Mum guilt. It’s not really something I’ve bought into over the past 4.5 years of being a mother.
I do my best and truly believe I shouldn’t feel guilty if that’s what I’m doing.
My kids are happy enough and luckily healthy. I’m never going to be the type to cook complicated organic meals from scratch. Or get out all manner of elaborate arts and craft projects on a daily basis. Cutting and pasting, colouring, sticker books and the odd bit of play doh is surely enough?
I manage to keep them alive until bedtime each day, so I can’t be going too far wrong, can I?
So I’ve never been one for letting the whole mum guilt creep into my psyche like I know some mothers do.
Until now that is.
Now it’s raised its ugly head over one (quite big) thing, and then spread until it got me thinking maybe I’m a little bit shit at quite a lot of aspects of motherhood, but that’s for another post. What a bastard it is!
Why do I have mum guilt?
So the quite big thing is that my twins have started pre-school. No big deal, everyone starts pre-school at some point. Correct.
But mine have only just turned 2.5 and they’re going 9 months early. Or should I say 9 months earlier than their big brother did and when most kids start at the age of 3.
Again no big deal, lots of 2.5 year olds go to pre-school; it’s a perfect place for them to go whilst their parents work.
However I don’t ‘work’. I don’t have a ‘job’ that I go to every day and earn money. My ‘job’ is looking after my three young boys. I’m fully aware I’m in a very lucky situation to be able to do this. Although, seriously some days, I’d PAY to be able to sit in an office like I used to. Drinking hot coffee, chatting to colleagues and generally being away from small people.
But on the whole I’ve loved being a stay at home mum for the past 4.5 years.
Why am I feeling guilty?
So why the mum guilt? Well, it’s because I’ve CHOSEN to send them early, even though I don’t have to.
And the reasons are two-fold. Firstly their speech has been fairly behind in developing, which apparently is a twin thing according to the NHS. I’ve also no doubt it’s to do with their big brother NEVER shutting the f*ck up.
We’ve had health visitor and audiology appointments – all is fine. Maybe they just can’t be arsed. Although not so coincidentally it’s come on in leaps and bounds since the four year old started school and the twins actually have time without being overpowered by him. Twin One even said “Royal Albert Hall, Mummy?” the other day. WTF??
So I thought it would help for them to be in an environment with other children and adults for their development. Not to mention the socialisation and learning to GODDAM SHARE!! Although leaving them there this morning both screaming the place down, and watching Twin One being pushed into a door frame by a big bruiser of a kid hasn’t helped my state of mind.
I’m also hoping they start to walk ever so slightly quicker than 0.00001 mile an hour on the pre-school run.
Mum guilt is kicking my arse
The other reason is me. I want to do something for me. And that’s where the mum guilt is REALLY kicking my arse.
I want to do more freelance writing, learning and build this little blog up. And I want to do at least some of those things in daylight hours without interruption. Rather than at midnight as I have been doing, in between settling one, two or three of my children back to sleep YET AGAIN. When I’m too tired to concentrate.
After 4.5 years of being solely a stay at home mum, I want to do something for me. I’m lucky to be able to do that, but I feel incredibly selfish in doing so.
The mum guilt whispers in my ear that I’m sticking two fingers up at my kids. Packing them off to pre-school for two days a week, just so I can fanny about on my laptop, eating biscuits, drinking (hot) coffee and scrolling through Facebook.
Mum guilt doesn’t balance it out by also telling me it will probably make me a better mummy to all three of them. And that emotionally I’ll be a whole lot better off by having some time for myself. Albeit it I choose to spend that time working rather than doing much more ‘enjoyable’ me-time activities.
Feeling guilty over ‘me time’
For the past 18 months my parents have had the twins one morning a week whilst the four year old was at pre-school and now school. For those five hours I work harder than I did when I was employed (nobody to gossip with!) And I love it. That’s the ‘me time’ I want. When I remember I have a skill-set and qualifications and that I used to be pretty okay (award winning, actually) at my job as a journalist. And that I’m not just ‘mummy’.
But the mum guilt isn’t recognising that at the moment. And because I’m not turning up at an office and being employed by someone else for those days, it feels like I don’t deserve to have that time.
We’re only on week two of it so far, and already I feel better for it. Maybe it’s because when all three were pushing the limits yesterday, I could take a deep breath and remember I’ve got a ‘day off’ today. It really did wonders.
Time to tackle the mum guilt
The first day of my new found freedom was spent steaming the floors in my house. The second day was spent scrubbing bathrooms to within an inch of their lives and wiping skirting boards. That wasn’t exactly the me time I was after, but it actually felt good to have proper time to do it!
And after some time apart I’m looking forward to seeing all three of them and having cuddles. Hearing about their day (albeit in pretty limited vocabulary!) Having a nice few hours until bedtime. Rather than wanting to punch myself in the face some days by 3pm because it’s STILL four hours until I can pack them off to bed.
So we are where we are, and I’ll let you know how it goes. But in the meantime, any tips on how to get that damn mum guilt back in its stupid box?
How did I do?
Did you enjoy this post? You might like some of my others, such as all the emotions I felt when my eldest started pre-school, or 10 things I never thought I’d let my children do – until I had them, or how about Why I Hate Co-sleeping. And if you like that little lot, check out the Mum Life section on my homepage for more of the same.
If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.
And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here or at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you.
You have no need to feel guilty you are doing an amazing job. I send my to nursery for 3 hours four days a week and I have no job not even freelance. It’s the only time I can shop, walk the dog and do jobs and have a bit of me time. You need to do what you need to do to keep sane so you don’t punch yourself in the face.
Regarding speech the 6 month speech thing for twins is also a thing in Switzerland my son is 3 and not saying full sentences. So don’t worry about that either they will get there.
Thanks Susie, that’s lovely of you to say. I’m feeling so much better having a bit of child-free time. And their speech is weirdly coming along brilliantly. It’s like I jinxed it by searching for preschools 🙂
You will be amazed at how quickly they develop and how much you achieve in that time. And I think you have earnt the odd netflix binge/an hour to relax in day light as you have worked pretty much non stop setting the blog etc up whilst raising 3 tiny people. Take a break and ditch the guilt x
Ah thank you. I’m sure I’ll be over it by next week!
My elder 2 are 16 months apart and it never bothered me until we had the third.
The amount of one to one time she got as a baby made me realise how the other 2 were always together doing everything together!
Mum guilt is a bugger but you are doing the right thing by your children at that moment in time.
Things might change and you might find yourself doing things differently later but we are all just doing th ebest we can.
I’m sure your twins will love pre-school.
(all of mine went at 2 years and I work from home)
Thank you, and you’re right. I’m sure I’ll be over it very soon once I start getting used to the peace and quiet!
I sent Jake at 2 years 10 months just for a morning a week and he loved it so much! He would beg to go more. Pre-school for us was a wonderful place where he could learn and play and get the stimulation I didn’t have the energy to give him every single day. I have considered sending William early just because we had such a good experience before and I wonder if he would benefit- his speech hasn’t come as quickly as Jake’s had. So do not feel guilty!
Thanks lovely. I’m sure a few weeks of my own time will rid me of my guilt!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting some “me time” I used to work in a pre-school where parents would leave their 1 year old there 4 days a week. 2 days a week is healthy for both them and your sanity!
Thank you! That makes me feel much better!
Try not to feel guilty. Your children will get taught by professionals, and it’s great for twins to get some extra attention. You are an adult with a brain, and it’s fine to want to use your brain for more than settling arguments with a two year old – or TWO! Or a four year old. You are also an entertaining writer! 🙂