As soon as we realise we’re pregnant, the ‘Mum guilt’ starts! And it doesn’t stop when the new baby arrives, or when we are left alone with the baby for the first time. It seems that from the minute we become mums, we feel guilty! That feeling of not being enough - it’s such a REAL feeling isn't it?!
Spend any time with other new mums and you’ll soon hear it: “I felt so bad when…” “I know I’m not doing enough…” “I couldn’t afford XY&Z, I feel so bad”. As mums, we seem to spend a whole heap of time judging ourselves and feeling like we are failing. We put a load of pressure on ourselves to be the ‘perfect parent’ (whatever that is!!!).
And apparently, according to the research that was published last week by The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge #5BigInsights, we spend a whole lot of time feeling like we are being judged! Apparently, 70% of parents feel like they are being judged by others! That’s a whole lot of judgment going on!
We also know that your mental health as a mum can have a big outcome on your child, so let’s look at this ‘mum guilt’ and see where it’s coming from and what we can do to stop it, or at least quieten it down a bit for you!
What is ‘mum guilt’?
It’s that feeling that you aren’t doing enough, aren’t good enough or that you are being judged for what you are doing. It can affect both mums and dads and it can start from the minute that you start being pregnant and seems to go on right the way through your child’s life.
Why do we get that ‘mum guilt’ feeling?
Well, there is probably some biological programming that I don’t know about, but it’s probably there to help us focus on the job of raising our children and keeping them front and centre of our minds. It’s been around forever as a thing, but the very real challenge of juggling being a new parent, work, life, money, COVID, family, etc, just seems to have intensified, and that’s made the ‘mum guilt’ even worse.
So, what can we do about it? Here are my 5 top tips.
- First up, let’s get the elephant in the room out in the open: THERE’s NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT PARENT so it’s probably best to stop trying to be one! It’s ok to try to do the best you can, but please don’t beat yourself up and give yourself a hard time if you fell short of being that ‘perfect’ mum today. You’re not a failure, you’re real!
- Stop looking at perfectly curated images on social media and thinking that is what normal life should look like… it’s not. Normal life with a newborn is messy, full of unbrushed hair, leaking boobs and tired, tired parents, slightly nervous about what on earth they are going to do to fill the day!
- Realise that you probably have absolutely no training in how to be a parent. Probably, nothing in the process of deciding to have a baby, getting pregnant, or having a baby was about actually parenting that baby. So how on earth are you MEANT to know what’s right for them or if you are doing enough??? Basically, you’re just winging it! But it doesn’t have to be like that; the Oliiki programme is here to hold your hand right from the first day of conception right through until your baby is 2 years old. We don’t show you how to parent - that’s your choice - but we are there to give you tips and activities and help you understand WHY what you are doing is helping your baby and your parenting.
- Realise that others might well be judging you, and that’s ok, ‘cause that’s their problem, not yours! You are doing the very best you can right now for your baby, and you are the specialist in your baby!
- Know that your baby thinks you are the most amazing parent in the whole wide world, which you probably are to them!
The Oliiki programme can help!
Nature is amazing! It gives us 9 months to prepare for becoming parents. But as a society, we spend that time focused on measuring development and growth, which are important, but they don’t actually prepare us for the job that will go on for at least the next 20 years! That is the job of being a parent!
Parenting is the only job that we get no training for. It’s extraordinary, isn’t it? Especially when we say it’s the hardest job in the world, and you hear so many parents with older children (those same ones you can feel judging you) say, “I wish I’d known that when my kids were younger!”
I don’t think that’s fair. I want to help you be the parent you want to be YOUR way. I want to help you feel fabulous about what you are doing each and every day. That way, you can stand tall against that feeling of being judged and you can send that mum guilt chatter in your head out the door!
That’s why the Oliiki programme gives you simple daily activities to do that not only build your baby a strong brain and set them on a path of success, but they also tell you WHY you are doing them. We do this so that you grow in confidence and KNOW that you ARE doing the very best you can for your baby. The best thing of all? It starts right from the first day of conception! So, you don’t actually have to have one single day of ‘mum guilt!’