Part of motherhood that we all seem pre-programmed to have in some form, whether we want it or not, is mum-guilt. From the moment your baby is born you’ll find things to feel guilty about that relate to your child. Motherhood alone is tiring enough, without adding in constant worry about what you’re doing wrong.
But there are some things for which you should be able to shrug off the guilty sentiments straightaway. If you do, you’ll make life as a mum much more fun.
Making All Free Time Quality Time
One thing that many mums worry about is what their children do with their free time. There’s often a lot of peer pressure to fill our children’s leisure time with extra-curricular activities such as swimming lessons, sports clubs, or going to Cubs or Brownies. If you catch the kids watching TV, you might feel tempted to whip out the painting materials or get them to read a book. But kids also need some downtime in their day, to be left to their own devices and without any structured activities in place. It’s during those times that their imagination can run wild and they can truly relax. Even if they choose simply to watch their favourite cartoon, make sure that you let them be for at least some of the time.
Not Liking Their Friends
We love our kids, so surely we will like all the children they choose to be friends with? Sadly, it’s not always the case. In fact, according to recent research from Voucherbox, more than a third of parents dislike at least one of their child’s friends. If that rings a bell with you, don’t feel guilty about it. Take comfort in the fact that it’s not just you. In the survey, the reasons for disliking a child’s friends varied, but some of the most common reasons were about the child’s behaviour. In 15% of those surveyed, it was because the child in question behaved badly, and in another 12% of responses, it was because the parents felt the child was spoiled. Another reason for disliking a child’s mate was when they seemed to be a bully or manipulative.
Whether you like one of your kid’s friends or not isn’t really the issue. It’s how you deal with that dislike. Some people in the survey (24%) opted to keep their feelings to themselves, while 29% tried to encourage different friendships for their child instead. Whatever you do, don’t let it occupy too much of your thinking; kids’ friendships tend to be very fluid, and the chances are that your child will soon form a new friendship with another child without you needing to intervene. As much as you can, go with the flow on this one.
Food On The Table
With examples of yummy mummy parenting coming from all directions, and all kinds of vloggers and bloggers telling us how we should raise our children and how we should feed them, there’s a certain amount of culinary pressure in most mums’ lives. The message that we need to get the right nutrients into our children has been received loud and clear. So if you serve up beans on toast every now and then for their tea, have you failed as a mother? Of course not! It’s a simple fact that we don’t all have the time, inclination or even the budget to produce a perfectly balanced and nutritious meal every time our kids sit down to eat, so don’t worry about it. As long as we alternate some ‘proper’ meals in with those snacky teas, the kids will be fine.
At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do for your children is to love them unconditionally, make sure that they’re fed and have a comfortable place to live. Anything else is a bonus, so don’t be too hard on yourself.