We all get terrible mommy guilt at times. Even those of us that are generally quite hard! I seem to write similar posts intermittently, moaning about my mummy guilt!
I work full-time – we couldn’t afford for me not to – so I am out at work, on a variety of different shifts ranging from 10am starts to 2am finishes, for 40 hours of the week.
The return to school after the summer vacation is probably the worst time of year for me in terms of the terrible guilt I get, and this year sending Jack, my youngest, off to school all day every day has been tough. As well as this, the start of the academic year also signals the start of an extra busy time at work for me (I work on a University campus). A time, when I know family time will be limited.
Throw all the autumn bugs and illnesses into the mix, that seem to go hand in had with the time of year and the return to school, and getting quality time to spend having fun with the family is just a distant memory.
So how can we deal with this? How do we deal with this? Year in, year out?
First and foremost I think there has to be some kind of acceptance. We cannot fight fate. In this day and age, life is busy, hectic and complicated, so we have to recognise that we cannot always all be the perfect and most attentive mom. Work has to be done, school has to be attended, illnesses have to be cured in order to have the strength to go on. Sometimes, although it is horrible to admit this, we cannot be everything to everyone all of the time.
- Make the most of the time that you have got. This is easier said than done. We had a half-term break here at the beginning of November, but most of the week I spent feeling terrible with a nasty chest infection and sickness bug so I ended up missing out on fun times with the kids as I was laid up in bed. We managed a couple of trips out before and after the bugs kicked in. We had a lovely morning out at Ryton Pools, playing in the playground, running around, building dens in the woods.
- Do what you can to avoid bugs! This obviously didn’t work for me this year, but dose everyone up on vitamins and healthy food. If you have any go to remedies for the winter colds and coughs, make sure you are stocked up – plenty of honey, lemon, vicks etc.
- Don’t spend money when you can spend time. It’s really tempting to buy the children treats all the time to make up for not being able to give them your full attention. But remember money doesn’t buy happiness – totally clichéd I know! Your children would benefit much more from a few cuddles, some kind words and you focussing on them entirely (even if briefly) without distraction.
- Plan ahead – try and get as much “STUFF” as possible planned in advance – work schedules in place, blog posts written ahead of time, food shopping done and menus planned, and so on…. This means that, when you do find yourself not running around like a maniac, you can actually take a step back and enjoy just being there and being mom and spending chilled time with your family.
- Ask for and accept help. You aren’t wonder woman! There is no shame in asking family and friends for help. If you are feeling run down and need a rest to recouperate they will probably be more than happy to jump in and help you out. It doesn’t have to be forever and grandparents love being needed!
Final thoughts! Just remember you are not the first and certainly won’t be the last Mom to suffer from the guilt of not being there for your family enough, and you may find that it is worth looking at the people around you, your mommy friends and talking to them. They may well be feeling the same as you are and you can help each other through the tough times.