Parent Guilt and how to tackle it.Emma
Parent Guilt and how to tackle it.
by Emma Bayou-Miindfulness Founder
You are exactly what your child needs. Don't ever doubt that, not even for a second.
So, let’s talk parent guilt, formally known as ‘Mum guilt’. I’m calling it parent guilt because I have realised, it’s not something exclusive to Mum’s, all parents experience it. It can be laying in bed wondering what you could have done better that day (even though your children are happy and content) to crying yourself to sleep because your children are struggling.
As an avid overthinker, parent guilt can become all-consuming for me. This was especially true when my daughter was struggling with her mental wellbeing recently. Already struggling with low-mood, I would tear myself to pieces wondering what I was doing so wrong and blaming myself and my perceived lack of parenting skills for her suffering. My inner voice would tell me that if she had a different Mum, they would know exactly what to do to help her or, to prevent her from feeling this way in the first place.
However, after doing ‘the work’ I have come to realise that it is exactly that guilty feeling that makes me a good Mum. It means that I care. That I want to do the best for my daughter and that I am always trying to improve. The trick is to acknowledge the feeling for what it is, work through it and move on. Our children do not come with instructions manuals (how good would it be if they did?!) and as parents, all we can do is put one foot in front of the other each day and try our best. When we let that guilt consume us, we are actually being detrimental to our own mental health and therefore, our ability to be there to support our children.
So, I decided to be kind to myself whenever I experienced parent guilt. Before I go to bed at night, I write down 3 reasons why I am an amazing Mum. Then, whenever I feel the guilt creeping in, I recite them to myself like affirmations. Whilst this does not completely remove the guilt from my mind, it does serve to quiet that inner voice who can be so cruel and critical at times. I also asked my daughter to write down some reasons why she loves me being her Mum. This is the ‘big gun’ I pull out to read when the affirmations really aren’t cutting it and this really helps. Try it yourselves, it works I promise!
I’ll leave you with this thought, if you find your inner voice speaking to you in a way that you would never allow somebody to speak to your children, it’s time to change the voice’s narrative. You are enough, your children are loved and you are doing an amazing job.
Look after yourselves.