Mumma guilt: is it really worth the trip?

At 24 weeks pregnant I’m finding myself quite sensitive and easily pissed off, most likely attributed to those prominent pesky pregnancy hormones. I seem to be really over thinking things lately (probably a trait I suffered from before pregnancy, but more so now). I’ve mostly been mulling over my past parenting mistakes and things I could have done differently. Like when my son had just turned two and I closed the car door on his poor little fingers. Or the time I put him in a bath filled with super hot water, because I didn’t check the water temperature first. I felt terrible about it! At the time I imagined other mothers looking down at me thinking “Quick, someone call child services!”. Yeah I made a few boo boos, probably more than I care to mention, but show me a mother who doesn’t.

shutterstock_guilt-ball-and-chain-jpgAt the end of the day The Little Guy came out completely unscathed. However, for some reason, I decided to beat myself up for it. Like somehow was a bad mum for not making more of an effort to prevent those things. At the end of the day I need to put things into perspective and understand that they were mistakes. Mistakes, which in the grand scheme of things, were small. I’ve learnt from them and hopefully won’t be making them again with baby number two. It’s funny though as parents how we can sometimes struggle to let things like that go. *Frozen’s “Let it go” blasts through my head*. 

There are all different types of Mumma guilt and they can form from putting too much pressure on yourself, because you’re terrified of making the wrong choices for your child. When things slide, the guilt trip begins. I sometimes find myself asking questions like “how could I let that happen?”, “Why wasn’t I paying better attention – I only looked away for a split second?”, “Am I a bad Mumma?” etc. It all comes down to the love we feel for our child and the need we have as parents to protect them from harm. But realistically, you can’t wrap them up in cotton wool and you can’t shield them from all of life’s little misfortunes. These things just happen and can be out of your control. I need to take solace in the fact that I at least love my child infinitely and always try my very best to make the most educated decisions for him. Sh*t happens – are you a bad mother for it? No, you learn from it and move on. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just do your best and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remind yourself that it’s not an easy job, but that you have the privilege of doing it and to give yourself credit for it.  

I’m an eighties baby and a lot of us grew up on fruit loops, spam and cocktail frankfurts. Your parents dressed you in clothes that were “extremely flammable”. Kids rode their bikes without a helmet. Even giving your child a smack on the bum, wasn’t widely frowned upon. Even then I seemed to have survived the perils of a retro childhood, as most of us did. Okay, I agree they aren’t great choices for your child, and I’m not condoning any of the above. Obviously parents these days have access to way more information than we did in the past. So what we thought was harmless a few decades ago, may not be so now. My point is: As parents we don’t always get everything right – NOBODY is even close to perfect.

If you’re doing everything you can to make the choices that are right for you and your family, then you’re already a pretty awesome parent. Now say that to yourself 10 times and “Keep fighting the good fight”. 

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