10 things parents feel guilty about doing but shouldn’t

Posted in Wellbeing.

I wish I could put mum guilt into a rocket and send it to outer space. Even though we’re all doing our best every day, we’re constantly consumed by guilt over a thousand small things we think we’re doing wrong.

Well, you can put these ten things into that rocket right this second because we all do them and they’re not worthy of our guilt.

1. Not breastfeeding

You tried. Or maybe you didn’t. Either way, your newborn loves his bottles and you can feel the disapproving stares of Breastapo every time you leave the house. Chin up and perky boobs out, lady. Your child is fed and happy – and so are you. End of story.

2. Letting kids watch TV

You read one post from a mum in some forum who said that she threw away the TV and all her children’s behavioural problems disappeared overnight and now they spend all their free time making macramé dreamcatchers. Cue worst-mum-in-the-world feels.

Whatevs. Sometimes you really need a break from the noise, or you need to get stuff done around the house. A little TV won’t rot their brains. If you’re worried about it, set a time limit.

3. Working

Whether you need to work and you wish you didn’t, or you wish you could work less and spend more time with your kids, or you want to work and you wonder if that makes you a bad mum, the result is the same: GUILT.

You’re doing what you have to do for your family. You’re contributing to the household income. You’re making use of your skills. You’re being a good role model. Those are all things to be proud of.

4. Taking me-time

Why is it that we constantly daydream about a day at the spa or even just five minutes on our own to read a book, but the second we finally get away from our family for some much-needed me-time, we’re consumed by guilt? Ugh! Go away, useless emotion.

It took me ages to figure out how to enjoy my time alone without worrying about the kids or how my husband is coping. I use the techniques I’ve learnt through mindfulness meditation to keep my mind squarely in the present moment. If it starts to drift to my family, I gently bring it back … and order another glass of champagne.

5. Not preparing Insta-worthy lunchboxes

Put down your phone and back away slowly. There’s no use in torturing yourself by scrolling through hundreds of images of Bento boxes stuffed with flower-shaped kiwi fruit and homemade organic bliss balls. Stuff that. If you’re a Vegemite and cheese sandwich kind of mum, embrace your true destiny.

6. Not having a perfectly clean house

Um, helllooooo. Every single mum in the whole world admits their house is an absolute tip unless there are guests coming over. But if a friend says she’ll pop over for a quick cuppa, we work ourselves into a frenzy trying to make our house look perfect before she arrives.

Can we quit trying to impress each other already? We all need to embrace the filth and quit the guilt.

7. The eternal Everest of washing

Whether the Everest is in the washing basket waiting to be washed or on the couch waiting to be folded and put away, it never disappears – it just shifts. The sooner we let go of the “one day I’ll have ALL the washing done” fantasy, the better. Because the second you achieve it, your husband and kids will dump 12 muddy items on the laundry floor.

8. Losing it

Yelling at your kids makes you feel like crap, so you try not to do it. You’ve been practising calm parenting techniques. Great effort! But when you’ve asked them to get in the car 42 times and you find them trying to poke the cat in the eye with a stick, you might end up letting off some steam via your vocal cords. Loudly. Forgive yourself and move on.

9. Using bribery

Sometimes a little bribe goes a long way. For example, the promise of a Freddo can convince your kids to get a flu shot. Don’t feel bad about bribing your kids – just don’t do it too often or it loses its power.

10. Not making birthday cakes from scratch

Some mums are super-talented at creating elaborate cakes with all their child’s favourite Disney characters handcrafted out of fondant. Others, not so much. If you need to buy a packet mix to make your life easier, do it. If that’s still too much, store-bought it is. All your kid wants is a cake. They don’t care who made it or if it contains 42 artificial colours and preservatives as long as it tastes good.


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