Mum guilt is a term that I was familiar with, even before I became a Mum. I would hear work colleagues talk about this overwhelming feeling of guilt. This guilt would rear its ugly head when their kids were perhaps off school on half term or had a tummy bug and were packed off to a grand parent’s house or a child minder while they had to come to work. Pre-child, I used to think this was ridiculous, a grown woman sitting at her desk sniffling into a Kleenex hanky, completely racked with guilt, “sure they are being well looked after, you will be O.k”. I can’t believe I actually said this out loud to those Mums, I’m lucky I didn’t get punched in the face.
Slowly I’ve come to realise how crippling Mum guilt actually feels, the heavy feeling, the nagging voice, the sinking feeling, the doubting of ones parenting. .
I have also learned that Mum guilt is complex. It takes many forms. The other day for instance I realised I was getting low on some make-up supplies, so I headed off to buy some bits and bobs. Make-up costs a bloody fortune, but pre baby this didn’t even cross my mind. Payday came and I rushed into town, feeling like an Arabian princess because I’d just been paid, buying new clothes, makeup, basically whatever I wanted. As I stood in line the other day, waiting for the cashier to ring in my purchases this voice in my head began to nag. “Do you really need this mascara?” “You’re only buying 4 tiny items and it’s going to cost you 50 quid!” “Should you really be spending this money on yourself?” “You could buy your daughter something nice with this!” “This would take Eden on a day trip” I felt guilty for spending my hard earned cash on myself!!!! What have I become?
Then my mind began to drift back to childhood, I would see my Mum pondering over a pair of shoes, trying them on, looking in the mirror, smiling and saying how lovely they looked. JUST TO SET THEM BACK!!!! I could never understand why she did that, that is of course until now. She had the money it wasn’t that, it was the lurking feeling of Mum guilt that stopped her from buying something for herself