When you become a mum, many people will make you feel guilty for a lot of your decisions. Turning the other cheek can be difficult and the raging hormones means many new mums take a lot of things to heart.
Comments can come from strangers, what is most difficult for many mums are those comments that come from the people closest. In fact comments that come from family and friends can often hurt the most.
There’s also plenty of others things that mums are made to feel guilty about, including returning back to work when their children are young or taking some time out for themselves.
What’s important for new mums to remember is that ‘mummy guilt’ does not discriminate. It can hit you if you’re a stay-at-home mum or if you’re a working mum, and it can hit you no matter how old you are.
Many mums feel that nothing is enough, no matter how much they actually do for their kids. What’s worse, is that society plays into this notion.
What new mums have to learn is that it is okay to parent the way you want to parent! And if that means getting help, going back to work or using disposable nappies, then so be it.
You’re not just ‘mum’
For many new mums, the guilty feeling stems from not being 100% focused on your baby 100% of the time. Remember you’re more than just ‘mum’. You’re also a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. You need time for yourself and you need time with other humans.
Often, being a working mum can instigate extra layers of guilt. This can continue into hours outside of work, with many mums feeling bad for going to the shops during their free time because they are already away from their kids for so long. There are many ways working mums can manage their time to reduce any guilt they may feel. Do your best to prioritise your tasks and schedule free time for yourself, making sure you get the rest you desperately need.
Remember, a happy mum means a happy baby. If it makes you happy to pop out with a friend, as long as your child is looked after, then do it! If it makes you happy to go to the gym or go on a shopping spree or head to work, then so be it.
Not everything is always hunky dory
Mums can feel guilty because they’re not happy all the time. Children are a blessing, but they’re also a lot of work. The stress of making sure the child is fed, burped, sleeping and playing can wreak havoc on a new mum’s emotions. Feeling guilty because you are stressed or feeling down is something mums can attest to. While many mums enjoy the newborn phase, many don’t and feel guilty for wanting those months to be done.
Also, it’s crucial to realise that bonding with your baby doesn’t happen instantly! Despite what society wants you to believe. There is no need to feel guilty about this. Love sometimes takes time.
In these situations, remember that it’s impossible to be happy 24/7. Everyone has bad moments and it’s completely normal to want a break from your child and your new life as a mother. You wanting time to yourself doesn’t mean you love your child any less.
Sometimes, other people will need to look after your kid
Sometimes mums feel guilty for employing people, sending their children to daycare or relying on family and friends to care for them. This can be especially hard for working mums. For many new mums, returning to work and putting a child in the care of someone else brings on a lot of guilt.
Women feel guilty for needing to go back to work, and even worse if it’s a choice they make. But remember, you are a person outside of the home, and if, for you, that means going back to work, wonderful! Plus, whatever you are doing is what is best for your family, whether you’re going back to work for financial reasons or because it’s what makes you happier.
But still, handing your kids over can be daunting. What is important to understand, is that children who are exposed to many different environments and people often thrive. To ease the transition, move slowly. Consider leaving your child with someone, so you can run an errand. The next time, leave them for a bit longer. Step by step…
Step away from the computer
New mums can always connect with one another through online forums and groups, no matter what time of day or night. While this can be a lovely resource, giving you access to endless advice and support, it can also be a curse. There are many other mums out there who may not agree with your choices and often, they’re not afraid to say so. Just because they speak their mind doesn’t mean that they are right. Remember, you are doing what is best for you and your family. And at the end of the day, that is what is important.