I want to talk about guilt.
Some people talk about “mum guilt” but for me, it isn’t that simple. I have mum guilt, wife guilt, daughter guilt, friend guilt and career guilt, all rolled into one – I feel like every day I am letting someone down. Never quite achieving all the things I want to do in any given day, despite seemingly not sleeping that much any more. I try desperately to balance, to get it right, but what I have discovered (especially after the arrival of our second child) is that no matter how hard I try, I can’t be all things to all people all the time. Something has to give and that has come as something of a shock to me. I try to keep the plates spinning but actually all that happens is that I get stretched quite thin, never quit achieving what I set out to do.
I acknowledge that I do have quite high standards and that’s probably half the issue but, for me, if there’s one thing that isn’t negotiable it’s what kind of mum I am. I have wanted kids for a long time, dreamt of having a family and I pinch myself when I think how much my life has changed in such a short amount of time and how I am now surrounded by boys that love me. It’s because of this that I want to be the mum I want to be and sometimes I feel embarrassed of saying that. I love being a mum, it’s such a big part of me and I want to be proud of that.
I want to be the mum that makes things out of cardboard boxes, that organises the parties, that is running around making costumes, play dates and play set ups, that makes those precious moments with the boys the best I can be. Even with this, I still feel like I letting them down. Sometimes I know I’m preoccupied or I’m letting a work conversation play over in my head instead of focusing on the hear and now, and that upsets me. Sometimes I know that I’m shorter with them than I should be because I’ve had a bad day or I’m tired but this is balanced with me wanting to earn my own income and also provide for them in a certain way – I basically can’t win.
I have said it before but I do feel like the jump from 1 to 2 kids is pretty huge and the impact it has on your life is monumental. I feel that any free time that you may have had is now zapped away and so that puts a strain on everything else, be that with family or friends.
As an only child, I do feel a certain responsibility to be there for my mum and dad and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but yet again, I feel like I’m not good enough or doing enough or what they deserve. My poor husband has this somewhat frazzled woman to deal with, constantly running around like a headless chicken but still wanting to try and fit in a date night, mixed with being my agony aunt and career counsellor when I feel like I’ve missed out on a promotion because I took the decision to have a family.
To my dear friends… well I have always been totally mad but I think the boys have just added a bit extra…. I want to say sorry if I forget to reply to a message or if I ask you the same question twice in a conversation, I want to say sorry if my loving of being a mum is a bit much and I want to say sorry if I still try and make you do mad things like we are still in our twenties, but with us each holding two children in tow.
I think my issue is that where I end up is knackered and feeling like a bit of a failure. Not as glamorous or as organised as I would like and not as sorted as I thought I’d would be. That said, I know I need to be kinder to myself, give myself a break but as we all know that’s easier said that done.
All I can say is that if you’re suffering from mum guilt or any other kind of guilt to be fair, I hear you… I get it… I understand you. You are not alone and you feeling like this isn’t a failing, it’s recognition that you’re not a super hero!