Mum guilt is real and an alarming number of women admit to feeling it all or some of the time.
In fact, 90% of mothers say they feel guilty for not giving their kids their full attention or not earning enough money to provide, a new study has found.
We stress that it’s important for all mums to feel empowered, supported and stop worrying about whether or not they are doing a good job.
YOU ARE mamma! If you care, then that’s all that matters.
90% of mums reveal they suffer from mum guilt – are you one of them?
According to a study of 2,000 women commissioned for baby care company NUK, as many as three quarters of women in the survey admit to constantly worrying about whether they are a good mum.
More than 60% revealed that comments from other people over how they parent made them feel guilty, while others say they felt bad for giving formula over breastfeeding, working late or long hours or returning to work after maternity leave.
Other worries mums have are they don’t take their children out enough or they feel they are too tired or impatient.
“It seems mums are suffering a huge amount of guilt when it comes to their kids, within days of their child being born because of the myth surrounding how we should care for our babies,” says Joanne Evans, head of marketing for NUK.
“Whether using a dummy or deciding to use formula milk instead of breastfeeding, mums can feel like they are doing something wrong within their child’s first few days of life.”
Joanne stresses it’s important for mums to stop feeling guilty about every decision they make.
“These results show that the guilt never goes away – if anything, it only gets worse as their child gets older,” she says.
“Even wanting a bit of time to themselves sees many berating themselves for not being the perfect mum. But it seems mums could be making the guilt worse by putting pressure on themselves.
“It’s important for mums to relax and worry less about whether they are doing, what’s perceived as, the right thing so they can enjoy their youngster’s childhood – guilt free.”
30 things mums feel guilty about, survey finds
- Being too busy to give my children more attention.
- Not being able to afford everything they want.
- Not going on more days out.
- Not having more patience.
- Relying on the TV to keep them entertained.
- Not earning enough money.
- Feeling too tired to give my kids the attention I think they need.
- Returning to work after my maternity leave.
- Working long hours.
- Working late.
- Telling my children off.
- Wanting to have time away from my children every now and then.
- Putting my child into nursery/childminder.
- Not having more money to spend on new clothes/toys for my children.
- Not being able to afford to go away on family holidays.
- Wanting to go to work instead of being a stay-at-home mum.
- Not having enough time or money to provide freshly cooked and healthy meals.
- Arguing with partner in front of the children.
- Spending too much time on housework.
- Not going on holidays abroad.
- Not going to enough baby/toddler groups.
- Having to leave them with someone else to go to work during the school holidays.
- Not helping more with homework.
- Telling my children white lies to avoid having to answer difficult questions.
- Feeding a baby formula milk.
- Being a stay-at-home mum and not bringing in any money.
- Leaving my baby to cry and self-soothe.
- Sending my children off to school when they are sick.
- Checking work emails/taking work-related phone calls when at home with my children.
- Not giving your child a sibling.
10 things new mums should NEVER feel guilty about
1. Breastfeeding in public
It is your right as a mum to breastfeed whenever, wherever. If you want to use a cover up, then use one. If you don’t want to, then don’t. If your breasts happen to offend onlookers, then it’s their issue, not yours. You are doing EVERYTHING right.
2. Bottle feeding anywhere
Not breastfeeding? Again, this is your right. It’s your baby and your decision how you choose to feed baby. As long as you are feeding the baby formula or breast milk, then you have nothing to feel guilty about.
3. Having to go to work
Leaving your baby is tough. There is no getting around it. But don’t let the guilt make saying goodbye even harder. Push past the guilt – you’re doing what’s best for your situation. And that’s all that matters.
4. Not working
Flip the coin and you will probably feel just as guilty if you chose to stay home with your baby. Why? You know, for not contributing to the household, for being ‘just a mum’, for ‘babying’ your baby… the list goes on. Take the list and burn it. Never feel guilty for choosing to be a parent.
5. Ignoring the advice of others
Your baby. Your decision on how to parent. The end. Argument over.
6. Putting your family first
And ignoring other commitments. Family comes first. This can be a hard thing for friends to grasp but it’s the truth. All other commitments, from mates’ birthday drinks to co-workers’ goodbye parties, are allowed to be brushed aside.
7. Leaving your baby to go out
Contrary to what the mum guilt fairy wants you to believe, you are ALLOWED to put your baby down every once in a while. You are ALLOWED to leave the house, to go for a run, to meet a friend, to enjoy a weekend away. Your baby will be fine with dad or grandma. And you will feel so much better after a bit of a break!
8. Not keeping the house/car/yourself/your baby perfectly clean
Chaos comes with the territory when you are a parent, especially if you have a newborn. And, despite your best efforts, sometimes things are going to fall out of place. Sometimes a baby is going to vomit all over you the moment you arrive at a party.
Sometimes guests are going to come over in the middle of a laundry cyclone. And sometimes your car is going to be covered in baby poop. And you have no reason to be sorry! It happens. It’s all part of the fun.
9. ANYTHING sleep-related
As long as bub is sleeping safely, then that’s all that matters, regardless if you co-sleep, if you sleep train, if you use a swaddle, if you use white noise, if your rock your baby to sleep. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. If it works for you and your family, then you have NOTHING to feel guilty about.
10. Not ‘bouncing back’
Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no such thing as ‘bouncing back’. Your body isn’t a ball. It doesn’t do that. It grows babies. Then it changes. So stop with the guilt about the excess skin, the excess weight and the excess stretch marks. You also have an extra person to look after. And that’s way more important!
Enjoy these first weeks with your new baby and take the gentle approach to losing the baby weight.
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