The other day I wrote a post about mum guilt. And it got me thinking about all the other aspects of parenting that I could possibly do better on.
I do honestly feel like I do my best. But do I REALLY? I know I could improve in lots of ways. Although I could also do 100 sit ups at 6am every morning and only eat quinoa salads for lunch. But that’s not going to happen either.
For somebody that’s never had much time for mum guilt it’s suddenly popping up all over the place. Especially when I’m ‘evening mum‘ and think back about the day that’s just happened. I found myself lying in bed the other night (with a toddler foot in my face despite me hating co-sleeping) thinking of all the things I *possibly might be just a little bit shit at.
So I thought rather than stress about them, I’ll write them down, get them out of my system, address anything I can, and then tell mum guilt to piss right off.
What started the mum guilt?
The thing that kicked all this off was me deciding to send the twins to preschool even though I don’t technically need childcare.
They wouldn’t normally be going until September, just after they’re three, but I found myself jumping at the chance to pack them off for two days a week. To give myself an opportunity to work a bit, and to have a bit of ‘me time’.
Cue wondering if I’ve done the right thing, and feeling ten times worse leaving them there screaming when I actually don’t have to. Mum guilt, you are a bitch.
The lovely comments I had from my Facebook followers have made me feel loads better, so I’m almost over it. Thank you. You are most definitely my people.
Now just a few other things to tackle and then I’ll be back on track and be able to let the mum guilt go!
5 reasons I have mum guilt
Guilt over no one-to-one time with twins
I’m not sure why I feel guilty over this, surely anyone with more than one child has the same issue. Maybe it’s a twin thing. They are always together in whatever they do, and obviously they know no different. But a few times recently when one of them hasn’t napped and we’ve sat and read stories or played games together, I’ve remembered how lovely it is focusing on just one child. And they love it too.
There’s no competing for my attention, or my lap, or the toy we’re going to play with. No pushing or shoving. They get all of me. Just like an only child would get, or a child with an older sibling at school or who’s not interested in what we’re up to at that moment. I’ve heard of some twin parents sending their twins to childcare on different days so they have one-to-one time with each of them. I can’t see that happening here, but maybe I’ll have to come up with another approach. Anyone want to borrow a twin for a few hours? (I’d recommend Twin Two.)
The constant fighting
It seems there’s nothing my three boys like more than a fight, and it’s exhausting. Whether it’s between the twins, or with the four year old, they can’t seem to help themselves. And the thing I feel guilty about is that Twin Two always seems to come off worse. Twin One (the innocent, butter wouldn’t melt looking one) has a nasty streak and isn’t afraid to use it. His fuse is short and within a matter of seconds a situation can go from fun and games, to a scene out of Fight Club.
If Twin Two even dares to look at his brother in the wrong way, he’s going to pay for it. With slaps, scratches, pushes, kicks and even bites. Twin One goes for it and I spend at least half my day pulling them apart, trying to separate them. I know all siblings fight, but I feel so upset for Twin Two when he’s always the one losing. I can’t do anymore than I’m doing, but some days it feels like I’m letting poor Twin Two down so badly. Nobody should be beaten up in their own home even if it is by your two year old twin brother!
Guilt over being ‘shouty’ mum
This leads me on nicely to one thing I feel guilty about on a daily basis. Being a shouty mum. I feel like some days all I’ve done is shout. I shout when they fight, I shout when they climb on the window sills, I shout when they throw a fork at each other across the dinner table. And OBVIOUSLY I shout when nobody puts their BLOODY SHOES ON ready for the school run despite being asked 10 times. I can’t help it and I know it’s awful. I’m not saying they don’t deserve to be told off for all those things, they most certainly do, but I don’t seem to be able to do it without shouting. And then I wonder why my four year old shouts back. Grrr.
One thing I could definitely do better at is the food I give to my kids. (And we all know how important the nutrition is – especially for the babies) Because the four year old has historically been such a fussy eater I’ve fallen into that routine of giving him the stuff I know he’ll eat and not pushing him to try new things. Although luckily he’s doing really well on that front at school. Every time I try anything new he turns his nose up at it, even though he may have eaten it at school, and rather than persevere I lazily wonder why I’ve bothered. Whilst scraping his plate into the bin.
The twins are slightly better than their big brother, but not much. I need to get the cook books out again and come up with new ideas – like I did when I only had one child and all the time in the world (funny how it didn’t feel like it back then though). Because seriously, how many times can a kid eat cheesy pesto pasta in a week?!
Mum guilt over screen time
I’m sure I’m not alone on this one, but some days it feels ridiculous. I know all kids have screen time – and I can’t imagine any mum who doesn’t allow it is following my blog if I’m honest! I genuinely don’t feel like it’s the bad thing that some people make out it is, and let’s face it, it’s a bloody lifesaver some days.
But other days I feel like it’s total lazy parenting on my part. Like when the four year old comes home from school. He’s knackered and hungry, and all he wants to do is sit and watch something and snack. And snack some more. And at least two or three out of the five days a week, I let him. I think a day at school for a four year old must be tiring, and he needs some downtime. Then that means the twins want to do the same. I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve wanted to watch Snail and the Whale since it was on at Christmas. Twin Two is OBSESSED!
Coupled with the fact they’re in the (bad?) habit of watching an iPad whilst I get them all ready for bed (dating back to the early days of surviving when I often flew solo and needed to distract the eldest whilst I saw to the twins) it feels like too much. Poor parenting or what? And there’s that mum guilt yet again. Today after school I shall get out the play doh!
Time to get over it
There must be 101 reasons mums feel guilty. It no doubt starts from the minute they’re born. Breastfeeding or not breastfeeding. Guilt over going to work, or not going to work. Taking them to a different baby group every day of the week, or staying at home with the tele on. Sending them to nursery for 10 hours a day because you have to make a living. Serving them up homemade organic lamb tagine or a plate of fish fingers. The list goes on.
So I’m now going to get over myself and the stupid mum guilt. Dig out a cookbook and be prepared for nothing to be eaten, and remember that my kids are alive and happy (usually) at bedtime each night, so I can’t be that shit at this whole parenting malarkey. Hopefully.
What do you feel mum guilt over?
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How did I do?
Did you enjoy reading this post? Have a read of my mate Erica’s (The Incidental Parent) post on the same subject Why I’m Calling Time On Mummy Guilt. Then stick around and read some of my other Mum Life posts? How about this one from the early days about finding out it was twins – We’re Going To Need A Bigger Car, or how My Cravings Were So Bad, I Wanted A McDonald’s On Christmas Day. Or head to my Travel Section for some UK holiday and days out inspiration.
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.