How to overcome Mummy Guilt
“Mummy guilt” is where mum’s feel guilt or shame when they do something for themselves separate from her children.” - Bel
Who is Bel?
Bel is married to her best friend and has two amazing children (11 year old daughter and 7 year old son). Both are beautifully empathetic, wise and super independent. But like most mothers, Bel too had her challenges. As babies, in their first year of life, both of her children suffered with reflux meaning sleep was always a big issue for them. One that affected them as babies but also Bel’s entire family, causing them to have to function without sleep!
Like many mothers, her days are very busy! Having to juggle many balls, she still makes it her top priority to ‘do things for herself’ and practise good self-care.
What is Mummy Guilt?
Why do mum’s feel Mummy Guilt
How do you deal with mummy guilt when it arises? And how do you find a ‘balance’ in motherhood?
Bel has personally never subscribed to “mummy guilt” and hasn’t ever really understood it, because she realised quickly into her motherhood journey that she needed to look after herself to be the best mum she could be.
“Within the first year of my daughter’s life, I was absolutely besotted with her and rightly so. But one day, I was talking with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and when I walked away, I realised I had only been able to speak about my daughter and how hard everything had been in those first few months. It was like I had been slapped in the face…….I didn’t even know who I was anymore!
I had lost myself in motherhood, I had forgotten that I needed to take care of myself to be able to take care of my family. But what it all came down to though was the question I asked myself which was; what did I want my daughter to ‘see’ when she looked at me? The answer was simple, I wanted her to see how much I loved her but how much I also loved myself.” said Bel.
How do you practise self care?
“Self care doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture (although I do these too) but you can make it so simple and part of your every day.”
I asked Bel to share her ideas with us so we can try and integrate some of these into our lives!
For Bel, every Monday night is bath night, her family knows this and never interrupts it. At the moment with all the restrictions, she goes for a walk when she finishes work and turns off all her devices, this is a non-negotiable.
Bel loves photography and often use this as a way to be creative and escape into her own thoughts. She also makes the effort to call friends, go out for dinner, head to a movie alone and catch up with her Book Club.
Having a partner that supports you is also a really big help! Bel’s amazing hubby supports her by getting up early on Sunday mornings to take the kids to the markets while she sleeps in.
It is also important to have some bigger things that you do for yourself although you may do them less often. “Once or twice a year I head to my caravan at the beach alone for the night or book myself a nice hotel room – I often use this to reflect, recharge and set goals. I’ll book myself in for a course and go alone with a friend (I’ve done a photography course in the city, many self development, women’s circles etc). Last year I even went to Bali with my sister-in-laws!” says Bel.
How do you feel after you practice self care?
I honestly feel as though I become better equipped to be a great Mum, wife, sister, daughter, friend, teacher and leader.
I know who I am, I know what I like, I know how to look after myself and I really try to nurture these things.
I actually asked my daughter what she thinks when I do “things for myself”, she is a very articulate girl (I swear she has been here before) and she said that it’s like when I do that stuff I charge my Mum battery up, if I don’t do those things I can be grumpy and snappy but when I do, I deal with things in a calmer way. She said that I am happier and
I am a better mum! She also said, it has shown her to do the things that she enjoys and by seeing me do these, we now have some interests we share (like photography and writing). How amazing is that!?
Bel’s top tips for mums who have Mummy Guilt
How has learning about Mindfulness with Mirosuna helped Bel with her journey?
“Mindfulness and being more in tune with my thoughts, feelings, words and actions has helped to act as a sign post for me to check in with myself more regularly. For instance, I finished work the other day, the kids were grating on my nerves and I was growling at them left right and center.
Enter mindfulness. I stopped. I checked in with my body; my shoulders were tight and I was getting a headache. I checked in with my feelings; my chest felt tight with anxiety. I checked in with my words and actions; I had a short fuse and I was yelling at the kids.
Then I recalled my day, and in it, not one bit of self care! I hadn’t even stopped to eat and fuel more body.”