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.
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.
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.