By Jacqui Miller.
We come to a time when our kids get a little bit older and we’re deciding what we want to do with our lives. Some people go back to work and feel guilty because they’re at work; others feel guilty because they’re not working. The best thing to get past that feeling of guilt and comparison is to find out what your own convictions are and decide what’s right for you and your family. Everybody has opinions, everybody’s going to tell you what they think is best for your life. It’s great to take on different feedback from people but there comes a point when we have to decide what’s going to be best for me and my family.
What’s a trap for new mums?
It’s so easy to look around and see what everybody else is doing. But we might only get to see the highlights of everybody else’s life. We get sucked into the vortex of social media and we see everybody’s highlight wheel where it looks beautiful, there are fifty filters on there, and everybody looks like they have angelic children. As a mum, it’s too easy to fall into that space where we look at life and think my life doesn’t measure up and I’m not good enough.
With newborns in my house, there were some days, I didn’t shower. My makeup wasn’t done and my hair wasn’t done. But you know what, we have to come to a place where we’re comfortable with who we are, otherwise we will always feel like we don’t measure up, like we’re not good enough. If we live in a place where we’re feeling guilty all the time, because we’re working or because we’re staying at home and think we should be working, we don’t get to enjoy the joy of the moment. And enjoy what we’re actually doing with our children. Many of us, as parents, can fall into that trap.
Is it easier to negative talk to yourself rather than positive talk?
It’s really easy for us to see the flaws in our own life. It’s easy for us to see what we’re not good at. And that’s human nature. Again, talking about social media, when we’re at the school gate, or when we get into work and we hear everybody’s lives and we see their photos and we think, I wish I could have a life that looks like theirs. Or I wish I was a better mum or dad. Sometimes, we just need to pat ourselves on the back and congratulate ourselves on getting these kids to school, or getting them out to university, or whatever it is. They’re still sane, alive, fed and it’s ok to be a little bit kind to ourselves.
When we see another parent with a kid that’s having a moment, let’s just smile. We’ve all been there. Let’s congratulate them on keeping it together. Give them a thumbs-up.
How do we get past parent guilt?
There are so many areas where we can feel a little bit guilty. One of those areas is feeling guilty for looking after ourselves. Whether it’s going window shopping or just going for a walk, we feel guilty because we’re constantly thinking is everything okay at home? Should I be at home? I’ve got ten baskets of washing to sort! My husband and I worked out a good balance. It’s actually really great for me to go out and have some time by myself: to look after myself, go to the gym, go for a walk. Do whatever it is that’s important to make you feel good so you can come back and be an incredible mum and not be feral. Moving past that parent guilt is really important for you.
Whether you have a partner or you’re a single parent, it’s important to find the things that feed your soul. It’s important to move past the guilt and know that I’m worth this. I’m valuable and I’m a great parent.