A little pre-warning: this isn’t the most upbeat post you’ll have read for a while. It is somewhat lacking sparkle, so I apologise. It is, however, me sharing a truthful, from-the-heart account of this week’s mummy juggle…
I write this a little frayed around the edges. Remember last week I talked about the importance of planning my week? Well, as they say, ‘the best laid plans oft got astray’. Louis has been poorly again – I’ve now logged a 3/4-weekly pattern of ‘off weeks’ (which I’ve shared with the GP!) which start a chain of events which go as follows: the sick days themselves, the week-plus of unsettled sleep that follows, a week of ‘normal’ routine and then round we go again. All three of us are sleep-deprived, short-tempered and fed up. For me, it comes with another tummy-punch: GUILT.
I feel so guilty…
I feel guilty because I feel I’m missing a trick or doing something wrong which is causing Louis’ immunity to be taking a bit of a battering.
I feel guilty because I am FED UP of surviving on 5-6 hours of broken sleep each night.
I feel guilty because I’m not giving my best during the daylight hours: I’m in survival mode and taking the easy options where I can. Baby group? Yes, that’s ready-made entertainment! TV? OK, just one more episode of Thomas and Friends while mummy takes a breather!
I feel guilty because this not-so-little pregnant belly is getting nowhere near the TLC it did the first time round. Rest, relaxation and ideal baby-growing conditions are a pipe dream.
I feel guilty because I’ve done little more with my time this week than “getting through” the routine and then slump in a heap with a book and bed.
I feel guilty because I’ve not much left to be a good wife or friend….
I feel guilty because time is ticking ahead of Baby Two’s arrival and I’ve made very little progress this week.
The irony is, as a friend or a coach, my instinct on hearing this tirade from someone else would be to go into nurturer mode. I’d listen, I’d ask questions, I’d shed a new light. But, when it comes to being a friend or coach to myself I’m rrrrr-rubbish! So, during nap-time today, I decided to get up close and personal with my guilty feelings and wanted to share the steps with you in case you’ve got a dose of the guilts too:
- Let it all out: Don’t stew on the feelings, it’s a complete waste of energy. Instead, let them out by writing them down or getting an understanding friend to listen. Vent and then breathe. Take a few deep breaths, breathing out the guilty feeling and let the emotion drift away.
- Look for the clues: What is the guilty feeling really about? Feeling guilty is usually a distress call from another emotion, such as sadness or anger or frustration. You might wish you’d done something differently, done more. For me, when I’ve looked back on the week, the guilt really was showing me that I wish I’d made other choices. While I can’t change what’s been and gone, I can see that maybe I might do things a little differently next time.
- Give yourself a break: So, I wish I’d acted differently BUT I have to remind myself, I’m human. I’m not a robot. Putting yourself (at best) second starts to wear a little thin after a while. Remember to be forgiving of yourself – you’re doing the best you can.
- Do you want a hug?: What would make you feel better? How can you give yourself a hug? Is it a hot bath? Is it a bar of chocolate? Is it as simple as an early night? Or, a night out with a friend? Find a little thing that makes you feel loved and cared for … and make sure it happens.
Have you had the mummy guilts? How do you deal with them? I’d love to hear from you in the Comments below – as would all the other mummies out there!