A Mother's Guilt

By my daughter, age 5 and 5 months for Mother's Day. Beautifully drawn and imaginative.

Does it ever end? I remember one of my best friends telling me I would spend the rest of my life feeling guilty once my bundle of joy arrived. And 5 years on, you know what? She was right.

I’ve always sworn. A lot. Since the birth of my daughter I’ve understandably tried to kerb it. Mostly through lessons learnt, such as stepping in fox poo and blurting out, ‘F**k it!’, whilst my toddling daughter was happily pottering on the decking. Fast forward a few days she hits Daddy in the nether regions and on his startled reaction quite nonchalantly says, ‘Oh f**k it’. What can I say? Her timing was impeccable (that’s my girl), so with twitching mouths we of course knew this was not ideal and definitely wanted to avoid this parrot like behaviour in public (or anywhere actually). I quite sternly recognised the error of my ways. No harm done.

Now we all know our children push our buttons like no-one else. I consider myself to be a fairly patient person but I have a switch. My daughter started school a few months back and gained, how shall I put it, attitude. I can put up with attitude (I kind of like it), I can smile through it and talk calmly through the backchat, but only for so long. I lasted a few days this particular time. I can’t quite remember what happened but I’d had enough. It was soon after her birthday as her ‘stuff’ was strewn across the dining table. I literally lost it, shouted (with an expletive) and (movie style) swiped all her things off the table and ordered them to be taken to her room. This task was completed after several runs, very meekly and without back chat. The outcome? I gave myself ‘time out’.

I felt terribly guilty, what a horrible mother! What was I doing? How was this behaviour going to influence her, not just in later years, but now? Well, not very positively. Did I really want my daughter to grow up thinking that the best way to deal with difficult situations or the best way to handle anger is to lash out? No. Obviously not. I am a grown woman, a mother and I need to learn how to control my emotions.This is why I meditate. I did joke recently with a friend that, ‘it wasn’t b****y working’, but I know it is. I know that every time I sit for those 15 minutes, no matter what's going on in my life, it brings me back.

I do get lost sometimes, especially as a mother. Always feel I could, should be doing better. Do I let her watch too much TV? Do I spend too much time on my phone and not enough time ‘being present'. Do I choose to sort washing/clean the flat/empty the dishwasher over role play with Barbie? The answer, quite honestly, is yes. Oh, and there it is. The guilt.

I could spend the next few sentences spelling out how I'm going to be a better Mummy, do more role play, be more present, fly off the handle less. But I won't, because of course that's how I would like to be, and as all Mums out there know, we do the best we can and sometimes we should not be so hard on ourselves. Whether we're a working Mum or not, as long as we provide love, kindness, guidance, food and shelter then our kids are blessed as there are plenty out there who don't have their basic needs fulfilled.

What I can say with certainty however, is when I practice yoga and meditation regularly, I’m definitely more connected, more mindful and more present.