First time mum/referee/ sleeve snot wiper to a wild toddler. Designated household bum changer. Blogging about this motherhood malarkey from a refreshingly honest and unfiltered perspective.

Mum Guilt

Immense guilt is something I've encountered a lot of over many aspects in my life. Guilt when I pretended, I was working late so I could escape those plans I wish I hadn't made. Guilt at that time I said those things I didn't mean (but really did) out of pent up anger, bitterness I'd stowed away. Guilt for not appreciating loved ones surrounding me and not spending sufficient time with them when I had the chance. Guilt for feeling guilt. 

Being a mother, guilt has taken a different, fresh form. A new voracious, gut wrenching guilt that doesn't subside. The covetous kind that coils itself around my heart and eats away at me day in and day out. Fills me with despair and self-loathing because it projects blame and convinces me I am a terrible person. I have felt it shadow my every move, thrive in my failures, consume me to the brink of being filled with a ravenous feeling of regret and hate and humiliating shame.  

There are a few things (okay, a lot) in which I have felt insanely guilty of since Arthur was born, I scribbled down the top 10 times I've felt most guilt ridden: 

  1. I didn't breastfeed out of choice because I just didn't want too. I've respectively fucked up his health from the get go by filling him up with the shitty powdered equivalent.  
  2. I don't play/interact with Arthur enough. Arthur is neglected... and bored. I get bored spending all day with him. I am a terrible mother. I'm boring. 
  3. I give him potato waffles and fish fingers or things easy to make a lot of the time because I can't be arsed standing preparing a meal that will be tossed on the floor anyway, and I'm tired. Convenience over health - bad parenting and sheer selfishness. 
  4. I let him watch too much TV for the sake of 20 minutes to scroll through social media and idolize sugar coated bullshit that is other people's lives - Arthur will become a zombie incapable of knowing how to read a book and will probably fail in school. 
  5. I grudged paying £45 for a pair of sturdy Clarks shoes so I opted for the £8 Asda sale boots. Arthur will now have disfigured feet because I was a stingy bastard. 
  6. I am too impatient. I get frustrated at things that can't be helped. Other Mums don't yell at their babies because they won't go to sleep or because they want attention. 
  7. I cave into his incessant demanding for a treat almost immediately to spare the unrelenting tantrum that will follow. I am drilling the notion into my child that he will always get his own way if he deems it, I will create a brat. 
  8. I wish the days away. It's 10am and I wish it was his fucking bedtime. He won't stop moaning. I'm ungrateful. I don't deserve my son. 
  9. That time, I was so overwhelmed that I yelled, "Why the fuck did I even want to have a baby?" I felt resentment in the midst of my separation and doing it all alone. I should never miss my old life when this one is so fulfilling. I am disgusting for even conjuring such a thought. 
  10. All the other babies have two parents, and I chose to break apart a family. I chose my own needs over my child. I'm selfish for putting myself first. 

Reflecting on this list, I guess some of it, in retrospect, is slightly melodramatic, a little ridiculous (but to be expected maybe?). Actually, even more so, a little heart-breaking where I can now notice the times where I was just struggling, just feeling a little overwhelmed or exhausted or lonely. Where I didn't ever resent having my son but resented that I wasn't coping with the reality of parenting, that I was angry at myself because I didn’t feel I was doing good enough and the personal feeling like I was failing at the one thing a woman is supposed to excel at.  I think we all have days where the kids are greeted with basic fish fingers and waffles for tea because it's more favourable than slaving away in the kitchen after a full day at work. Arthur has been stomping around in anything but Clarks shoes since I wasted £40 on the first pair that he couldn't fit into over a week later and his feet are absolutely fine. All ten toes have been accounted for.   

Yes, I didn't breastfeed out of personal choice but looking back, I had just gone through a literal movie birth - you know the unbelievable scenarios on TV when you hear that swoosh and the woman's waters break and 5 minutes later, she's panting and shrieking and screaming she needs to push and out slips the baby at the side of a road? Yeah, not only on TV... that was my reality. My waters broke and I had to head to hospital immediately. 

I was in shock, I was exhausted. I didn't get to sleep after labour. I was thrown some birth control, told to hop out of bed, give myself a wash and go home. I was made to feel like a nuisance. I was made to feel as though, because my birth was fast and smooth sailing that I should just get up and get on with. I felt like I had to put on a front and act as though it was another day, and I did... Que future anxiety meltdowns.  

So, no, I don't feel guilty anymore for not breastfeeding because I was in no position or healthy state of mind to do so. Arthur thrived on formula. He was fed, safe and loved, that's all that matters.  
However, there is some guilt I still tackle. That churns in the pit of my stomach. That makes me feel compelled to overcompensate, to burn myself out. 

I do feel like shit that I don't always do enough with Arthur, that I'm not a fun, crafty mum that bakes cakes and makes shitty toy rockets out of pasta and old water bottles, that I plonk him on the couch and let him be absorbed by mindless TV instead of interacting with him more than I sometimes do, that I'm always glaring at the clock, wishing away the day instead of soaking up every second I can and that I'm always complaining that it's still not bedtime. 

I'm sure I will overcome the guilt for it to be replaced with a new fresh shame. I think it really is a part of this parenting roller-coaster. I assume I will always be comparing myself to the cool, yet slightly overbearing, goes-to-the-gym-at-6am every morning and makes fruit platters shaped as a smiley face for the kids' breakfast insta mum.  That, although, some days, I literally want to change the time on the clock myself, that some days I want a few blissful hours to be Taylor and not just Mum, Mama, Mummy, that I can be quick to shout instead of taking a minute to breathe, that I do use TV as an occupying tool so I can sit down for just five minutes, that I do pray for a longer nap time so I can escape in the reality of another book, that I do find it all pretty boring and lonely most days, that Arthur is still treasured and adored and loved beyond belief. 

I try to give myself credit, I remind myself with the motto that, sometimes, my best is all I can give. I attempt to (pitifully so, at times) promise myself that, although it doesn't always feel good enough, I'm trying my damned hardest to do the very best I can because it's all I can give, because we're all just winging it and giving it the best shot we can.

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