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Mum Guilt – Does it ever fade?

What is “Mum Guilt”? You know, it’s that overwhelming feeling of doing something wrong by your child, for example, going to work, going out for the evening, first day of school. Have you ever had that peculiar wave of emotion come over you when you leave your 6 month old at Nursery for the first session so that you can go back to work, or to the gym? That’s “Mum Guilt”. Now just because this has been titled “Mum Guilt”, doesn’t mean that its a female emotion, I know of some Dad’s that feel this too.

As a single parent, aged 21, I experienced “Mum Guilt” on a daily basis. Sometimes it was my own fault and sometimes others made me feel bad. Older women who state that I should have waited to have a child if I couldn’t cope. Coupled up Mums who state that their other halves supported them through this. Yes Thanks. So helpful! Parenting is tough, we shouldn’t be making each other guilty when our own conscious does enough damage.

My first “Mum Guilt” struggle was in May of 2012…Lily’s first session at Nursery at 6 months old. Now we had done 3 settling in sessions but this was the first official “see-you-later” time. It only lasted 5 hours but felt like it was ages. Walking away from her little face (who hadn’t noticed I had gone) gave me this overwhelming sense that I was doing something wrong.

I wasn’t.

I was doing what any other mum does, allowing her daughter to socialise and learn. I wasn’t due to start work until August, however wanted to give Lily the time to settle in, and in case it all went tits up, enough time if she needed to be moved. I went back 4 hours and 45 minutes later to reports that she was perfect and seemed to really enjoy herself, well as much as a 6 month old can. I told myself that “Mum Guilt” was unnecessary. The key workers at nursery were fab and Lily stayed there until she was almost 5.

Another guilty day was the first trial day at Primary School in June 2016. People forget that when the children go to school, they are only 4  (sometimes 5). They have only been on the planet 4 years, and yes Lily had been to Nursery but this didn’t make this new stage any easier on me. We arrived not knowing anyone (Nursery was in one county, school in another), Lily was quiet and could probably sense my high-running emotions. We walked into the Hall to introduce her to her teacher with her hand getting tighter around mine. Yes the guilt was starting to rise…who are these teachers? They don’t know Lily and what she is like. They don’t know me or our situation. I was trying harder and harder to make it seem exciting for my slightly anxious 4 year old. The announcement came that all parents were to leave and the children would be taken into their classrooms. I popped a sweet in my mouth (was once told that sucking sweets reduces the chance of tearing up due to the same muscles being used) and tried to get Lily to go with this teacher.

After 10 minutes of my best persuading and this teacher eventually grabbing her hand and leading her away. “Mummy” being shouted down the corridor whilst I walked away and tried not to look back. Yes the tears came, and it still makes me choke even now and she has almost finished her first year there.

“Mum Guilt”

I did the whole convincing myself speech on the walk back home. She has to go to school. They know what they are doing. They do it all the time. I’m sure they are lovely. She will have fun. She won’t have even missed me.  And true to that, she had a great time.

So after these two, and many other, experiences, how do I cope? Well I started with distraction techniques, going shopping, watching a movie, going out for tea. This was fine until I had two minutes to myself, usually on the loo, and the tears would appear again. I then tried spending time with family who have been through this. But when I thought about it, I actually found that my “Mum Guilt” was worse in the build up to an event rather than while the event was happening.

So I did what any normal person would do…try not to think about it. Does that ever even work?

I found that I needed to do my research. Ask the questions I needed to ahead of the event and that it was the “unknown” that was making me feel this way. What was my child going to be doing? How can I prepare her for this? As her mother, what can I say?

My advice to you is to talk about it. Talk to other mums about how you are feeling, talk to your child about how you are feeling. Yes they are younger and less mature but you will feel better talking it through with them.

You aren’t doing anything wrong. You parent the way you believe is best, and you are doing your best! Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel that you aren’t. Like I said, parenting is tough…but let’s support each other through it.

