Guilty mum, there’s no need to feel guilty

A single, and guilty mum.  That’s me.

I juggle a lot.  Before I go on about how busy I am I should say that this is my choice.  Okay, the options aren’t vast.  I have to work to pay the mortgage, the bills and to feed and clothe us. 

You could also argue that I chose to become a single mum.  I was the one who left.  Again the alternative wasn’t great.  Spend the rest of your life in a rubbish relationship, or leave and be happy on your own.  It was a no-brainer and definitely the right decision. 

It am not moaning.  I have not been dealt a cruel hand.  I am happy with my lot.  Perhaps this is why I always feel guilty. 

guilty mum

I feel guilty for going to work.

I am a guilty mum because Cygnet’s life is split between Daddy time and Mummy time because we are separated.

I feel guilty because I didn’t identify his reflux as a baby (he used to projectile vomit after most feeds –  the clues were most definitely there).

I feel guilty for wishing that he would just fall asleep in the evening so that I can crack open a bottle of wine.

I am a guilty mum because he has too much iPad time.

I feel guilty because he will never have siblings.   

I am a guilty mum because I don’t give him enough home-cooked food.

I feel guilty because I enjoy my time without Cygnet. I can go to wine bars, read books, get my nails done, write my blog. 

I feel guilty because I bribe him to go to nursery with a Yoyo Bear (you know those rolls of compressed jam like stuff that claim to be one of your child’s five a day).

I am a guilty mum every single day.

guilty mum

I would never have predicted that guilt would be so integral to motherhood.  Fay Weldon said that “guilt is to motherhood like grapes to wine”.  She was right.

I was a guilty mum long before Cygnet was born.  It started as soon as I saw the smily face on the pregnancy test.  I felt guilty about having had a few too many glasses of wine a couple of nights before.    

The guilt continued throughout pregnancy.  I didn’t want to do anything to harm the foetus growing inside me…and I felt  guilty when I did.  I felt guilty for not having a full meal.  I felt guilty for working long hours.  I felt guilty for lifting a book shelf.  I felt guilty for forgetting my vitamins. 

I am a guilty mum because I am human. 

When I think things through logically I know that I don’t need to feel guilty. 

I know that I am a better mother to Cygnet because I work.  Work is part of my identity and important for my own personal fulfilment.  I miss Cygnet during the day, but this makes me cherish the time with him more. 

I know that I am a better mother because I separated from my ex.  I am happier and children pick up on happiness.  I am able to be me and I think children benefit from authentic parenting.

I know that Cygnet needs to go to sleep earlier.  Sleep is good for him.  Wine is good for me.  No guilt required at bedtime. 

I know that I wouldn’t be able to get to work in the mornings without the help of the iPad.  He doesn’t have that much iPad time all told.

I know that my ‘me’ time makes me appreciate our ‘us’ time more.

I know that nursery one day a week is good for him and the Yoyo Bear won’t do him any harm.

To all my fellow guilty mums out there.  Please can we stop feeling guilty.  Please can we stop comparing ourselves to others.  Please can we stop comparing our children to others.  We are all doing the best that we can.  None of us can live up to our unrealistic expectations of ourselves.  We should follow our good instincts and recognise that it’s okay to make mistakes. 

We are all human and it is our human nature that makes us great mothers. 

Accidental Hipster Mum
Pink Pear Bear
The Ordinary Moments

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. February 27, 2017 / 8:48 am

    It is so easy to feel guilty for everything when the little ones are involved! I know what you mean – I feel guilty when I’m writing instead of playing, and guilty that I’m not a outdoorsy parent. Thank you for writing this 🙂

    • thesingleswan
      February 27, 2017 / 9:05 pm

      Thanks for your comment Becki. There is no need to feel guilty. You are great just the way you are. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      February 27, 2017 / 9:04 pm

      No worries

  2. February 27, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    It is so easy to feel guilty as a parent but I think that makes us good parents x #RV&HT

    • thesingleswan
      February 27, 2017 / 10:16 pm

      Very true. Pen x

  3. February 27, 2017 / 9:51 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. Yes guilt has powerful talons but instead of being the voice of our conscience, is ofter the voice of carers from our childhood. Stay strong i’m sure you’re doing a great job. ps ( ipads are the saviour of humanity) jo #bigpinklink

    • thesingleswan
      February 27, 2017 / 10:15 pm

      Thanks for your comment Jo. Pen x

  4. February 27, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    We can all relate to this, I feel guilty about the most minor things all the time. But it’s definitely a sign that we are good parents that we care so much! X

    • thesingleswan
      February 28, 2017 / 9:27 pm

      I totally agree. If we were all carrying on without reflection on how we are parenting then we wouldn’t be very good parents at all. Pen x

  5. March 1, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    What a heartfelt post. Mummy guilt is the worst no matter what situation you are in you will find a reason to berate yourself. Sounds like you are a strong, independant mother teaching your daughter all the right things she will need to grow up to be a stong independant lady. #brilliantblogposts

    • thesingleswan
      March 2, 2017 / 9:56 pm

      That’s lovely of you to say Pam. Thank you. Pen x

  6. March 2, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    I can completely relate to this. I was a guilty mum when I was on my own and I’m a guilty mum now I’m coupled. Some days when the tot won’t sleep and the big one is boisterous, I look forward to getting them to bed so I can enjoy some peace. Then when they’re in bed, I can’t enjoy the rest because I worry I didn’t spend enough time with them!

