I’m having a rare day off (to myself) and I am already feeling guilty. I know I need to let go of perfection, but this guilt happens so regularly that I might as well have the word tattooed across my forehead. One thing that keeps me going is the realisation that I am not alone, so here I share 10 of my stories with you.
I have checked my email, Instagram, Facebook, the work social media accounts, rather than my own … AND made coffee. I keep thinking that if I try a little harder, get a new schedule, wake up a little earlier and use the right app, I might somehow figure out the key to managing mummyhood without guilt.
2. The guilt of not being as organised as I’d like
I haven’t drunk my cup of coffee yet because I’ve been too busy bundling together nappies, Sudocrem and a spare T-shirt that hasn’t been ironed into his bag … a bag I should have prepared last night instead of watching the next episode of Bosch on Amazon.
3. The should I, shouldn’t I wake him guilt-trip
Waking him is harder than usual. It’s like little C has a built-in alarm clock for 6am on Saturday, but today he just wants a lie-in … and who am I to disturb my little prince when I’m taking a cheeky day off for my nails, hair and Botox.
The should I, shouldn’t I wake him guilt-trip has kicked in. Five more minutes I whisper. I sigh and go back downstairs to drink my lukewarm cuppa, before pouring the rest of my brew down the plug hole.
4. The big clean-up guilt
After getting the buggy out, cleaning up last night’s avalanche of toys from the floor and trying to reason with myself that I do in fact need to employ a cleaner, I go to wake him once again.
5. Tantrum guilt
This is not easy. He’s awake, but not in a pleasant mood. He moans, rolls around then kicks and screams at me. I am in two minds about cancelling my little old me-day because all I feel like doing is crawling underneath the duvet with him!
6. The guilt of bribery
Eventually I coax him downstairs with the promise that we will go and see the bunny rabbits en route to nursery. It’s the little things that get this little fella out of bed.
The first leg of my morning marathon is done. Next thing on my to-do list is to get his coat on, his dummy out and his shoes and socks back on after he has flung them across the living room floor.
His face says it all … bring it on! So I do. I fail in the battle of the jackets, although I manage to get his shoes on after a struggle. An apple becomes my bargaining tool to get him into the buggy. He is hesitant to accept it, so I have to cut it in half.
I sigh as I lock the front door behind me. Leg two can be a challenge too. He is quiet and I wonder if there is a storm brewing. I begin walking at a quicker pace than most days.
7. Nursery guilt
As we reach the nursery, he cries out ‘I don’t want to go!’ I’ve come this far, there is no going back. I carry him into nursery and plonk him down. We are later than usual and the other children are already having breakfast. I suddenly feel bad that I haven’t prepared a full English for him at home.
He stands looking at me with a sad face that has feed me written all over it. He then clings like a koala to my leg before his key worker scoops him up in her arms. I wave at him and he breaks down in tears. Why today! It’s almost as if he’s checked my Wunderlist app in advance and has an alternate plan.
I set off out the door with a big sigh hoping that my me-day is going to be worth all this. I fail to relax as I get on the bus to town. I click on my work email again and then RT a few items before moving on to another social media channel.
8. The guilt of seeing other mums out with their tots
Starbucks is firmly in my sights as I get off the bus, but as I reach out to grab my four-shot latte, I turn to see a smiling mum enjoying quality time with her beautiful little boy. I realise that I haven’t given little C a hug before rushing out of the nursery door … the mummy guilt is just not going to let go.
9. The meltdown at the shops guilt
After a day to myself, I pick up one really grubby, tired little C from nursery. We have to call at the shops for some milk and bread and he makes a beeline for the toys aisle. He picks up a huge truck that’s almost as big as he is.
Arguing with him is pointless, so I let him carry the mammoth vehicle around the store, hoping he’ll get sick of it. Alas, he makes it to the check-out. I cunningly put it to one side thinking he won’t notice, but he’s not daft. He realises that it’s not going home with us and lies kicking and crying on the floor. The mum guilt has got me again.
10. The just one more story guilt
Having returned home from my day off, it’s time to complete the chores with little C’s bath, book and bed routine. After reading Five Minutes Peace for a fifth time, I retire downstairs feeling guilty that I have ended the evening with five stories … and not six … or more.