I’ve seen lots of posts going around on Instagram at the moment about mum guilt and the things we feel guilty for as mums. The most common seems to be when mums return to work after their maternity leave ending and having to return and their baby attending nursery or going to a childminder.
Working vs Stay at home mum
I have been on both sides; I was a working mum and now I’m a stay at home mum.
When I had Charlie, our third baby, I was a working mum. I worked Monday-Friday and worked an average of 70 hours a week as a primary school teacher. I saw the kids for around 1 hour each evening. I returned to work after maternity leave when Charlie was 4.5 months old, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I had to do it in order to finish my NQT year (newly qualified teacher). I still feel guilty to this day and I often worry about my bond with Charlie due to this (although we both love each other so much and I’m sure our relationship isn’t any different because I worked! It’s just funny how mum guilt plays a part in our feelings.)
Now I am on the other side, as a stay at home mum, and I get to take the kids to school and pick them up, I get to watch their assemblies, sports day, I do their homework with them and I am involved with every aspect of the school life. But this also makes me feel guilty. I feel more wife guilt than mum guilt really, I feel so guilty that I get to do this all with the kids and I’m not earning an income all while my husband works so hard. It makes me appreciate being a stay at home mum so much though, I will never get these moments back again. It must be so hard for my husband Lee as he works and studies. At the moment I am doing some work in terms of blog/instagram and it brings in a little income for luxuries for us, but whenever anyone asks if I’m a stay at home mum I just find it easier to say yes.
Having a large family
We can feel mum guilt for having one child and people make comments about children being spoilt and you should give them a sibling. But I also feel it as a large family. People often say how do you split your time between them? How do you afford four children? And to be honest I don’t split my time we all just have fun together. Last week Charlie had a hospital appointment and it was just him and Darcie and the first thing he said when we dropped Maisie and Archie to school was “I miss Archie and Maisie”. Sometimes we have girl/boy days where I’ll be worn the girls and Lee will be with the boys and do things like cinema trips/nails and hair/milkshakes etc. When I was pregnant with Charlie, our third child, someone actually said to me why would you ruin something that was already perfect, as if to say we had a boy and a girl we shouldn’t have more children. But I think people are always going to have an opinion; whether you have one child, two boys, two girls, or a large family like us!
I often feel mum guilt for not doing enough with the kids. Did I take them out enough this week? Have we been to the park enough? Have we read enough stories? Have I listened to them? Have I enjoyed their company and not rushed around?
It’s hard to do everything and be full of energy 24/7 but I think we all question whether we do enough for our children. I’m sure they don’t even think about it though.
I think as mums we will always feel guilty for something but I think the fact that we feel guilty means we care! That makes us good mums! With our forever changing emotions due to pregnancy, giving birth, sleep deprivation, time of the month, I think we are doing well!
It does make me wonder if Dad’s feel guilty too. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Thank you for reading,