Do you ever feel guilty? Do you feel bad about little things and worry what if you’ve got it wrong? It’s a challenge for many of us mums, it’s not fun and the question is how do we avoid that unexpected motherhood guilt?
No one really warns you about those feelings of guilt that can seem to suddenly bombard us as soon as we give birth to our little ones. I still remember those early days of motherhood, how easy it was to feel bad. How I felt guilty about so many things such as my decision to stop breast-feeding or the odd times I asked my husband to settle our son instead of me. This new weight of responsibility had suddenly been handed to me and alongside my great love for my son came feelings of guilt over many little things and a striving to be perfect.
When we desperately want to get it right in motherhood it is incredibly easy to allow ourselves to feel despondent or even guilty when we feel like we’ve failed. When I stopped breast-feeding I felt overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy that lasted a long time. But in reality the decision was one I made thinking very much of the needs of my son. Was it the right decision for our family, absolutely! Did this stop me feeling bad about it for a long time, unfortunately not.
I still remember talking to a friend in those first few weeks about how I felt bad a lot of the time. I’ll never forget her words:
Feeling bad and worrying about our children doesn’t stop when they leave that baby stage, it continues throughout their whole lives. Even when they grow up and leave home there is still the potential to worry.
Three years on I know how true this is. But the great news is just because you feel bad, or have done up to this point, doesn’t mean you need to continue in it.
We need to remember that we are not perfect and what’s more, we don’t need to be. You will make mistakes as a mum, you will probably look back and have regrets, but when you have loved your children and tried to put them first you’ll have done a great job.
I never want to do a less than perfect job. But here’s the thing: I’m not perfect! I never will be and neither will my parenting. I have to face this and allow myself the freedom to make mistakes. And when I do feel bad or inadequate, I need to remind myself that I am a great mummy, not because I’m perfect, not because I always get it right, but because I love my son with my whole heart and that is more than enough!
Maybe today you feel guilty. Maybe you feel like you’ve made mistakes. Maybe there are decisions you made that you wish you could change. Today you need to remind yourself that if you did your best then that’s enough. Our children don’t need perfect parents, only parents who love them and try their best. Allow yourself grace to try your best and relax in the knowledge you are enough.