When I was due to be going back to work in October after having Mads, I had a 'friend' who wasn't returning to her job who made me feel so guilty. Each time we mentioned work, or going back, she would say
'Aren't you going to miss Mads?'
'Can't you make some financial cuts?'
'I don't want some one else bringing up my baby.'
She would say this every single time I saw her, until in the end I stopped seeing her as much. Although we are still friends, I certainly feel a bit strange around her now. It wasn't just me she did it too, she once told a lady at our baby group 'Don't you feel guilty for stopping breastfeeding- couldn't you have tried a bit longer?' I don't think she meant things maliciously, but she just didn't think before she opened her mouth.
For ages, I felt the strongest sense of guilt.
Was I a bad Mummy? I couldn't afford to make any cut backs, I had to go back to work, but I sure as hell felt bad for it. And then when I went back I felt even worse. As I actually enjoyed it, I enjoyed the two and a half days I spent away from her. I wanted a career and I wanted to be successful. I still had four and a half days with her and I enjoyed the balance.
Guilt is one of the hardest parts of being a parent for me. I know you shouldn't listen to others, after all how you raise your child is up to you. But you can't help it.
I am a terrible cook, and after spending hours slaving in the kitchen cooking up disgusting bits of puree for Mads when she was weaning, I gave up. I gave her a pouch and she woolfed it down. From then on I did a mixture of half fresh food and half bought pouches- and we were happy. But I still heard the familiar lines from friends saying 'X eats nothing but organic fresh food.'
And that familiar feeling of guilt came creeping back.
Even now Mads is older it is there. When I hear a friend say that they have gone somewhere nice for the weekend and we can't afford too. I feel guilty.
When I go out for lunch with a friend and leave Mads at home with Mr E, I feel guilty because I am actually enjoying the time away from her. I always love coming home too her, but I feel guilty for having fun without her there.
When I see friends doing amazing arts and crafts with their children and I don't have an arty bone in my body. I feel guilty.
That's the thing. As a parent, there will always be things that make us feel guilty- whether thats our financial situation, our work situation or our home life. However I look at my little girl- the way she giggles when you chase her, the way we have fun playing in the house building towers and cuddling dolly. The way her little face lights up when I come home from work. And I know.
I know she is happy. She is loved. She is protected. And she couldn't be more wanted.
So I may not be the best cook, or the most creative, or for the next couple of years until our mortgage rate drops money may be a little tight. But looking at my little girl I know what she is thinking.
I am the best Mummy in the world.
A couple of weeks ago, I sat in a focus group with some other mothers where we talked about the biggest challenges that face us as parents. We had children of all different ages and our challenges were all very different. Some worried about the world we live in, body image and a lot worried about money. But it just goes to show us that as parents we all face challenges.
What is your biggest challenge as a parent? If you let me know below, you could win a £25 Amazon voucher.
Giveaway ends on Monday 9th July at midnight.
Disclaimer- I attended a focus group at Brit Mums Live and got paid to attend and to write a post on parenting challenges. However my thoughts and opinions are completely my own.