Why I Refuse to Feel Guilty About Mum Guilt

Guilt about mum guilt

Mum guilt.

Sigh, right? I’m so sick of hearing about it, but it rears its ugly head. Constantly.

I second-guess everything relating to parenting. I second-guess a lot of things anyway; it’s just who I am. But the moment I became a parent, my natural tendency to second-guess myself opened up a whole new world.

A whole new world of guilt. A hundred thousand things to feel guilty about.

I feel guilty about not spending enough time with the kids. I feel guilty about spending too much time with the kids, and not encouraging their independence enough. I feel guilty about turning on the television. I feel guilty about saying no to special treats. I feel guilty about saying yes to special treats. I feel guilty about leaving the kids with their grandparents. I feel guilty about the kids not seeing their grandparents often enough.

I feel mum guilt. Constantly.

I’m also constantly told to let mum guilt go. And as I read back through that list, which represents such a small portion of the guilt I heap upon myself, it makes sense.

Sure, let it go! It’s a bad, bad thing this mum guilt. It’s not good for me. I need to kick it to the curb! Mum guilt, begone!

That sounds lovely. In theory. But in practice? It actually puts more pressure on.

Not only have I convinced myself that I’m doing the mum thing wrong in the first place, but, apparently, I’m doing mum guilt wrong, too.

Seriously? Can’t I get anything right?

Letting go of mum guilt is probably healthy. Letting go of all guilt is probably healthy, but it’s not who I am. It’s not who I’ve ever been. Without a how-to, it simply becomes yet another item on my already too long to-do list. The item that always lands at the bottom.

Grocery shopping? Check. Cook dinner? Check. Send this month’s invoices? Check. Help my daughter with her homework? Check. Do the dishes? Check. Read a book? Check.

Let go of mum guilt? Let go of mum guilt? Come on, do it. Do it. DO. IT. JUST LET IT GO, ALREADY.

No check.

And when I can’t do it, a new layer of guilt gets added to the mum guilt. I feel guilty about feeling guilty. If feeling guilty is a waste of time, how much worse is feeling guilty about feeling guilty in the first place?

It’s a trap. It’s a vortex. There’s a glitch in the Matrix. But it’s not a black cat on repeat. It’s guilt, circling round and round and threatening to engulf me.

Ugh.

Enough already. I’m done. The end. I feel mum guilt. I do. And, are you ready for this? That’s okay.

Guilt is just how I roll. It’s how it is, it’s who I am.

So I’ll keep feeling mum guilt. But the guilt about the guilt? That’s gone.

So please don’t ask me to stop feeling mum guilt. Because I do feel guilty all the time. And I probably always will.

Do you also find it unhelpful when people tell you to ‘stop feeling guilty’?

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Image: Emily Hawker