Let’s talk about mum guilt. Hands up who has had that sinking feeling of guilt where you feel that you’re not giving enough, doing enough and/or being enough to someone…. Your kids, your spouse, your employer, or yourself?
The good news is, you’re not alone! The bad news… yep you guessed it. You’re not alone! Mum guilt is something that many (all?) mums feel at some point throughout their time as a mother and it can show up in many ways. Perhaps it stems from choices you’ve made around needing (or wanting) to work and the very real struggle of juggling these commitments alongside being a mum. Perhaps it is due to pursuing other activities such as study, or sport, or from putting your children into childcare, or for not making homemade meals each night.
Whatever the cause of your mum guilt, one thing is true. It often results in a feeling that either not enough time is being spent with our children, or that we haven’t made the “right” choices and our children may suffer as a result leaving us with an overwhelming sense of guilt. Mum guilt can have a variety of different effects on both you as a mum and your family. These effects can be small, or they can be large. Let’s take a look at a few of the different effects that mum guilt can have.
Mum guilt can affect your presence and how attentive you are to different tasks and events throughout the day. Because of the amount of things, you have on your plate, the guilt you have for being so busy and the simple feeling of overwhelm.
Mum guilt can make you feel like you are not fully committed when you are at work. And it can make you feel like you should be more present and involved when you are with your children. So basically you may feel like you are failing on all fronts. Yep, we said it, because often it is how many of us feel. HOWEVER it does not mean that this is true.
A way to help with this is by setting out a routine and timetable or compartmentalising different aspects of your life where you give yourself permission to focus on just what is in front of you. Or, you may decide to implement some self-governed rules, for example, no checking of emails between certain hours. It may seem over the top or too organised. However, by having set times that you do things, you can help ensure that you are getting quality time with your children, where you can all enjoy yourselves.
Mum guilt can take its toll on your mental health and your overall well-being. The feeling of guilt can be caused by not spending enough time with your children. For putting them into daycare. Or from not being able to attend various events with them due to work commitments.
This guilt can then add extra stress and anxiety into your every day life, or it may even cause levels of depression.
The effects of mum guilt on your mental health can be significant.
If you do feel that your mental health is suffering, it is important to talk to someone, perhaps a trusted friend or family member, or a professional. In some instances hearing another perspective may do wonders for how your feeling, or perhaps advice from a professional will help ensure that you have strategies in place to help you manage how you are feeling.
Your family life may suffer if your mum guilt starts to take a hold.
Children seem to have a wonderful sense of intuition and the ability to take on our emotions. They can often sense when we are upset or if we are not being ourselves and in some instances you may find that your children may also become unsettled if they sense you are . It can cause your children to become upset if they can tell that you are upset or not being yourself.
It can cause disruptions between you and your partner if arguments occur. Speaking to your partner about how you are feeling, what is causing the feelings and what may help is important.
They may not understand what is happening, so being open and discussing it with them will help them to be there to support you. If you have a friend or family member that you can talk to for support, make sure you reach out to them. They may be able to help your partner to understand or simply be there for you as a shoulder to cry on.
Your physical health can also suffer as a result of mum guilt. Not eating properly. Not getting enough sleep. Or simply not taking care of yourself properly.
As hard as it may be, self-care is especially important if you are suffering from guilt. It is not selfish, it is a necessity! If you’re looking for an excuse to treat yourself, we’ve compiled a range of products and services with selfcare in mind!
Take the time to focus on yourself. Get a chance to relax and regroup and then be there as you can for your family.
You are not going to be any good to them if you have put yourself and your wellbeing at the bottom of the to do list.
Mum guilt is a real thing, that many of us go through at one point or another.
It is important to talk about how you are feeling. You are not alone. Speaking with a friend who has gone though the same may help. They may have ideas on how to cope with it and solutions to get you through.
Just remember, you are doing an amazing job. Juggling being a mum, running a household and a career is not an easy feat.
Be kind to yourself and cherish your moments with your children and as the saying goes, focus on “quality over quantity”.
Has any of this resonated with you? Have you suffered from mum guilt in the past? Let us know in the comments!