I am responding to a question that came through The Imperfect Mum's Facebook site yesterday, which caused an ugly slinging match between many mums.
The question was from a mum who was feeling guilty at the amount of days their little one is in daycare (I don’t even think the ratio of working days / errand days / home days matters here really) and this mum felt judgement from the daycare and other mums.
To the original poster – Big hugs for you and I hope this helps you become less confused, especially after the 150+ very different responses you received yesterday! :-)
My advice? Slow down…
To me, it sounds like you need to spend some time looking at your families priorities here. If you have a partner who is raising this child with you – make sure you include them in this.
What do we believe? What is important to our family? What are our needs vs wants? Are we being selfless or selfish?
You also have to include your child. Do they love daycare? Do they have friends there? Are they happy or sad when you drop them off? Do they cherish time alone with mum?
Only your family knows the answers.
If old enough – you could even try asking your child? Encouraging communication and negotiation in the home is a fantastic habit to get into!
I think you will battle with guilt until you work out what the priorities of your family are (not your mums, or your friends, or the day care mums) and then stick to them. Write them down if you need to be reminded.
Then hold you head high as you walk your child into daycare. You know the full story and what your family requires.
Also give yourself the freedom that this is not forever, and is still up for negotiation if it’s not working out. You could try an extra day and see if it works or not. Re-asses in 3 months.
“I’ve noticed my child no longer values my words, so I’m going to cut back another day to have quality time to know them more”
“I’m still not coping with all that I have to do, and LO is loving day care, so I will look into another day”
Just make sure it is your decision – or you may end up resenting it.
Is your child Clothed? Housed? Fed? Secure? Loved? > Then you’re doing a great job mum!
To the mums who felt it right to sling their judgement onto others.
I have been on the receiving end of such pain – and it hurts. And it’s heavy. And no one should have to carry that.
It’s also the ingredients for a confused, mixed up, second guessing and emotional mum – and is unhelpful. Both for her and her LO.
In confession, I know I have also flung this rubbish at others. If not verbally, then in my mind. Sometimes consciously, other times subconsciously. And for that I am sorry… Very sorry :-(
My family operates very different to other families. We have some priorities that look weird to others. We care less about things some families regard as important.
We are different. Different does not mean better or worse. It just means different.
To these mums (myself included) we also need time to look at your our families priorities and stick to them. Quality time with my kids is also high on our priority list – but I need to learn that that’s the way our family is. NOT the way the house next door is, or the poor mum crying in her car at daycare because other mums have whispered behind her back at how she’s dumping her kids AGAIN.
Guilt can be helpful – alerting us that something isn’t right and changes need to be made.
But it can also be untrue from taking on someone else’s decisions. Is it indicating a change you need to make? Or are you carrying it from someone else?
Own it, or dump it. No one needs to carry that heavy bag!
Bottom line – no one is going to parent better by carrying extra guilt.
If you’ve seen a fellow mum who looks as though they are struggling with guilt, feel free to share this with them too.
And let’s all commit to try harder together as sisters to stop dumping guilt on others.
I’m going to… and may this post remind me of that.
Who's with me?