The Reality Of ‘Mum Guilt’

I thought I wouldn’t suffer from mum guilt.

You hear the term thrown about all the fucking time before you’ve had kids and in your head you’re all ‘COME ON GALS, GET A GRIP, YOUR KID’S FINE’.

I thought nah, not me. Not this one here. I’m too strong and determined and level-headed (lol sure, not convinced anyone would describe me as that). I’ll rise above it. I’ll be able to see things in perspective.

And then I had a baby.

And oh shit.

Shit shit shit shit.

Today I got mum guilt because I put the baby in the car twenty minutes after he’d woken up from his nap and oh my god that poor little soul isn’t getting any intellectual stimulation because he can’t see my face and for an entire fifteen minutes the only interaction he has is with the houses and trees blurring past him in the window. He probably won’t reach his full potential and will live quite obviously live a miserable existence now.

Like honestly, I was close to getting pre-crying watery eyes over it.

But I can partly blame the sleep deprivation and period hormones for that one, right?

Other absolutely bat shit bonkers things that have given me mum guilt in the past week include wanting to spend an evening away from him because WHAT KIND OF MONSTER WANTS TO LEAVE THEIR CUTE LITTLE PICKLE WITH SOMEONE ELSE? And the time I gave him a bit of tomato as finger food and he choked for about a quarter of a second and then was fine and I was all OMG I HAVE TRIED TO KILL HIM, I HAVE ACTIVELY TRIED. Or the time I got lost in some weird mystical Instagram strolling haze oblivious to the world around me only to look up and realise the baby was staring at me and oh sweet jesus he’s going to grow up and think I don’t give a shit about him, isn’t he?

The thing with being a parent, and I mean I’d like to say ‘being a parent to an under-one’ but lol I think I’d be entirely kidding myself if I didn’t think this was going to continue forever, is that you are always – always winging it.

And not just that, but you’re always just scraping by, doing whatever you can to continue going.

Take the other day for example. Atti had drifted off in his car seat on the way home and I thought ‘he’s only been down for twenty minutes, might as well try and keep him asleep a bit longer so it’s been a semi-decent nap’. So I park up in the shade outside my house and put the windows down so we can have some nice fresh air circulating.

And then, my Yodel delivery lady pulls up and knocks on my front door and I ain’t about to risk her leaving it with one of my neighbours – so I jump out the car and flag her down.

Then quietly, because DO NOT WAKE THE BABY, I say ‘ oh sorry, I am here, I’m just sitting in the car because the baby’s asleep’.

And she replies ‘ Oh that’s OK, you have no idea how often this happens.’

It’s not just me guys! It’s everyone! We’re all as fucking useless and creative with making parenthood work for us as each other, it’s a bloody miracle.

But it doesn’t stop you wishing you were better. And perhaps wishing it was more like you’d imagined it’d be.

I wanted to be so in tune with my kid. I didn’t want strict routines, I just wanted us to communicate and to pay attention to each other, for us to be vibing off each other.

But the truth is that I spend too much time running around like a headless chicken, flapping about trying to sterilise bottles and charge my phone and put on deodorant, to try and spiritually pick up his ~vibes~. Although in my defence he’s six months old so his vibes are pretty much limited to ‘I need a poo’ and ‘I am hungry’ and ‘FUNNY LADY WITH THE GREASY HAIR YOU ARE BORING’. So… ya know.

Basically, you cannot escape the guilt. It follows you round like a cat that just wants all the belly rubs and does not let up. I like to think it’s some weird thing that’s hard-wired into our brains when we have babies – nature’s way of ensuring we’re doing the best we can to raise our offspring.

A bit like the way it suddenly makes you a risk assessment director manager of the world. Not in the fact you’re like HUH THAT COULD BE DANGEROUS because I do dangerous things all the time and am just praying for a miracle, but because I am constantly on red alert like zomg imagine if my foot had been a metre to the right and then I could have slipped down the stairs and we both would have died.

Hashtag wouldn’t happen because I have been on this earth twenty eight and three quarters years and have not slipped from the top of the stairs to the bottom and died so the chances of it happening now are pretty slim.

But yes, all of the above.

Motherhood is a shit show of wonders and it never ceases to amaze me with its ability to throw up unexpected emotions that you’re left having out of body experiences at going ‘HUH BUT WHAT, WHY AM I FEELING LIKE THAT, SO WEIRD, I DUNNO, WHAT’S HAPPENED TO ME’.

Lol, kids, who’d have ‘em?

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