Mama guilt please go away

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There are so many things that mums/parents feel guilty about. Almost too many and it’s very unnecessary but one thing that never fails to make me feel guilty is the milestones of my second child. I know when she started to wean as it was a double guilt trip of me being mentally ill with my postnatal depression that determined my milk source not to be enough to feed her properly so at 5and a half months she started on formula milk and solid food. A huge achievement but one that will always be tinged with guilt.

I can remember when she learnt to crawl, roll over and got her first tooth as it all happened at 10months. Before then she had two positions; laying down and sitting up and a big sister who would fetch and carry for her! I remember her starting to pull herself up and “cruise” around the furniture as it was Christmas, she was 14 months and again two more teeth came through. But after that it was a blur. Looking back I know I had a blip in my postnatal illness at that point so perhaps it was down to that reason which I can’t recall things or is it perhaps because I was living in the moment with an 18month old and 3 and a half year old!

I know I have tonnes of photos that I haven’t put in Photo albums of my second daughter, I was meticulous with my first child photographing and noting down every gurgle, giggle and smile. I know this isn’t by any means a new phenomenon as my mum has a great first photo album for me yet not much for my brother. It’s hard, life kind of takes over and soon we have just memories and memories fade.

Thankfully we have a little memory app on Facebook! This only works if you actually noted down the event or milestone on Facebook in the first place but it appears that in this instance I did. One of my guilty thoughts is that I couldn’t remember when my second daughter took her first steps. My first was super keen and had taken them by the time she was 9months old! I remember the moment clearly. Mr Facebook reminded me today that today, 3 yrs ago we took my youngest to Clarks shoe shop to get her feet measured as she had taken her first steps that weekend. Yay I can finally work out that she was 17months. I think it would have been another month before she mastered it properly so 18months old. I still don’t recall the actual memory but at least my memory has now been jogged.

There are too many things is life to feel guilty about everything, some things I can shrug off and others eat away at my mind constantly reminding myself I’m not good enough. It’s a skill in learning to accept that we are by no means perfect. Somehow I can learn to accept it in other aspects of my life, such as gardening. With gardening and growing things you have to learn to accept imperfection and failure. I talk about this all the time. You can grow a flower from seed, carefully tend to it to help it grow strong, plant it up in a bigger pot so it has more room to grow and at the right time let it grow outside, watering it and making sure that it is supported so it grows strong enough to be left on its own to flower. You see the bud forming and the anticipation of the beautiful flower that will unfold. Then the next day you come to see the flower and find that a pesky slug or snail has literally devoured it overnight. That feeling is gutting, you feel upset but know it’s just Mother Nature reminding us that we are not in control despite our best efforts. And that is exactly how motherhood seems to me. It’s not perfect and despite my best efforts I can’t be in control all of the time. I need to accept that and embrace it. Maybe now I can listen and adhere to my own advice…. Or maybe I’ll still have a little bit of that mummy-guilt.

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