When children come along you’re warned of the lack of sleep they will cause, maybe you’ll have sore breasts for a while whilst establishing breastfeeding, endless laundry, baby equipment taking over your home, we accept these things, knowing that the love we feel for this tiny new person will make up for it all.
What we are not told about is the guilt we are cast into, over so many things, the guilt that follows you through so many stages of your parenting life. It starts with what kind of birth do you plan, will you feed on demand, co-sleep, do baby led weaning, are the fabrics you put your child in organic? Will you use cloth nappies? How long will you stay home from work? All of these questions come with preformed opinions attached to them, misconceptions and sometimes judgements, what’s the right answer?
I have come to the conclusion, after a few years of bumbling my way through this motherhood lark, that you must do what comes naturally to you, otherwise eventually you will burn out, it takes a lot more effort trying to be someone else, live someone else’s life, be true to yourself instead. We were born to do this, trust in yourself.
Your greatest weapon against the Mama guilt is your friends, build a community of likeminded people around you, share the good and the bad, there is so much comfort to be taken from a problem shared. There is no shame is saying you are struggling, we all do at times and that admission could give someone else the confidence to realise they don’t have to hide it inside too. We should be able talk about these things more, without the fear of being judged, simply to unburden and become better versions of ourselves.
My closest friends can tell when I’m not at my best and will help come up with ways I can makes things better, at a time when maybe I can’t think straight because the lack of sleep is clouding my thoughts, or if it’s just a rant I need they will sit there and sympathise with me then cut me another piece of cake.
I’m pretty sure I once said my children wouldn’t have more than half an hour of screen time a day, ha! They’re watching the second film in a row as we speak because it’s wet and cold outside and I just don’t have it in me to go out and playing equals squabble this week.
Once upon a time I would have felt guilty about this, as though someone was watching me in my own home and passing judgement, but I know now it’s ok, today the scales are a little unbalanced, but tomorrow will be a new day, we’ll have a BBQ on the beach for lunch and my girls will run free. No harm done.
Be kind to yourself.