Episode II: The Return of the Mum Guilt

Mum guilt. Ughhh. It is actually the worst, right mummas?

I haven’t written a personal post in a while. You know, one about my life and so forth. But this post, which I’ve called Episode II: The Return of the Mum Guilt (I was kind of getting a Star Wars-y kind of vibe as I was thinking about this post…), is about my current battle with mum guilt that I thought I’d share.

mum guilt

To be honest, I’ve been too busy trying to establish my blogging business, running around after my son, and trying to maintain any sense of adult life I might have left after the aforementioned activities to do a “personal” post. And I’m embarrassed to say that yes, that has been the order of my “priorities” as of late (not in the sense of my love for them, but where my time has been spent… which seems illogical, and I know there’s a quote for that, but anyway…). 

I have had a serious return of mum guilt lately, as I’m sure every single mum on the planet can relate to. This time though, it is related to my work and how much time it is taking up.

Last week I posted up my epic Winter Sleeping Bag Review on the blog. As I’m sure you can imagine, this took up many, many, MANY hours of my time. Most of it was done during Starfish’s sleep time, or at night time, or on the weekends when hubby could watch our son for a little while. But there were times where I’d put Starfish down during the day on his playmat with his toys, and I’d work.

I know I’m not the only mum in the world to do this – the curse of the hustlin’ mumma – but for me it brings along so much guilt. Shouldn’t I be spending every one of his waking moments playing with him, interacting with him, entertaining him? Shouldn’t I be taking him out more to socialise, get some fresh air, see the “sights”? Then my mind gains momentum like a cartoon snowball that continues to accumulate snow until it becomes a massive boulder that shoots off the cliff. Maybe the reason he isn’t standing or toddling like the other babies is because I work too much and don’t spend as much time with him. Yep, that is a legit fear I have. I fear I have ruined him for life. All because of my “work”

I’m constantly heralding questions about “Why are you doing all this?” or “I can’t believe you do all that work”. To clarify for anyone who is wondering (or thinks blogging is a hobby), I am basically working full time from home, and have been since my son was 2 months old. That is the level of time, effort, sweat and tears I have put into blogging (hence why I’m now calling it a blogging business). So many tears. And so much time and effort. For me, blogging started as a way of documenting my life with Starfish – a way to remember his childhood. Then it snowballed into “a platform to help new and prospective mums on their motherhood journeys” (yes, that is the spiel I use to describe the blog). I honestly and emphatically want to help other new mums out there navigate through motherhood because it is a freakin’ tough slog. Plus – as I have convinced myself – I find blogging to be my “me time”. My way of still functioning like a competent adult, using my relatively smart mind for good rather than letting it fully slip away into the cacophony of baby brain and annoying baby electronics.

But somewhere along the way, I’ve completely lost the reason I started blogging in the first place – to document my life with my son. Now, my son’s childhood feels like it has been taken up by blogging, and I feel gosh awful about it. What started as a great momento has turned into a hideous, vicious cycle of mum guilt, and a secret dream to be a stay at home mum with Starfish (and possible future children) until they all go to school, when I would then return to teaching. But this pipedream has sucked me out of the land of the living and into the swirly vortex of scheduled social media posts, cold pitching to big brands and companies, SEO optimisation and media kits. Where is the line drawn? How can I find a “balance” between work and family that makes my dream a reality without any detriment to my son? I feel like I’m starting to learn that this balance is a fantasy, and nothing more.

 Today I was feeling all levels of mum guilt, for BEING SICK. Like seriously, what the heck?! I was already feeling awful after my son went for 8 hours straight yesterday afternoon with no sleep (guilt, guilt, guilt!), and then today he missed Playgroup – a chance to socialise with other babies – because I was sick. So when he went for his morning nap, what did I do? Did I catch up on some extra Zzz’s to feel better? Nope. I laid in bed, and worked. Why? Because I’m a freakin’ crazy person.

I’ve convinced myself that working hard will result in getting paid more for my work (which to be fair, IS starting to happen), and then I can eventually cut back on the amount of work I’m doing (giving up free work to concentrate on paying jobs) to spend more time with Starfish. But to get to that stage, you have to work super hard at the beginning, right? Again, where is the line drawn? When do I say enough is enough?

Mum guilt is a bitch. It is always going to come and kick a mum while she’s down. I know as an anxious mum, I’ll always struggle with mum guilt. And as a perfectionist, I’ll feel even worse when I’m not giving something 100% (hence why I have given my blogging 100%). But the problem is, if I try to give blogging 100%, and Starfish 100%…. where does that all come from? 

To be honest, I have no freaking idea.

So what I am going to try to do is cut down and cut back on some stuff. Try to cut back on some of the blogging work – which will be good preparation for me for when I return to part-time teaching in a couple of months. Because yes, my dream isn’t a reality, and my blogging is not paying our bills (unfortunately). And I know that when I return to work, all other forms of mum guilt and anxiety will rear its ugly head.

Because mum guilt = bitch.

So that’s me and my life at the moment. Episode II (which is really more like episode 4000) of mum guilt. I finished watching Finding Dory with Starfish today (only now do I realise how cute that is with the sea nickname!), had some laughs and we both got to be grizzly and whiney together.

Maybe I’m turning over a new leaf, leaving the work till another day and spending more quality time with Starfish. Or maybe when I wake up tomorrow I’ll go back into crazy-hustlin’-mumma mode and the mum guilt will continue. Who knows. Each day is different, and brings on a whole new level of mum guilt, right?

About Fi Morrison

Fi is a first-time mum to her beautiful, 11 month-old baby boy who she affectionately calls Starfish. She started Mumma Morrison as a way to document her life with her son, but also aims to create a supportive and encouraging community for new and prospective mums. She is returning to part-time teaching in July. Fi and her family live in Sydney.

Comments

  1. We all do have those thoughts, whether it be on spending too much time doing housework, with another child over another, or work in some way, shape or form. And don’t let the fact of you blogging make you think that is the reason for your son not doing everything at the pace of another child. Every child is different in their milestones and unless you are physically holding him back from doing things, there is no way those thoughts are true. You are an amazing mama (and we need to have a playtime together with our littles at some point)!

    • Thanks so much lovely. Yes I’m super guilty of the comparison game when it comes to bubs – I’ve been working hard on it, but with the mum guilt of yesterday it all started flooding back! I know ultimately that Starfish is happy and healthy, and that is all that matters.
      And yes we definitely must organise a playtime for them! 🙂

  2. Ok mum guilt is a doozy. The way I see it is if you’re beating yourself up then you have to be a great mum! If you were a bad mum then you wouldn’t care at all.

    As for Starfish playing on his mat whilst you work – I don’t see that as a negative at all. He is learning to entertain himself and you are showing him a hardworking mamma with a passion for blogging and drive to turn it into a business. What’s so bad about that!?

    • Thanks Amy, yes I’ve heard that too and try to remind myself of it every day (as that’s how often I feel bad about it all >.<) I'll definitely try to remember that. He loves to play by himself on his mat, and I agree that it is good for him to learn some independence. I hope that he will also see his hard working mumma and be proud - but also see a mumma who loves him more than anything too 🙂 xx

  3. Aww Fi I really saw myself in what you’ve written here. That guilt just knows how to settle in when we least expect it. Chin up; know that you are not alone in this and that your best is all the world needs to be a little bit better. Xo

    • Thanks Joy, your words have made my day. I love that motherhood is a tribe and we’re all in it together xx

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