The Guilty Parent
No one tells you that one of the many feelings you will get from becoming a parent is the overwhelming guilt through almost everything that goes on in your week. It may sound odd, and to those without children, it will sound insane, but I personally feel guilt more than any other emotion on some days. This is due to the fact that it’s not myself who I could be screwing up, it’s a new little person. This person needs love, guidance, discipline, teaching, feeding, washing, activities, socialising and much, much more and you as one person needs to find the time to divide all these things up; as well as making sure you don’t let your own needs slip. You have to learn to juggle all these important things and also squeeze in the everyday mundane tasks; plus some of you go to work full time and still have to meet all the expectations!
So, what have I felt guilty about recently? Let’s see how many you can relate to:
- Going food shopping – yes it has to be done, but he has to come with me and he does get fidgety now that he’s a bit older and he gets fed up. Cue guilt… but think how guilty I would feel if he had nothing to eat!
- Doing housework – again another activity that needs to be done but when he stands there telling me ‘You’re done’ it really does break my heart that I can’t give him my all.
- Saying no. Whether it’s to an ice lolly at breakfast, another new toy or placing toys all over the dog and so on and on… We know we all say it as it’s what is good for them, but they don’t understand and their little faces let you know that (this is where I sometimes end up giving in)
- Bedtime. Probably one of the worst guilt feeling for many of us. Daddy has only been in half and hour but bedtime needs to stick for the routine and he is crying because he wants to play. This is where I need to be strong or he would end up staying up half the night.
- Ignoring the tantrums. These can come thick and fast in the first few years and some may result in children hitting their heads on floors, kicking their legs about and making themselves go bright red. The usual reason for the tantrum is from you saying no. Most of us ignore these, but at times we just feel too guilty and think we should intervene, even though this may send out the wrong message. Getting the right balance can be hard.
As a stay at home Mum I then face the guilt I feel towards my hubby:
- I get to stay at home all day and watch my son grow and develop.
- We go out to lots of nice places and hubby is stuck at work.
- I try and clean the house and have it tidy ready for him to come home because I feel guilty that I have been at home and he’s been at work. Then I have the guilt I mentioned earlier over doing too much housework and upsetting the toddler – how to self-punish!!
- The biggest guilt I feel is that I no longer bring any money into the household.
I expect there are many of you out there who then feel like a guilty parent because you do work to help with the income but then you don’t spend as much time with your children, but at the end of the day you are securing a better future for them.
How do you get through all of this?
- Remember that all the decisions you make are for the best for your child. You DO need to get food in, you DO need to clean and you DO need to say no for them to learn.
- All children tantrum so keep in mind that it is happening in most houses across the UK at that very time and many more parents are at breaking point just as you are!
- If you are a stay at home parent you are doing what you think is best. You are there to ensure your child grows up with your values, have your love and attention each and every day and you also get to enjoy watching them grow. (If you are a working parent see comment above).
- I have to keep in my mind that my hubby is paying for me to do a job and that it is the most important job I have ever had.
- Guilt can eat us all up at some point during parenting but we should take comfort in that feeling as it is only there because we care so much about our family that we always consider them and want to put them first.
I personally need to learn that I cannot, and nobody can, be the ‘perfect parent’. We are all muddling through and trying our hardest not to mess up, but at times we all need to make some mistakes to learn how to do it better. Which is probably why by the third child I am sure most of you are pros!
So go put your feet up and pour that glass of wine, for tomorrow is a new day and who knows what new guilt’s may crop up.
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