Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mummy Guilt

I have to admit, I have yet to achieve the elusive perfect balance in my life that I so desperately seek.

Some days I'm the perfect wife, mother and homemaker (well, in my mind anyway!) but drop the ball on the work front. The task list gets longer and deadlines loom.

Then other days, I achieve more than I would ever expect I could from a work point of view, to the detriment of my home and family. Laundry room overflows with dirty washing and dinner is toasted sandwiches.

I just can't seem to balance the scales to achieve what I want from both sides at the same time.

Am I being unrealistic?


But that doesn't stop the guilt. Self imposed guilt, which in a way makes it worse as you can't really ignore it.

Don't get me wrong, I don't constantly berate myself, or push myself to exhaustion trying to achieve my version of the perfect balance. But there, in the deep recesses of my mind, is the desire to be all that I wish to be, and the guilt that comes when I don't manage to achieve it.

I believe that most mother's feel a sort of guilt. In one version or another.

Can I provide enough for my kids? Do I spend enough time with my children? Do I work too much? Am I feeding them properly? Are they getting the best education? Am I too soft or too strict? and on and on and on.

Each is situation is different but the mummy guilt is there.

Not long ago my lovely soul sister and mother of three gorgeous children, emailed me asking advice on how to balance spending enough time with each of her children (not that I'm anywhere near being in a position to give advice on this situation!). Given the fact that her youngest was 3 months old and was taking up most of her time as baby's do, this situation was only to be expected but my friend felt guilty at not spending as much time as she would like with her other two children.

In my experience, this is what anyone with more than one child has been through, myself included, and luckily it's only temporary, because as the youngest gets older, she can join in more games with her older siblings. Though I must say, one on one time with each child can be hard to achieve once you have three. We just have to do the best we can.

I often find myself getting ready to go to bed after an evening busy with dinner, clean up and then work, and I go to check on my three sleeping boys, only to realise that since dinner time I haven't actually seen the older two, who put themselves to bed whilst I worked. It makes me feel bad, that I'm not there spending more time with them.

Of course, rationally I know that I need to work to provide for us and that Charlie needs more of my time to assist him physically (ie feeding, bathing etc) whilst the older two don't. But what about emotional need? Even a 12 and 14 year old need their mother's time on an emotional level.

And this takes me back to the beginning of of this post - trying to achieve a balance between home life and work. As I work from home, I don't have clear cut work and home times, so they tend to overlap a lot, which leads to the guilt I feel when I feel I let the balance swing too far one way or the other.

My solution?

Just do the best I can in any given moment.

And always remember that life is constantly changing, so this current situation will pass. It helps me get through the hard days.

I'd love to hear comments from other mums, to know whether I'm correct in presuming that most mothers have their own version of mummy guilt.

It's always nice to know you're the only one struggling with a particular problem.

No-one likes to feel like they're on their own.


  1. Oh guilt it something that all moms go through on some level or another! I used to feel terrible whenever I would leave the boys with their dad on the weekend to do as much as dinner with a friend... but I realized that I am a much better mother to them when I do get those little bits of 'me' time!

  2. Leiani, this phrase says it all:

    "Just do the best I can in any given moment."

    No one expects you to be super woman, enjoy life for today, as you never know what tomorrow will bring.

    Gill in Canada

  3. Oh guilt, I know thee well.

    If you do somehow manage to find the formula for the fine balancing act we all seem to try and follow I would love to know it also. I have so many balls in the air most days I am surprised that anything gets done, it seems to be run run run then sleep, trying to throw in a meaningful conversation or three every now and then.

    All that said, judging by the photos of your family they all seem to be thriving so you are succeeding.