Monday, 9 June 2014

Dear Mother Guilt, it's not me - it's you

We've been together for a while now. 9 years, in fact. Most of the time we seem to be able to live alongside each other. Occasionally you're even helpful, keeping me in check and providing 'conscience' when I make a decision that I'm unsure about.
But let’s face it, you were trouble from the start. I just wish I’d listened to my friends who warned me about you. “Beware Mother Guilt!” they cried. “She’s a bitch and once you let her in, you won’t get rid of her.”But it was too late. You were already in. Lurking in the maternity ward in hospital we first met when my new son couldn’t latch on. Big and imposing you sat in that room with me day and night. And we’ve been inseparable ever since.
Lately though, there’s been murmurings in the ranks that you’re not so welcome and I have to say, that I agree.
Don’t ignore me. I know you’re there. I can hear you, dramatically sighing. You know the sigh I’m talking about. The one that’s laced with disdain. It’s one of your favourite expressions of disappointment. I know you’re there, and I suffer your judgment, just like mothers all around the world do.
I heard you yesterday. Tutt-tutting when I snapped at Stefan for interrupting me for the 17th time in ten minutes. I know he just wants some attention from me and there will come a time, very soon, that I will yearn for him to want my attention again. I KNOW. All mothers know these simple truths and we don’t need you giving us your 2 cents worth [which, by the way is not even in our currency anymore – just saying].
I hear you in articles I read written by mothers all over the world. Working mothers, stay at home mothers, single mothers, gay mothers, divorced mothers. You’ve got your little claws in all of them. Every day we wonder if we’re doing it ‘right’. If we could do ‘better’. If our children are ‘happy’. If we have ‘given’ enough.  Every day your voice is heard and every day a mother feels worse for hearing it. And we are tired of it.
No-one invited you to this party and everyone wants you to leave. Oh I know I’m only one voice but I speak on behalf of so many who have not yet found the strength to. And believe me when I say it takes strength to stand up to you.
You’re a bully MG, striking at us when we are at our weakest point. At the times when we most need reassurance and support, you’re there instead. Judging. Berating. Blaming. And the irony? It’s usually the best of us mums that give you the most airtime.
You stifle the love in our hearts. Every moment we spend indulging you, is a moment taken away from our wells of love. That’s not how it’s supposed to be and that’s why you’re not welcome here anymore MG.
It has to end. Today.
Oh, and by the way, we know all about your cult. They’re everywhere – The Mother Guilt Disciples. Disguised as well-meaning strangers and internet trolls and sometimes even our own family, they do your work when you’re not around. They’re not welcome here anymore either.
So we’re over MG. Don’t come visiting. I’m not going to let you in. I’m going to be kind to myself and I’m going to love my family, the way all good mums do. But most importantly, I’m going to believe them when they tell me
“You’re the best mum in the world”
Me x

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