Mother and Baby

How To Let Go Of Your Mum Guilt Trips

You can take charge of your mum guilt - we've got the tips to put the most common issues in perspective

Mums have enough on their plates without being weighed down with anxiety about how we bring up our babies. Yep, it's time to ditch the guilt and be confident in your decisions as a mother.

'Mums get judged from every corner of life, but often the harshest critic is themselves,' says Amanda Alexander, director of Coaching Mums. 'That's why it's important to accept that while nobody is the perfect mother, you're doing the best you can and you should be proud of yourself.'

It's not as hard as you think…

You're guilty about…
Feeding your baby formula

Yes, it's amazing to breastfeed, but if you've switched to formula milk or opted for it from the beginning, that's your decision. Every mother – and every baby – is different.

'Yes, we know breastfeeding is good for your baby,' says Amanda. 'But if the stress of doing it and not succeeding or or feeling uncomfortable with it is leaving you unhappy, then it could ultimately affect him. Tell yourself that you've giving your little one plenty of love and sustenance – be it breast, formula or a mixture of the two – and that's all he needs.'

You're guilty about…
Being a working mum

Nothing tugs at the heart strings like leaving your baby to go back to work, but, says Amanda, it's what women do and we need to come to terms with that and embrace it.

'It saddens me that the 1950s propaganda image of the perfect housewife staying at home to look after children and bake cakes has been so deeply entrenched in our psyche that we now feel guilty when, either out of necessity or choice, we become working mums,' she says.

Some women work and some don't, and either option should be supported. Remind yourself that leaving your baby, whether it's at nursery or with a family member, can be beneficial for his development and help him become independent. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to push yourself in other areas of your life aside from motherhood.

You're guilty about…
Letting your baby have screen time

While you obviously don't want to be plonking your little one down in front of the TV and leaving him for hours on end, you should also not feel bad if your toddler is a dab hand with an iPad or  is obsessed with Mike the Knight.

'In the same way that you try to give your baby a varied food diet, so you should also ensure he has plenty of varied games and activities, and in this day and age, that's usually going to include some kind of technology such as TV or apps,' says Amanda.

What you can do is consider the quality of the screen time – many things have been specially created to aid a baby's development – so try to choose those over the noisy, flashy technology that doesn't teach much.

You're guilty about…
Giving your little one a ready-made toddler meal

Nobody expects you to be a Nigella-esque domestic goddess all the time and accepting that they'll be some days when you have to reach for a toddler-friendly ready meal.

'The most important thing if this happens is that it's a meal that is designed specifically for your child, and not an adult version, as they tend to be high in salt, fat and sugar,' says Amanda.

Try and put it in perspective – if you need a break from cooking and give your toddler a ready-meal, it means you'll spend less time cooking and more time with your baby.

You're guilty about…
Getting annoyed at your tantruming two year old

Your darling child has decided to turn into a little terror, right in the middle of the supermarket but after getting frustrated at him ("Right, no trip to park!") you feel terrible.

But nobody said you'd develop the patience of a saint when you became a mother and it's normal to sometimes get annoyed. If your little one is tantruming, Amanda suggests remembering the acronym A.C.T to help you cope and stay calm.

A - Adult - think about how you, the adult, is feeling. What buttons is your child pressing and why is it annoying you? Raising awareness helps you get to the heart of the issue and find a solution.
C - Child - Why is your child behaving like this? If you can work that out, it will help you notice certain triggers - such as tiredness or attention-seeking - and stop them before a full tantrum develops.
T - Time - Take a time out. This isn't just for your toddler - it's for you too. Check that he's in a safe place then take a minute and breath deeply to help restore calm.

What do you feel guilty about as a mum? Let us know in the comments box below


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