Women, are so hard on each other, aren’t we? and I would like for us to discuss how to get rid of the mummy guilt.
Have you ever asked another mum what she does and the way she answers makes you wonder what you did wrong? As one mum said, when you make small talk with a mum and ask the question “what do you do?” almost inevitably, someone walks away feeling judged. She confesses that rather than try to network, she simply asks “where did you get your cute purse?” this way she avoids triggering the mummy guilt.
As hard as we are on each other, we’re even harder on ourselves.
Susan shares that the painful truth is that she is too selfish to stay at home full-time. She says she can admit that, even though she feels very guilty about that too. To that point, she usually warns mums who are going back to work after having their first baby that being a working parent means feeling guilty all the time. All the time. and she is dead serious.
She also feels guilty when she is home because she feels the weight of the work left unfinished at the office. The never-ending internal conflict is the ultimate Catch-22, feeling that she has let someone down no matter what!
So do you feel Mummy guilt ALL THE TIME?
This is called the Working Mum’s Perma-Guilt, – but it not just working mums who feel guilty.
Picture this scenario: We were sitting at another recital at school, waiting (150 years) for the kids to take the stage. The working mum is using her free seconds not to breathe but to check the work emails that were multiplying like rabbits on her phone (and feeling guilty about having left work early, obviously).
On the other hand, the stay at home mom also feels guilty. As she says “I feel guilty all the time that I stopped working. What was all that college and training for? All that time and money and work? And then not using it!”
That’s some Mummy guilt.
Then there is the third group. This mum works part-time! And raises her kids! Yet she found time to contribute a new category of Mummy Guilt I hadn’t considered – The Could-Be-Working-More-Hours-Mum-Guilt.
Another mum chimed in, “What about the guilt from depending on your husband for money? All that pressure on him to pay the bills. I feel guilty about that.”
Ladies, we have got to give ourselves a break. Please.
Are these scenarios common or ring true to you? How do you handle your mummy guilt?
In fairness, some fathers also face the Parent Guilt. The best way to avoid this highly emotional state of always feeling mummy guilt is to be present in the moment, relish that second in time and enjoy it to the fullest. Lastly remember, you are not a tree and if you want a change, you can make it happen!
Excerpted from Lessons from the Prairie: The Surprising Secrets to Happiness, Success and (Sometimes Just) Survival I Learned on America’s Favorite Show by Melissa Francis.