We do a pretty amazing job us mums really don’t we? We carry our little bundles of joy to be around for nine months, nurturing them, feeling pretty rotten at times, making sacrifices for the sake of their well-being and rushing around to get ready for their arrival and then when they do finally arrive a lot of that continues to a certain extent and often on a much greater scale.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being a mum and I wouldn’t swap what I do for the world, but for all of the amazing benefits that come with parenting, there is also a lot of hard work and sacrifice along the way too.
One of the hardest things that I have found as a mum is the fact that I often feel guilty. Should I feel guilty? Probably not. Yet, my experience and friendships over the years have shown me that I am certainly not alone in my guilt.
So why do mums generally give themselves such a hard time? I suppose it is that finding the right balance once you have children is quite a tricky process. Someone recently said to me that as women and mothers, the idea of having it all is non-existent. We worry if we work and feel guilty that we are not spending enough time with our children and that we are putting financial gain before their needs. Yet if like me, you are a stay at home mum, that often results in guilt as you know that on one salary the children may not have the same experiences and things that they would if there was more money coming in.
We feel guilty about the food we give them, about the clothes they wear, about the amount of time that they spend in front of the television or games console, schools, friendships, holidays, homework. In fact, you name it and I’m sure that somewhere there will be a mum feeling anxious on that subject.
The fact of the matter is that being a mum is a hard job. It is hard to find that perfect balance when it comes to parenting and realistically, I don’t think that anyone does all of the time. It would be great if babies were born with a lifelong instruction manual, which not only informed you in great detail how to raise that particular child, but also helped with some of the difficult decisions along the way.
It is really important to stop and take a step back. Look at how happy your children are, how well they look, how much they have grown and developed. That is down to the way they have been brought up. As much as my four drive me crazy at times, I look at them sometimes and I am so proud of them and the way that they are growing up as nice, polite lovely people. And, even though it pains me to admit it, that is to a fairly large degree down to me and the time and love that I have invested in them.
So, the next time you are feeling guilty or worried about any aspect of your parenting, stand back and take a long hard look at your children and then smile and tell yourself that you did that. It’s a nice feeling.