I’ve seen quite a few posts by mum bloggers talking about the phenomena known as ‘mummy guilt’. In a nutshell, this is the negative thoughts that many mums feel and experience because of what they do – or what they don’t do – for their little ones.
Reading through these posts though, it strikes me how ‘mummy guilt’ is not just experienced by mums. As a stay-at-home dad who’s the main childrearer in our household, I can relate to the majority of the guilt that’s talked about.
Unfortunately though, lazy naming conventions based on outdated stereotypes, suggest that ‘mummy guilt’ is only something that the female of the species go through. I’ve always ascertained that mums and dads are more similar than some people would like to admit. But, for whatever reason, it can feel like there’s an agenda to divide the sexes rather than unite them.
I’m pretty certain that what I do on a daily basis with Toddler L is the same as what a stay-at-home mum does with her kid. As such, I experience the same highs and the same lows that my XX chromosome owning counterparts do.
Mums shouldn’t have to feel like they’re the only ones who struggle with guilt, feelings of inadequacy or any of the other crap that results from having a kid. I can assure you that dads do too. We’re all parents after all, so surely ‘parenting guilt’ is a more reflective and appropriate title?
Do the things that we feel guilty about make us bad people and parents? Not at all. I think they just make us normal. We’re not superheroes who can juggle everything, keep everyone happy and never falter. I know deep down that I’m a good – actually, scrub that, a great – dad despite the occasional feelings that I’m not doing enough.
My ‘Mummy Guilt’ Examples
So, in no particular order, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve done – or not done – which have made me suffer a bout of ‘mummy guilt’ at one point or another:
1) The numerous occasions when I’ve put Toddler L down for her nap early because I’d had enough, my patience had worn thin and I just needed some time away from her.
2) The large amount of time we spend in the house rather than being out exploring the world. Am I stifling her development by keeping her confined?
3) The fact that the number of hours we have kid’s TV on per day has slowly increased as she’s got older because it keeps her quiet and entertained.
4) The time I got really annoyed, swore repeatedly and called her a few unpleasant things because she kept indicating that she wanted some food, but broke down in an explosion of tears every time I offered her something.
5) The fact that she don’t really socialise with many other kids – even though I guess I’m a big kid – apart from at a couple of different classes each week. Should she be with other children more frequently?
6) The amount of time I spend on my phone / laptop as I attempt to juggle both looking after the sprog whilst earning some money. Do I ignore her too much? Do I play with her enough? Am I as attentive as I should be?
7) The fact that I usually wait for her to have a morning nap before I eat my breakfast so that I don’t have to share.
8) That I often clock-watch and am guilty of counting down the hours before she goes to bed, has a nap or the missus comes home.
What do you reckon? Do any of these sound familiar? Is there anything you feel ‘parenting’ guilt about when it comes to your kids? Let me know below!