Ditch the parent guilt

Author Philippa Murphy

01 September 2016
Ditch the parent guilt

I very much write this in a moment of enlightenment. I’ve had a week of decluttering my mind and really delving into why I feel slightly out of sync, tired, and fragmented. What is it that is ‘eating’ at my generally stable self? I know my health and energy could do with makeover so have started reducing the pressure where I can and being more deliberate and focused on what I place my energy into, but there was still something else weighing heavily within. After talking with friends and family throughout the week and on rising early this morning to work, the core problem emerged while deliberating over my next Facebook Post – parent guilt is gobbling me up!

It's a common theme. I know I’m not alone. In fact it’s probably more prevalent than ever in this fast paced world of the once hard fought for ‘super mother’ that means we are now meant to be able to do everything - run a house, run a business, or go to work, take care of the normal day to day care of the entire family and still find time to have hobbies and knit the jersey’s like our grandmother’s did – Eli’s jersey is still sitting in the hall cupboard unfinished and winter has almost passed! Go away parenting guilt!!! I’m abandoning you, you don’t live here anymore. But how do we do that – how do we truly let go of the guilt while forgiving ourselves in the process? In my morning of motherhood enlightenment this is what I’ve come up with...

1. Accept that you will make mistakes – that is how you learn what kind of parent you want to be.

2. It's never too late to do a U-turn.

These first two were biggies for me this morning. Slowly over the last couple of months I have seen my loving, innocent two-and-a-half year old change to a grabbing, hitting menace since being immersed in the preschool environment, and while others tell me it’s a normal progression at two years of age, it doesn’t sit right with me. It niggles at me that I made the wrong move for my boy, so as off this morning I’m doing a U-turn, and I am feeling SOOOO good about it - which leads me to my next piece of amateur advice…

3. What other’s think doesn’t really matter – you are the one that will look back with regret, or accomplishments at how you raised your child or children.

4. Share the load.

I read an article this week that I quite liked. It talked about the ownership we women can place on different parts of our homes. Perhaps it is the kitchen, the laundry, or even things like the vacuum cleaner or duster. When we place ownership on these things, or places, this means we take responsibility for them – let go of that ownership and everyone becomes responsible. It becomes a team effort and the ‘village’ scenario that is needed to raise a child has room to form. The same applies for the male aspect of this equation – the lawnmower and garden tools becomes everyone’s including any older children that you may have. I find this a very rewarding scenario for all. Thankfully it's already happening in my household.

5. Don’t be scared to get it wrong and don’t beat yourself up when you do

Again, it’s how you learn as a parent and if you don’t try something then you never know, it may just be the best move you made for you and your family. If it’s not then you can always make that U-turn, or take another road.

6. Every day, recount three things that happened in your day that you feel made you a good parent.

This is now something that I am adopting into my day. You can do this on your own, quietly in your head, write it down or perhaps make it a ritual for you and your partner. Doing this each moment the ‘parenting guilt’ sneaks in can also be very helpful.

7. Be patient and kind to yourself as you learn to be a parent.

8. Forgive yourself

I was recently told a story about an eight year old girl called Patience. When she was asked, ‘What is forgiveness?’ she answered ‘Freedom.’ Such wisdom from the mouths of babes - uncluttered they lead us. Love your freedom. x

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