Lock down has certainly unearthed a wide range of emotions. Mine began with disbelief, a strange sense of calm, then came the overwhelm, gratitude, stress, acceptance and later… the ‘mum guilt!’
Many of our circumstances will be completely different right now, with the constant question of ‘what is our new normal?’ For me, I find myself cancelling my in-person workshops, but picking up extra hours at the Mental health charity and juggling this with a hyperactive 3 year old and no childcare. I’m grateful to still be receiving an income. I don’t want to moan because there are so many who are less fortunate, but that also doesn’t mean that I feel any less guilt than my counter-parts. Whatever our situation, mums all over the world are developing a newfound sense of patience, attempting creativity, and likely dealing with a hell of a lot of snack demands and household mess at the same time!
For me, my own frustrations lead to guilt, when my toddler is having to occupy himself while I’m on a conference call . When I emerge from the call to an almighty pile of mess and blame myself that I wasn’t giving him my attention, or that I had to ask a client or colleague to repeat themselves because I was wrestling the child away from climbing something he shouldn’t have been! I’ve been telling myself that I should be doing a better job as a mother, a worker, a homeschooler, a wife and a business owner- when actually, I have realised that I AM doing my best. These are several different jobs that are IMPOSSIBLE to squeeze into 24 hours a day! We need to give ourselves a break!
Feeling guilty about a situation that is not of our own making, and is completely unavoidable is an unworthy pursuit. It may be down to the portrayed image on social media of the ‘craft mums’ or the family baking sessions that rival the efforts of Mary Berry herself, the two year olds who can recite the alphabet in 5 languages, or the working mums who look like she has it all together, but we often just share our best bits, or our slices of fun because it makes us feel good. (And that’s what everyone else is sharing too!!) What we don’t always see are the struggles behind the pretty images, the bickering, the mess, the tears or the tantrums. It doesn’t mean that you’re alone in feeling this way, its important to remember that everyone shows the world what they want it to see, comparison is most definitely the thief of joy!
Right now, the important messages to remind ourselves of are:
- We are doing our best, our best is always enough.
- Our Children are loved, safe and fed- and that’s what matters.
- This situation is temporary, we will recover.
- Even in the hardest of times, we can still find something to be grateful for.
- If today is a tough day, the sun will set, and tomorrow is a new one.
When I really worry about doing a good enough job as a mum, I watch my child playing games, or causing chaos whilst observing his cheeky smile – the way his eyes lock onto mine as if to reassure me, and for him to be showing me that everything is ok. The joy, cuddles and kisses outweigh the tantrums, complaints of boredom and the hoards of mess, and anything that isn’t urgent right now, can be dealt with later. So for now, i’m going to ignore the scattered pile of building blocks , and the pen marks on my table, and I’m going to cuddle up with my little man infront of the TV, because at the end of the day, love is all we need and mummy needs a cuddle perhaps more than he does!