I don’t quite know when the guilty feeling started, but I think it might have been about 4 hours after my daughter was born. All I can remember is that I was a bit on the fence about breast feeding. I knew it was probably really good for her, but for me, well to be honest the feeling of exposing my boobs really didn’t sit comfortable and the thoughts ran through my head about what would I do if my father-in-law turned up. He was a lovely man, and sadly has passed away now, but at the time I thought where would I go if I need to feed her, or what if I was in a restaurant, or with friends. Anyway, the point was I decided I would give it a go, but although I was willing, well my girl wasn’t and time passed and she had not been fed.
Guilty feeling starting
The staff came over to me in the hospital and asked me what I wanted to do. My reply was that I wanted to make sure my daughter was happy and not hungry because by this time she had started to cry a little. So they suggested to me that they would take her and give her a bottle, which to me was fine, as my number one priority was making sure she was happy. The next morning though was a different scenario. At the end of my bed stood the matron arms folded and I will never forget what she said to me. Her very words were “do you realise you may be subjecting your baby to childhood illnesses and diseases because you have been giving her formulated milk!” this was more that I could bear. Wow what a statement and so my journey of guilt really began. I tried breastfeeding again, and it didn’t work but the guilt by this time had really kicked in.
So my journey as a mum seemed to go from one guilt to another, whether it was not taking her to enough children’s activities, to too many activities, to putting on the t.v. to messy play, to not getting her to bed early enough, to trying to set up a business and promising to play after that phone call, well to be honest one guilty feeling led to another.
I have now realised after speaking to many other mums that thankfully I was not the only guilty feeling mum out there. We all seem to compare ourselves to other mums, and then feel guilty and think we are not doing enough. I eventually fell in a heap one day many years later and in tears said to my girl I’m sorry I was not always there for you, that sometimes I was on the phone or doing paperwork. She hugged me and said the nicest thing ever. She said she hoped she would be a great a mum one day as I was to her, and that the times she needed me, I was always there. I thought about what she said, and realised yep, I hadn’t missed a school play, nor missed a day taking her and collecting her from school.
I’ve moved on from feeling guilty as a parent, and comparing myself to other mums, but I recently realised I was now comparing my business to other business women. When I see on Facebook some business ladies having these 6 figure incomes, or writing books or mega deals and well, I’m still struggling along and working many more years than some. But I realise it’s time to give myself some slack. Speaking with some of these fabulous business women I find that even though they are earning big bucks, (and I have to try and work out what 6 figures actually means lol!) but they too still feel guilty for one reason or another, and feel their business goals have still yet to be achieved. Does it ever end? Yet there are those mums who don’t even have the confidence to come to my class, will drive pass the door 6 times before they have the courage to come in or perhaps have to get support to even walk through the door.
For the record, touch wood, but 14 years on, and although I still would say breastfeeding is probably best, but either way, thankfully my daughter has hardly ever been ill.