I want to kick mother guilt in the bum.
Here’s your ticket for a one way ride, love – it’s time to go on your evil, emotion-churning, twisted little way.
You’re not welcome here anymore.
I’ve been feeling it the past couple of months.
As the end of my maternity leave hurtles towards me like a bullet train, my feelings have been all over the place.
In the 12 months I had off work, 10 of those, after my baby girl arrived, were some of the most beautiful days for our family.
Watching my two sons and the strong bond grow between them has been the most wonderful thing.
I hope they care for each other as fiercely forever.
I love how my four-year-old often greets her with “hello little gorgeous”. It’s the most adorable thing ever.
The way they both run to her first thing for a cuddle when they get home – or the expression of disappointment from my eldest because she’s still napping when he walks in the door after school.
The cuddles and kisses they all give each other at bed time.
My heart melts just thinking about it.
Sure there has been sleep deprivation and all that jazz, but for some reason this time around I just went with it.
There was no running to the nearest parenting book to see what I was doing wrong.
The week that marked nine weeks before my return to work had me feeling uneasy.
The year was speeding by so fast.
It’s like I blinked and all of a sudden we were down to single digit weeks.
I looked at my little girl, watched her giggle and give me open-mouthed kisses on the cheek and wondered how on earth I could leave her during the day.
Lots of people I know are able to stop work to raise their children.
Because I’m not in a position where I can do that, am I not as dedicated a mother? Do I not care about my kids any less?
Of course not.
But trying to shut up the inner mean girl who keeps harping on about it in your head can be tough some days.
Especially when you question whether you are doing the right thing.
Comparing ourselves and our situations to that of others isn’t helpful though.
As Theodore Roosevelt famously said, ‘comparison is the thief of joy’.
It is so, so true and I need to remind myself. Often.
So why do we beat ourselves up over it so much?
Why do we question what we know works best for our family just because someone else does it differently?
The grass is always greener, right?
The reality is that regardless of what you decide to do, one choice is not better than the other. It’s just what works best for you.
But for all those working mums, let’s treat ourselves with kindness and compassion.
- You don’t love your children any less because you work.
- You don’t care about your children any less because you work.
- Just because you work doesn’t mean you don’t necessarily want to spend that time with your children.
- You won’t damage your children because you work.
- Being a working mum is hard. It’s exhausting and emotional and we are all just doing our best to create the best life for our children and our family.
Bloody mother guilt can go take a hike.