Mum guilt

Today I was feeling smug. I was thinking about how people hate Mondays – but not me! I love Mondays. I started writing a post about how I love Mondays and at that exact moment my smugness was replaced with guilt. And anxiety. And panic.

And now I can’t stop panicking so if we are going to have any sort of day, I need to write this down.

*Disclaimer: I am going to write about some of my achievements as a mother. Please do not compare yourself to me – I’ve found that to be one of the most harmful things I can do as a parent. Compare yourself to you. Who do you know you can be? Who do you enjoy being? Just because I like painting with Boo, it doesn’t mean you have to enjoy that too. By all means, make your own list. You may be surprised and feel a bit calmer.

So why do I suddenly feel so guilty? Well I realised I had entirely selfish reasons for liking Mondays. It isn’t about spending time with Boo. It isn’t about what we do together. I like Mondays because of what I can do alone. 

Our routine generally consists of me setting up activities for Boo to do while I get chores done. Tidying and sorting makes me feel relaxed and calm. Being surrounded by mess makes my anxiety shoot through the roof. It makes me feel claustrophobic and trapped. And when I’m really anxious I become frozen. Paralysed. Unable to achieve anything. So I love Mondays because I can busy myself around the house tidying away the weekends mess and calming my anxiety. Then, the icing on the cake is Boo’s 3 hour nap. Until 18 months, Boo would only nap in my arms then suddenly she started napping alone on my bed. For 3 hours! During this time I do deep cleaning and sorting jobs that take more time. I LOVE IT. It has been good for my mental health. But I have had a niggling feeling of guilt. And now I’ve acknowledged it I feel full blown panic.

I have become obsessed with lists and chores and prioritised them above Boo. They have put distance between us. I’ve put my own needs above hers. I’ve palmed her off with TV and snacks so I can quietly tidy alone.

Sorry Boo.

I think I need to get the balance right. I always put activities with Boo on the list but I know I don’t see these as MUST DO items. I think I need to work out how to balance caring for my own mental health while ensuring I give Boo the interaction she deserves.
I also need to acknowledge this isn’t as bad as my panic is trying to convince me it is. We have done lots of wonderful things together:

  • We made coloured rice together that she loves playing with. Thank you Pinterest.
  • She helps me when I prepare dinner; she loves mixing.
  • We bake together.
  • We often paint or draw together.
  • I take her out to do an activity like swimming or trampolining, just the 2 of us, at least once a week.
  • Despite me being quiet a lot, we also talk a lot when we are out and about. Boo talks a lot. That’s because I have encouraged it.
  • We go on wellie walks to find puddles.
  • We go for coffee and cake as a little treat.
  • I know what she likes.
  • She says please and thank you.
  • She loves cuddles and I always make time for them.
  • She’s imaginative because I’ve shown her how to play with toys in different ways.
  • She loves singing and dancing because we have afternoon discos when I’m too tired to chat!

OK. I’m calmer now. There are things I do just for Boo. She is a priority and I do enjoy spending time with her.

I still feel guilty though. Maybe that’s just part of motherhood? I don’t think it should be so I think this is a work in progress.

*Today’s photo is a game we made while I was smack bang in the middle of panic. We poured nuts into a tub to see what noise they made. I taught her the names then we saw what different noises we could make by dropping them from different heights. She loved it.

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