Mum Guilt is a totally unnatural phenomenon
We’ve all had it at some point. It consumes us. It overwhelms us.
But mostly we just accept it as a natural and inevitable part of the parenting journey.
Except it’s not. Not at all.
Mum Guilt is a completely man-made phenomenon, and we’re all the worse off for it.
This became clear to me one day not long after my third baby was born. I’d taken her and my toddler son to the local farm park on a day trip.
During our visit we stopped to look at one of the pigs in the barn. She was lying on her side, eyes closed, while her litter of piglets clambered over each other to suckle for milk.
The skin around her teats was raw. She was clearly physically exhausted. Yet the look on that sow’s face was one of pure contentment.
And why wouldn’t she feel that way? She had a comfortable home, her babies were fed and safe. In her mind she was totally smashing this parenting gig.
Right there was a creature who had never had to wonder whether she was ‘good enough’, or fretted that the other animals in the barn were judging her.
She had absolutely zero concept of mum guilt.
And when you realise you’re feeling envious of a petting zoo pig, it’s a sure sign that us human beings have got our priorities wrong.
We’re supposed to be the more intelligent species. We have a plethora of parenting information and advice at our fingertips. This should make us the most confident mothers we could possibly be.
But it doesn’t. It makes us overthink every single aspect of parenting.
We’ve become so obsessed with doing everything the ‘right’ way that it’s overriding our inbuilt ability to nurture our children.
Instead of trusting our instincts, we religiously subscribe to parenting ‘methods’, agonise over sleep routines, and rush to consult Dr Google about even the most minor blip.
To make matters worse, there’s so much conflicting information out there for us to digest that it’s become almost impossible for our brains to filter the useful, evidence-based guidance from the misleading or outdated advice.
And when we spend so much time researching and worrying, there’s little time left to actually enjoy the simple pleasures of parenting.
No wonder we’re feeling guilty all the time.