Motherhood comes with strings attached. Strings and things like sleepless nights, nappies, spit-ups and guilt. Lots of it. A special kind of guilt I call Momguilt. Which instills itself as soon as you find out you're pregnant, and continues right through your child's growing-up years. Past babyhood, toddlerhood and adolescence. It's just something we moms cannot let go of, however forward thinking / cool we might (think we might) be!
Here's what Momguilt looks (and feels) like…
It starts from the time we are pregnant. We feel TERRIBLE for having had that ONE glass of wine on that ONE special night (our wedding anniversary, nothing less); lest something abnormal happens to our unborn baby. Not to mention that was the ONLY glass of wine we had in NINE MONTHS. This alcohol-related guilt continues while we breastfeed. We feel like the worst moms ever if we dare drink another glass during the six-twelve months we breastfeed our babies.
Then there's the Momguilt when giving birth. We feel AWFUL if we cannot – for some medical reason that is not in our power to control – give birth naturally. C-secs are just another outlet for getting that precious being out into the world, so moms, it's not a sin. Or a 'bad start'.
After which comes one of the biggest Momguilts – bottle-feeding. Whether by choice or circumstance. If we choose not to/ cannot breast-feed our baby, we are seen as 'taking the easy way out' or plain lazy. And are made to feel like failures. Sure, breast is best but hey, formula is no poison. It's just as good. The important thing is your baby is fed!
Momguilt casts its heavy shadow over us every day we look after our little ones. We feel GUILTY if we don't take them to playgroups/ baby swimming classes/ the park, just because we are too damn tired to set foot outside the house.
If we let them watch television the entire afternoon just because we want to lie-down/ clean the house/ blog/ not read another Peppa Pig book aloud.
If we give them fish fingers and fries from the freezer instead of a nutritious home-cooked meal, because we are too exhausted to cook…
The list is endless…
Then comes another massive Momguilt – going back to work. Or being a Stay-at-home-mum. Either way, we feel the Momguilt. How can I leave my child with a complete stranger? I won't be there when he takes his first steps. I'm giving my career more importance than my baby…
We feel guilty of not going to work and helping out financially.
First day – ok I won't lie – first month or more at daycare. One of the worst Momguilts in my opinion. Leaving our howling, helpless babies and not going back in to give them just one more cuddle, as they desperately reach out to us… Because we have no choice. Because we have to. Because they've got to learn to be independent.
Yelling at our kids. Another gut-wrenching Momguilt. Whether its their fault or not. But we're only human. We've not had more than five hours of sleep since forever. We're PMS-ing. We've got shitloads of work to get done before bedtime and toddler is throwing a massive tantrum. Do the math and bet you'll feel ok.
Though there are times when we yell at our kids just because it all gets too much to handle. And we can't (always) yell at the husband or the piles of dishes and laundry. And we're just exhausted and need a break. That Momguilt really punches us hard, because that biscuit on the floor wasn't the real reason we snapped.
What instances make you feel the Momguilt? And how do you deal with it?
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