Last week we had one of those days where Poss just refused to go to school. I could wax lyrical for a whole blog post about why this might be, but the reality is, I’ve got no idea. She just woke up and said no. Some days are like that.
We fought for about an hour, the whole time I was getting dressed, pretending it wasn’t happening and quietly freaking out.
The day stretched ahead of me, filled with meetings and deadlines. Husband had already left for the office hours before, and my mum, our back stop was already committed to leaving work early to get Poss from school, I couldn’t ask her to leave earlier.
I kept rolling through the options: staying home wasn’t feasible, taking Poss to work with me wasn’t in the plan and yet, there was no way in hell she was going to school. Round and round and round.
So we packed up her back-pack with every i-device possible, a set of headphones, and she came to the office with strict instructions to behave, all while the mum guilt simmered dangerously beneath the surface.
So because I’m clearly nailing this parenting thing, or maybe just because I need desperately to remind myself, here are 10 tips to get past the mummy guilt.
- Stop comparing. Especially with parents on the internet. It’s only ever a tiny part of the story, so stop it. Right now.
- You can’t do it all. That’s the reality. So stop trying and instead pick the most important things – to you, not anyone else – and do them well.
- If you’re worrying about it, you’re one step ahead. Someone once told me that if you’re worrying about how you’re doing as a parent, then you’re one step ahead of all of those who never even give it a thought. I’ll take it.
- Cry it out. Some days it’s ok to cry. Actually it’s always ok to cry. I usually do it along with loud music in my car, but you choose whatever works for you.
- Hire it in. Cleaners, take out, birthday cakes, ironing – whatever. If you can hire it in, then do it and stop feeling guilty about it. You’re likely giving another mum a job and you’re saving yourself a tonne of stress. It’s actually a win.
- Let it go. We’ve all got those things that we have to do ourselves to make sure they are perfect. For me, it’s Poss’ hair. And the washing. I don’t like husband doing either of those things – it’s never right when he does. But I’m learning to just let it go – whatever stupid standard I’m holding in my head, is exactly that, only in my head.
- Make it count. When I am spending time with Poss, I need to get better at making it count… phones down, full attention, in the moment, make it count.
- Surround yourself with those that get it. Over the years I’ve found a group of friends who get it. They know what it’s like to have to juggle and make sacrifices. I don’t have to explain myself and it makes all the difference.
- Time for yourself. It’s ok to spend an afternoon getting your hair done or catching up with friends. Balanced mums make happy mums make better mums.
- Some days will just suck. And that’s just the way it is. Have a tub of ice-cream, pour a gin and wait for tomorrow.
What helps you get through those hard days?