    #RVHT Thanks for linking up! x
    Jenny (Accidental Hipster Mum) recently posted…Views, Reviews & How-Tos Linky: Week 3My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 2, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      There is no right answer is there? I reckon you’re a great mum. Loads of love. Pen x

  7. March 2, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    I’m not a single mum, but I am seperated from my daughters father and even though my partner is an excellent parent, most of the decisions, and therefore all of the guilt are on me and it’s really tough! Now I’m just like, if I’m happy, then she’s happy, and we can just get along without the guilt. SO don’t need it! #RV&HT

    • thesingleswan
      March 2, 2017 / 9:53 pm

      Hi Kat,

      that must be really tough too. Being a parent is tough generally. Tough, but rewarding and fun. Pen x

  8. March 2, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    Brilliant post, I’m struggling with this a lot at the moment! x

    • March 2, 2017 / 9:42 pm

      PS #brilliantblogposts is where i found you 🙂

    • thesingleswan
      March 2, 2017 / 9:52 pm

      There’s no need to struggle Kerry. You’re a great mum. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      March 2, 2017 / 9:57 pm

      Thank you. Pen x

  9. March 3, 2017 / 8:54 am

    I think it’s natural to have that mum guilt and I think it’s healthy – we have to question the decisions we make and look at our we could do things better. Otherwise, we wouldn’t always be striving to do the best for our children – if that makes sense. But, as long as we feel the guilt and move on from it each time, get past it, then it won’t consume us. We definitely need to let go of the guilt at some point x
    Donna recently posted…Heat, Larders and World Book Day #LittleLovesMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 4, 2017 / 4:15 pm

      You are right, a bit of Mum guilt makes us become better parents. It is when it becomes overwhelming that it is detrimental. Pen x

  10. March 3, 2017 / 9:08 am

    I love this so much… I have written too recently on both the topics of Mom guilt and comparing to others… it is so easily done and completely detrimental even though we just can’t help it! It does seem like a massive part of motherhood and with this means that we all know everyone feels it… everyone is muddling through doing the very best she can! Time to stop. Quite right <3 #brilliantblogposts

    • thesingleswan
      March 4, 2017 / 4:14 pm

      Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Pen x

  11. March 3, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    Boo to the Mum guilt! I have always felt terrible because it took me an entire year to work out that my son was lactose intolerant and it wasn’t just reflux. He’s 4 now and I still feel guilty! Thanks for joining us at the #bigpinklink
    Louise Pink Pear Bear recently posted…Anita and Me at the Everyman Theatre – A reviewMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 4, 2017 / 4:13 pm

      Don’t feel guilty. You’ve figured it out now. It is really difficult to diagnose. Pen x

  12. March 8, 2017 / 4:19 pm

    Another amazing post. Can relate to this so much. I feel guilty all the time – for spending too much time on my phone, giving ‘unhealthy food’, going back to work…the list goes on.

    Nicola | Mummy to Dex recently posted…Soundtrack of My LifeMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 8, 2017 / 10:16 pm

      Thank you Nicola, I am glad you liked the post. Find me a mum who doesn’t feel guilty a lot of the time! Take care. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      March 12, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      Hi Madeline, this is very true. Cygnet won’t remember his reflux, which I am very grateful for, because I remember it very well. Thanks for your comment. Pen x

  13. March 12, 2017 / 11:57 pm

    Oh god! I have been there so many times.. And still am! and this list! What about all the stuff you do well? Is your little one still alive and happy most of the time? Job done! I don’t know why we feel like putting so much pressure on ourselves all the time. But great post. I am sure many other mamans felt the same… Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.
    the frenchie mummy recently posted…Little Cooks Co Review & GiveawayMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 13, 2017 / 10:07 pm

      Thank you. Yes, you are right. If you know your child is fed, watered, clean, and happy some of the time you are absolutely winning. Pen x

  14. March 18, 2017 / 12:25 am

    Yes, far too much guilt. I always feel guilty about everything! #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      March 18, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Pen x

  15. Kath
    October 13, 2017 / 6:06 am

    I too am in the same situation with you. I left my husband, we have a 3 year old son. Its just almost 2 months since I moved back to my parents with my son. Most of the time I feel guilty for wanting a peaceful alone life without him, since there are fights we had after our separation where in he blames me for not wanting to get back to him and having a broken family. He has been verbally and emotionally abusive to me since we were married. The decision that made me leave him was when I found out he had an affair and a 2year old daughter and Im all done with his temper and blackmailing and Im so scared he might get violent against me and my child. Now I am co parenting with him, and I feel so guilty that I am not with my son during his daddy time. And most of the time he is so offensive to talk to. I admire you for being civil with your ex, i hope someday I can be in that situation.

    • thesingleswan
      October 13, 2017 / 9:24 pm

      Hi Kath,

      I hope you are okay. It is monumentally tough to start with. I’d like to say that it gets easier quickly. it does get easier, but certainly not quickly. Three years from now things will be better, but the next couple of years could be bumpy.

      The one thing that kept me going was reminding myself that I could have been married to this guy for the rest of my life. I had a lucky escape. Every time i saw my ex, his actions validated my decision to leave him.

      Stay strong. Be nice to yourself. Remember to find time for you and treat yourself.

      I you ever want to get in contact you can email me at

      Take care
      Pen x

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