Parenting

The Mum I Am verse The Mum I Want To Be

I wish I could be more hands-on with my kids but the reality is that I just don't have the time.
Mummy Guilt

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I that feel guilty as a mum. Guilt seems to come with the territory as soon as we first become pregnant.

My kids are seven and five now, and the guilt certainly hasn’t lessened as they’ve grown older. If anything, it’s become harder to deal with as my kids have become more articulate and are better at expressing their feelings and disappointments.

Twelve months ago I started working full-time. After only ever knowing life with their mum practically at their beck and call, it was a huge adjustment for my kids (and me) to go through.

My daily commute is two hours each way, which means leaving home before the kids wake-up, and returning at their dinnertime.

I went from being their primary caregiver to feeling like a part-time mum. I felt so disconnected from their lives.

My daughter on a daily basis begged me to quit my job. It broke my heart. Quite simply; she missed her mum. I missed my kids too but I put on a brave face, often crying into my pillow as I fell into bed exhausted each night.

But we persevered and adjusted to our new routine. It’s a year down the track and I now work from home a couple of days a week which has helped to create a better balance between mum and work life, but I still find myself feeling guilty.

I feel torn by my own expectations and the reality of being a modern mum.

I love working, I love earning my own money and I love the message that me being a working mum sends to my kids… but still there’s that lingering guilt.

When it comes down to it, the guilt is about being a different mum to the kind of mum I think I’m meant to be. I wish I could be more hands-on with my kids but the reality is that I just don’t have the time.

I’d love to be able to have my kids’ friends over for playdates after school.

I’d love to be able to volunteer at their school for reading groups or canteen duty.

I’d love to be able to see them be presented with their awards at school assemblies.

I’d love to be able to walk them to school and be there to pick them up at the end of the day.

I’d love to be able to bake cupcakes for them to take to school on their birthdays.

I’d love to be able to make them dress-up costumes for their Book Week parades.

I’d love to be able to give them all my energy and attention each evening.

I’d love to be able to have more patience in the moments when they test me.

I’d love to be able to have more time to justbewith them. To play and read and chat.

I wish we had more incidental moments together.

But instead I’m at work, or I’m commuting, or feeling zombified from the exhaustive monotony of being a grown-up.

But as much as I can list the ways that I fall short as a mum (I’m really, really good at that) I’m starting to focus on what I do give to my kids.

I’m ignoring the thoughts that tell me to feel guilty for what I don’t do and am celebrating the small moments of success instead.

I give a lot of my time to my kids. I make their school lunches with love each day, and cook them home-made meals for dinner each night.

I’m always home to tuck them into their beds and kiss them before they fall asleep. Plus I’m by their sides each weekend when we head off on family adventures together.

I might not be able to be there for my kids as much as I’d like, but I’m trying my hardest and I know that they can see that.

I’m an imperfect mum and maybe that’s the point. I’m modelling to my kids that parents can’t do it all, and that’s OK.

Who wants to grow up seeing that parents have to be perfect anyway?

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