, you’re doing it wrong , people touching them , passing something on to them , you can’t protect them. Fear of what the future holds for you both. It is crippling.
Then there is the guilt, oh the guilt , seriously everything you do is laced with it. The big things, going back to work , leaving them with a minder, family member for a day, over night, even a night out. Even the little things, going to have a bath ( an hour away from them in the same house) can be fraught especially if you can hear them crying. You feel guilty for wanting time for yourself, you feel guilty for spending too much time with them and ignoring others, be it family and friends. You feel guilty for not spending enough time with them , including family and friends. How long do you breast feed guilt. Did you breastfeed at all guilt. I know I feel guilty sometimes for even writing this blog. She is asleep and so it’s not , not spending time with her, it’s not catching up on sleep or doing the laundry, prepping dinner , etc.
Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t
The guilt hits you quick too I have found. Especially in the decision you have to make for you and your wee one and your family right from the get go. Bottle vs Breast. Can you ? Will you ? Both have guilt attached to it. So much pressure, opinions ( from HV to well meaning family and friends and mothers to strangers looks in the street). We feel guilty for sitting on the couch with our kids ( sometimes). Of in the early days not doing anything. Not wanting visitors or to even get dressed. Why do we feel guilty for our decision, they are our kids? If they are crying , even a wee one , we apologise to others, especially to shops. We feel guilty about trying to get pushchairs past in tight spaces, we feel guilt for hogging the pavement. Im not saying we are entitled but I do feel guilty for getting on a plane first.
I have witnessed the break down of some Mums with the guilt, especially working Mums. They are dammed if they do dammed if they don’t . Some enjoy work therefore want to work, some need to work but would rather be at home. But trust me being the nanny I’ve watched Mums ( of all financial situations and dispositions ) battle every day with the guilt. One said, when she was at home , all she wanted to be was at work and then when at work all she wanted was home. She could not stop thinking of all the things happen in the place she was not, it was unbearable. And she worked because she wanted to, not needing the money as such. So for a Mum ‘forced’ to face this juxtaposition it must be hell. I am in a position with my job that I will keep my wee one with me while I work, no point looking after others children and sending mine off to another. I have no support network of family here to ease that separation. So I work with my baby on hip as such.
But the pressure is enormous and put on us by us and others from the moment we become Mums, like working as far up to giving birth as we can , to keep bosses happy or not have to go back as soon. And we feel like we have to hide it, like Elsa says Don’t let them in , don’t let them see, be the good girl ( Mum ) you always have to be , conceal don’t feel, don’t let them know. But I say , ( like Elsa again) Let it go ……. Talk about it, air it out, say it out loud and others will chime in and you will find we are all in this together and I know it isn’t each other that is giving the stares in shops or tuts just out of earshot or the perceived and real judgemental looks.
I say take back our Mother badges, take those parking spaces, make people move in shops, cafes and on the pavement ! And to hell with them if our wee one is expressing them selves, they are a tiny human and no we are not any less of a Mother if we can’t comfort them instantly. If we choose for the sake of our sanity to stop breast feeding or never started. When or if we go back to work so we can give our kids all the things they need and some they want in the world.
Try not to give a fuck. Breast feed in public with your boob out proudly ! And if you are not strong enough and there is no judgement here, some level of guilt will get you as such , I have found just embrace it. Jump in the pool, swim around in the guilt and get all pruny. It’s not going away because it is all in our heads ( and we know it ) but just can’t shake it.
Embrace the not feeling good enough. Let it work through you and with the support and love of all the other guilty Mums out there it will get better. I promise.