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28/09/2011 / melgardener

Mummy Guilt

Three easy steps to Mummy Guilt:

1. Child complains of feeling unwell

2. Mummy breezily brushes off said complaints and sends child to school anyway

3. Child is sent home from school with raging temperature, sore throat, watery eyes and that hangdog look that damn near breaks your heart

I suffer from a good dose of Mummy Guilt most of the time – either I’m with the kids too much, or not enough; they do too many activities, or need to do more; I don’t spend enough time on homework, or we spend too much time on homework.

Many of my friends who are mums also report Mummy Guilt at various times – it doesn’t seem to matter if you work full-time, part-time or are a stay at home mum, there always seems to be something to feel guilty about. It’s hard not to compare ourselves to others, particularly to others who always seem to be on top of everything and have found a good balance in their work/home lives.

Lately I’ve been wearing my Cranky PantsTM. I don’t know whether it’s stress or school holidays or tiredness or a combination of a million small things but I seem to be short of temper and patience lately. Of course, when it comes to Mummy Guilt, it matters not whether the children have been particularly trying or bickering a lot or doing anything to push my buttons, I still feel guilty if I yell at them.

The outcome is always the same: I snap – I feel guilty – I overcompensate.

I thought my Mummy Guilt would lessen when I stopped working full-time – after all, that was one of the main causes of said guilt. But, I’ve discovered, this is not the case. All I’ve done is found other things to feel guilty about.

Is this a sad reflection of my own doubts and insecurities? Hell yes.

I try very hard not to give myself reasons for feeling guilty but somehow they just seem to materialise. And it’s worse when I’m feeling overwhelmed, stressed, busy and suspect I have taken on too much.

I can rationalise the illogicality of my guilt – after all, the children are well-adjusted (if a little spoilt), cared for, loved, indulged, supported and encouraged. I recognise the contradiction of my emotions – I look forward to going away for work when it’s a short trip, then I miss the children and feel guilty for being away.

I know that part of my guilt stems from always second-guessing my decisions – did I make the right choice, did I overreact, should I have done something differently? In acknowledging that my personality tends more towards the ‘worrier’ scenario, I do try hard to recognise that sometimes I will make mistakes and that, as old as I am, I can still learn through experience.

Do you suffer Mummy Guilt? If not, how do you overcome it?



Leave a Comment
  1. ausmarc / Sep 28 2011 7:14 pm

    I get Daddy guilt… “Dad, I haven’t played Halo with you all week.” Therefore I must play halo to compensate, it’s so tough 😉

    Seriously though we are designed that way to make judgement errors. I’m an expert at mistake making. Humans are mistake makers, imperfect, and if you can just accept that is reality then it’s easier to live with yourself. That’s what I do. Otherwise I will be reliving all the parental mistakes of the past each day i.e. living each day in the past, in regret instead of focus on getting today right.

    • melgardener / Sep 28 2011 7:28 pm

      At least I know I’m not alone 🙂 Enjoy your ‘forced’ Halo playing!

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