Mum Guilt – let’s talk about it

mum guit, motherhood, single parenting, enchanted pixie, polly jemima, time out, self care

I was sat with friends the other day, chatting about this and that and everything in between. We ended up talking about taking time out/off/for ourselves, and how everyone has this huge mum guilt when they do somethign that is solely for them.

It got me thinking about how Mum guilt and how it shaped my life for so long, and why I’ve let go of it.

When my girls were little, and I was a stay-at-home Mama of three, my Mum guilt game was strong. We didn’t have a lot of money, my then-husband worked but he didn’t earn very much and money was tight. Looking back, even when I thought I was OK, there was actually always an underlying anxiety/low mood thing going on. I never used to do anything for myself, never took time out, or spent time just being ‘Polly’. I hid behind being a Mama [thought that’s a whole other post}. There was a year or two when we first moved to Wales, when I’d go out and have fun. But after our second daughter was born, when if I went out I was still up all night and the next morning {even though if he went out I’d be on duty through the night and next morning}, I simply gave up doing anything that was for me.

On the rare occasion I’d find myself without the kids, I’d keep myself busy either with hosuework, or later on with paid work. If I spent my free time indulging myself the Mum Guilt would eat me up.

Looking back, I cannot fathom how I survived living like that for so long. The truth is, I was just surviving. I cdrtainly wasn’t living. I wasn’t happy for years and years. I’d lost sight of myself so much that I was defined soley by being someone’s Mama.

That’s not a healthy place to live.

In the last few years, I’ve realised that time to myself makes me a far better Mama. Time when I can switch off, when I don’t have to think about anyone else’s needs but my own. When I can relax, treat myself, put my feet up, do whatever makes me feel good.

My life is hectic. Five kids, no partner, home educating, and working from home almost full-time hours. My downtime is not much, but when I get it, I enjoy every single second. I don’t class my child-free work time as downtime {though I love those hours when I am home alone, music playing and I’m working away so much}, so I make sure that I factor time in as and when I can.

That Mum guilt used to make me feel like I shouldn’t ask for help either. Like I was some kind of superwoman who could do it alone. But I am not and I cannot. Do not ever feel guilty for asking for help. Whether it’s asking someone to wathc your kids so you can grab an hour to yourself, or asking if someone could pick you up a few groceries to save a stressful trip with kids in tow… ask away.

Yes, I miss the kids when they’re not here. But I know that I am not just a Mama. I am a person in my own right – a person who needs time to hear my own thoughts, indulge myself, and recharge my batteries. Whether it’s a run or yoga class, meeting a friend for a drink, or treating myself to a massage {which I did last week!}. Whatever I do, afterward I feel SO much better, my patience is restored and my cup is full again.

Do you let Mum guilt run your life?

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