We all know what I mean when I say ‘mummy guilt’ that sick feeling in your stomach when you look at your child when they’re sleeping, should I have done more with them that day? Should I have taken them to the park again? Or they have just done something extremely cute and you catch the end of it once you glance up at them, when your doing the dishes and they’re playing nicely, that wave of guilt you feel when you know you should be playing with them rushes through you. Anything can turn into a reason to feel guilty. Don’t worry… your not alone! Every new mum has the same feelings, some more than others. Your chores have to be done though, you want to provide a safe surrounding for them, you need to cook! But guess what… all that can actually wait, the dishes will get done, the laundry always gets washed, you naturally provide that safe surrounding for your most precious little one.
But sometimes we need to take a step back.. step back and see this little life you have created, the things they are learning every second of everyday because YOU are giving them the experiences, babies and children need a balance in life and need structure, play time is so important for their learning, but who said they cant learn when your elbow deep in the days pots!! My little boy has just turned 10 months old and one of his favourite things to do is sit and watch me run the tap water and use ‘the dishes’ to splash around with it. His little face gleams with joy, and once I’m finished he gets to play with the water under the tap, the moment he’s been waiting for….. the pinical of his excitement! and it melts my heart to see him so happy!
But nether the less that doesn’t stop this saddening guilty feeling, I think its normal, I think most mummy’s experience this.
And then there’s the ‘working mummy guilt’, This is even more gut wrenching, knowing you have to leave your baby to go back to work, thinking what if they are wondering why you cant make towers with blocks with them, or read them that book for the 100th time, or build their favourite train track… This is my biggest fear! The fear of them wondering or worrying, or being upset we are not with them 24 hours of the day!
Being a self employed Newborn and Baby photographer I had to return to work just a small 4 weeks after my baby boy came into this world, but the beauty of being a newborn photographer was he could come along to the studio with me, and my clients were only more than happy to be sharing birth stories, breastfeeding stories, and everything else baby related, But that couldn’t last long, he was getting more settled into his routine, and the day had to come when I had to leave him at home for the first time…. I cried all the way to work! I was overwhelmed by the guilt I was feeling, but I had to remember I was doing this for him at the end of the day. And this was the way it panned out for the next coming months, my beautiful Charlie was enjoying daddy time whilst mummy worked. and now he is getting more and more aware of what is going on around him, at first I hated saying goodbye to him, and I would always get Mike to distract him when I was leaving, but now we are teaching him… if we have to go away for a while then we will always return, so we try and help I’m to wave goodbye and make a huge fuss of him when I return.
A newborn photographer’s work doesn’t end upon leaving the studio though, and all the behind the scenes part of this wonderful job is spent at home, editing your beautiful images, admin, marketing and advertising, ordering and packaging products, keeping up with my website and social media accounts, and many many other jobs we undertake. How on earth was I supposed to do all this with a little baby learning new tricks every day. Only a couple of weeks ago he found the stairs, and then figured out how to climb up the safety gates, now he can walk around the sofa…. they’ll be no stopping him soon. The mummy guilt of trying to work around his routine some days gets too much for me, I feel awful, I NEED to work to provide for our family, but I will never get these days back with my baby, sometimes its just to overwhelming. So on those days, I pack the computer away, and lie down on the floor with him, and we play, play for ages, building those blocks up for the 100th time, reading his favourite ‘Stick ‘man story, rolling around, laughing…. and THAT makes my heart happy. There is always bed time I can do my work, most evenings I’m too shattered to be staring at a computer screen, but I would rather be shattered that miss my baby boy’s first years. One day he will learn to be independent, one day he won’t need all these cuddles, but that one day isn’t here yet, so for now the dishes can wait, the laundry can wait, work can wait (kind of) The single most imposing thing in my live is this little boy!
So lets all please try and shift the mummy guilt, do the dishes when you get time! Go play with your babes <3 The main reason we have this ‘mummy guilt is just to prove how much we love our kids! So next time you feel it…. just go hug your babies, embrace every moment with them!