Mother guilt


Here's one for you: Why are mother's so good at guilt?

Does it fall to us naturally to feel like we're never quite cutting it or is it a twenty-first century working-mother specialty? I wonder.

I am so bloody excellent at it. Guilty of letting my children watch TV. Guilty of raising my voice. Guilty of occasionally serving popcorn for dinner. Guilty of not homeschooling. Guilty of bribing with chocolate frogs.

And now preschoolers are being diagnosed with depression? Heck.

I'm sensing an anxiety connection. 

There are sad coroner records from the Middle Ages detailing the deaths of infants who had been left swaddled in a crib near a fire while Mum went out to work or who were disastrously left in the care of a three year old sibling. There's some serious historical mother guilt. The mothers weren't usually charged but neither does the coroner record her grief.

There are a hundred self help books about mothering without guilt and I'm guilty of walking right on past and buying a Stephen Fry novel instead. 

So here's one for you who are truly giving it a red hot go. The ones who frequently think: I should be doing this differently but who follow instinct anyway. For you who ponder: if one more person tells me stop-and-enjoy-this-time-it-goes-so-fast I am going to tear their head off. I give you this:

You're reading a blog. Which means you search out stuff. Which means you're curious which naturally means you're intelligent which means your kids are REALLY LUCKY because even if they do occasionally get popcorn for dinner or perhaps have the odd afternoon of TV they've got a Mum with smarts and this means everything will be OK. And YOU. You have a plan. You always have a plan. You don't have time for guilt. You're too busy getting through this totally lovely year and trying to remember how it felt to feel totally lovely. HOLD ON, OK?


Because even if you eat five pieces of yesterday's caramel, your bum will never look like this.


4 Comments on “Mother guilt

Alex N
September 2, 2009 at 7:09 am

1. I think my bum does already look like that.

2. I do feel guilty. Mostly because I shout. A lot.

3. I have a 6 yr old I’m going to take to the docs about depression – so any top tips for either a)what to say, or b)how to get him out of it so I don’t need to take him, would be very much appreciated.

Happy days xxx

September 2, 2009 at 10:05 am

the word ‘guilt’ has been given a bad rap. too negative. i see it as a positive word.

think like this:
‘guilt’ is your motivator.
its the reason you do all those positive things for your kids.
guilt is the devil hot on your heels pushing you to improve everyday.

really, where would we be without it i say?


September 2, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Thats so right, Fi. I loved reading that. I am guilty of being a guilt ridden soul. But, I like the way Bennoss thinks! Great ‘cup-half-full’ attitude, B!

September 2, 2009 at 12:53 pm

nest: i like the way you question the validation of published recipes 😉


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