You can do this!!

Good Luck!

Over and Out

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The Best of Christmas TV (UK only)

I am not alone when I say Christmas is the BEST time of year for TV. You have everything from Christmas special programs, Christmas films, re-runs and my ultimate favourite…

Like any normal human being, I picked up my copy of Radio Times at the beginning of December and dutifully *starred* all of my interests. If you haven’t managed to get one, use this link to the actual website to organise your evening entertainment – Radio Times Christmas TV.  This post is anticipating all of the excitement of the TV for the first week, 19th to 24th, then I’ll do a separate one for 26th to 30th…

So what I am looking forward to? Here I list two shows a night for you to tune into (freeview):

Monday 19th December

Jamie’s Ultimate Christmas – 8pm, Channel 4

Everyone loves a bit of this Essex Chef. His ideas and food are all amazing and look yummy (even though I’m Vegan). He also shows ways to make the standard meal slightly more exciting, both visually and in flavours.

The Prince Harry Documentary  –  9pm, ITV

Prince Harry…the people’s royal. Ignoring everything going on around his personal life, Harry is dutifully finishing what his mother started. This program follows his work in Sentebale (his charity). Watch this to see how important Charity is to the Prince.

Tuesday 20th December

Mary Berry’s Absolute Christmas Favourites (1/2) – 7pm, BBC2

Yes, she is getting old. Yes, some of her recipes are questionable. But we all love Bezza. Here she is showing us some traditional seasonal recipes…and some new ones. Part two airs on Wednesday 21st.

Inside the Christmas Factory – 9pm BBC2

I love programs like this, where they show us the ins and outs of Business’. Gregg Wallace is the lucky duck that gets to spend a whole day with a Cake factory finding out how hard it is to produce over 2,000 mince pies..and Cherry Healey spends time with a factory who produces over 400million meters of wrapping paper!

Wednesday 21st December

Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas (3/3)- 8pm, Channel 4

I have watched the other two episodes and this is the last one this year. This time she’s in London where she visits the night marked in Hoxton. I love Kirstie’s passion for everything hand crafted and local.

24 Hours in A&E – 9pm, Channel 4

Can’t really say what’s going to happen in this, as it’s different every week. It is an incredible insight into what the NHS Doctors, Nurses, Porters and other staff members go through to save our lives. Not only do they sacrifice their own time, they go above and beyond to do everything they can for us. (Yes I wholeheartedly support the NHS)

Thursday 22nd December

Grand Designs – 7.55pm, More4

Yes it’s old…Yes it’s a repeat but I still love this program. Kevin’s love for architecture is contagious. Plus this one is local to me on the River Thames. The house is spectacular and has a really ingenious way to combat flooding.

The World’s Most Expensive Toys – 9pm, Channel 4

How Much? I will yell this at the TV at least 10 times during this program..much to the annoyance of my other half.

Friday 23rd December

Saving Mr Banks – 8.30pm, BBC2

When this movie first came out, I refused to watch it. I love Mary Poppins and this Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is one of the most amazing words ever! But once I watched this, I loved it. The idea that Walt Disney isn’t as shiny and melodic as the Disney franchise is today.

Casino Royale – 9pm, ITV2

Bond. Enough Said.

Saturday 24th December aka CHRISTMAS EVE!!

Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show – 7.25pm, BBC1

The funniest man on the planet as a Christmas Show. Two of my favourite things. It is the last of his series that has been showing on a Saturday night. The best part is his “Send to All” texting skit. Completely taking control of the chosen celebrity’s phone and sending a generally embarrassing text to all of the contact list. Love it!

8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown – 9pm, Channel 4

I much prefer this to the original 8 out of 10 Cats. Jon Richardson is a odd crush of mine…the way he solves the maths questions without even writing out the method; Genius.

So there you have it…my top two shows for every evening from Today until Christmas Eve. Hope you enjoy…I’ll let you know my verdict in the New Year.

Over and Out

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