I love a good epiphany. That feeling when an idea or realisation, one that has all too often been staring you in the face, seems to leap up, give you a good figurative slap and set you straight on something.
I have to admit that I've never been a fan of the idea of the so-called ‘mummy guilt’. I think it’s become an overused term and one that I don’t fully understand or agree with. I believe that most mums (and certainly all the ones I know personally) all want to do the absolute best by their children. Sometimes you make decisions that may be tough or don’t seem to be the popular one. You may read articles from ‘experts’ that suggest you’re doing it all wrong. But the way I look at it is that you are trying to do your best. You do what is best for your family. So why waste your time and energy feeling guilty? Be proud that you have made decisions that put your family unit first. