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.
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?