It’s hard to shake off, isn’t it? Mum guilt is a parasite that lands on you right as you enter the world of motherhood and refuses to leave you, slowly sucking the joy out of your days. Very occasionally, after a hard day of being a mummy, I take a few minutes for myself and get daddy to put baby to bed but even before she has drifted off, mum guilt consumes me. Then I find myself rushing to her side, all plans of relaxation abandoned.
Though mum guilt is around me almost everyday, some days are just unbearable. On such days, anything can trigger it off. Delaying baby’s breakfast by 10 minutes, pushing baby’s nap by half an hour, giving her store-bought cereals, catching up on social media while she plays by me. These are all potential triggers for mammoth waves of mummy guilt and I can’t help but drown.
These have been more frequently lately. Now I can’t even step in the shower without pangs of guilt clutching my heart. It’s so silly, really, but how many of us can truthfully say we have never been in the same room? While a little bit of it is unavoidable, the debilitating sort of mum guilt cannot be healthy, either for mummy or baby.
As Gini turns ten months old today, I think it is time to take steps, no matter how small, towards a more guilt-free life. When mum guilt piles up, it leads to dissatisfaction which in turn leads to mummy meltdowns. And since only one person can have a meltdown at a time, it is perhaps best to assume it is the baby’s prerogative 😊
I would hate to turn into yelly mummy with meltdowns galore. A meltdown here and there is perfectly normal but too many of them can be emotionally draining as well as confusing for baby. And I dread to even think of the all too avoidable accidents people get into when they are in a charged-up, unstable state like that.
My strategy to deal with mum guilt is simple: I just need to remind myself of the fact that there is nothing to be guilty of! Sounds simple but little facts like this get lost in the labyrinthine world of motherhood. I am a responsible, aware parent who is constantly striving to make the life of my child as enriching as possible. But I (and everybody else in the same scenario) need to remember that taking care of myself is NOT a slip-up. It is not a sign of a bad mother. It is not something to be guilty off. If I don’t take moments to nourish my body and soul, I can’t function at my best and if I can’t function at my best, how can I do my best for my baby?
To help me remember this basic fact, I have turned to chanting and meditation, as I always do when stress disrupts the balance in my life. I am also limiting my social media time not because it makes me guilty but too much screen time makes my mind overactive. I find it hard to shut down, to relax and even to fall asleep.
I am hoping that these steps will help me get over mum guilt and bring the joy back to my life.