The Struggles of Mum Guilt and the Fear of Not Doing Enough
Mum guilt refers to the kind of guilt that many mothers feel about how they “mother” their children. Many new mothers experience mum guilt, especially in the early days following childbirth. First-timer mothers are most susceptible to mum guilt because they constantly worry about committing mistakes when taking care of their fragile newborn baby. Generally, it refers to the fear of not doing good enough as a parent!
Mum’s guilt comes in many sorts and forms. It can come from feeling not good enough for your child or raising your voice when the house is messy, or when you cannot afford a toy they have been asking you for weeks. A study conducted on new mums reported that 78% of the mums feel mum-guilt, and 68% reported that they feel this once or twice a day. And most of their reason is not spending enough time with their child.
Welcoming a new baby to the family is always wonderful, and becoming a parent, especially for the first time, will give your wonders you never thought existed. Parenthood will push you to your limits and will place you in circumstances and situations where you have to adapt and adjust. Some mums would feel that they don’t have enough time to spend for themselves. It’s always about the baby, and most of the time, it feels overwhelming. Even the little breaks that you take for yourself can give you an intense feeling of mum guilt!
Later on, the child outgrows their nappies and would advance to toddlerhood. And, just when you thought parenting becomes easier, it reminds you that you’re just getting started. Many mums struggle with mum guilt because they always feel that they are not doing enough for their children. When the child transition from being a baby into a toddler, they start to learn new skills in preparation for school. At this stage, your motherhood becomes even more demanding because your growing child needs your support as they discover the world around them.
Mum-guilt is usually behavioural. For example, some mothers report that they feel mum guilt when they don’t spend much time with their children. Some mums would even report that they would often feel not “good enough” for their child and being a “terrible mum”. Most working mothers experience mum guilt because they spend less time with their children when they leave for work. Worrying is usually normal, but unless you know how to manage mum’s guilt and if it’s left unaddressed, it might affect your mental health!
The Struggles of Mum Guilt: What You Can Do
Mum-guilt is normal and many new parents feel it too. You are not alone and you share the same feelings and worries with many parents around the world. However, excessive mum-guilt is also unhealthy because it can lead to undesirable behaviours and can even affect your mental health. Managing mum’s guilt is very important, it does not only affect you but more importantly, it affects the way you mother your child. Your child needs a happy mum, so here are some of the things that you can do to lessen and hopefully overcome your mum’s guilt.
Help Yourself First
When you’re riding a plane, the flight attendant would remind you that in case of an emergency, the parent should wear the oxygen mask first before the child. The reason behind this is because, as a parent, if you are not well enough on your own, how will you be able to provide the child with the support that they need? So, if you feel like you need a breather, take some time off for yourself. After all, what your child need is a well and happy mum, not a perfect one!
Spend More Time with Family
Postponing a night out with your friends would not hurt. One big step to overcoming mum’s guilt is to actually spend quality time with your family, especially with your little one. Create a daily routine that allows you to talk and bond with your child even just for 10 minutes. Grab a book and enjoy a wonderful story together before bedtime. You can even get a personalised book where your child is the hero, it’s more engaging to the child and it increases reading comprehension by 40%! It’s like hitting two birds with one stone: you’re slowly recovering from mum guilt while you also help your child create a love for reading!
Parents are notorious for bragging about the things they do for their children, their child’s milestones, and achievements. While being proud is healthy, bragging, however, is not. Competing with other parents will only place more weight on your shoulders and you may even pass on this to your child. So, stay out of the bragging game as much as you can. Embrace your differences as parents because each child is unique!