As a stay at home Mum, I have a terrible sense of guilt that seems to follow me wherever I go. I thought that because I am almost always available whenever my children need me, guilt wouldn’t be an emotion I would experience often. Oh how wrong I was…
I’m almost always in attendance for every assembly, play, or theme share that my children have participated in over the last eighteen years and thus I don’t feel guilty that I am working instead of being with them. I am also always there to take them to school and pick them up. Even though I’m well known amongst my friends for my inherent lateness, somehow I manage to avoid being late for the children. Oddly enough, It’s only the pub that i struggle to get too on time!
I try very hard with my children’s nutritional requirements, I breastfed all four of my children until well after their first birthdays. I try to limit their intake of sugar, salt, fat and processed foods, Teddy has been to McDonalds only twice in his seven years. I also try to limit the time they spend on their respective electronic gadgets, although admittedly I struggle daily with this one!
I try to fight my boy’s corner whenever necessary, when W was diagnosed with fairly severe dyslexia I appealed to the local Grammar school for a place on the grounds that he hadn’t been diagnosed with learning difficulties at the time of the eleven plus exam. When that failed, I battled with the head of SENCO at his local comp, because they held no record of him ever being diagnosed with dyslexia. His primary school had failed to pass on his test results. After a while though all of his needs were being catered for. That is until they decided he qualified for a scribe for his GCSEs but not a reader, despite the fact that his main struggles are with reading. So once more i took up my mantle as warrior Mum and went into battle for my child and lo and behold, their mistake, W did indeed qualify for both a scribe and a reader.
In short I try my very hardest for my children and they are my world. So why then do I feel extreme guilt almost constantly about the things I don’t do or could do better? Sadly I’m somewhat lazy by nature and that can impact on my parenting. I do rather enjoy the easy life. When T unexpectedly asks to have a friend over from school that very same day and I know that I’ve had a very long day or the house is too untidy to be seen I will say no or reschedule for a different hopefully tidier day. I do occasionally buy Coco pops instead of Weetabix because I have had enough of W moaning about the lack of sugar in his life, or the fact that everyone else’s parents always let them eat whatever and whenever they want. Even though I know full well that if I spoke to said parents, they would probably tell me an entirely different version, than the one my 15 year old is giving me. I do sometimes skip watching S play in a football match, because it is pouring with rain or I really can’t stand the idea of trying to amuse T for at least an hour, by the side of a football pitch.
I feel terrible guilt if the children are all quiet, but only because they are playing on the tablet. Even if I know that their allotted time for the day has well and truly passed, there is no way I’m going to jeopardise the unexpected peace and quiet. Although their poor little eyes are going to be square by bedtime, or that they play on Minecraft so often, they are in danger of turning into zombies themselves.
J got excellent A level grades and is currently studying Biology at the best place to study that subject outside of Oxbridge. I took three children and a my nine month baby bump on four bus journeys and wrote endless letters to secure him his place at Grammar school and he has blossomed academically. But still I feel guilty because, like his Dad, he is naturally very shy, and I feel as if this might somehow be my fault that I didn’t manage to help him overcome his shyness before he left home.
I feel extreme guilt when my kids don’t have the latest gadgets or brand name clothes because I don’t work. One income plus four kids doesn’t stretch very far. I felt horribly guilty that I took out a gym membership to try and finally conquer my weight battle and it worked, I have lost four stone. Should I have spent the money on things for the children instead of myself? Will their feet suffer from years of Tesco/Asda shoes rather than expensive and properly fitted ones from Clarks?
I chose to become a stay at home Mum because I thought it was the right thing to do for my children, to be at home during their early years. I hoped that they would never cry, because Mummy wasn’t there on time to pick them up from school, or watch their starring role as a donkey in the Nativity play. So that the only person picking them up when they fell down would be their Mum or Dad but what if it wasn’t the right choice? Maybe they would’ve preferred me to work so that they could holiday abroad instead of a caravan holiday in Devon. But as I’m not starring in Back to the Future and can’t time travel to make a different decision I guess I need to kick the feeling of guilt into touch and accept that no matter how hard I try as a Mum my best is never going to be perfection and I am sadly only human. Although how amazing would it be to be superhero Mum not only would I get to wear a cute red cape my kids would definitely think I had the coolest job in the world…..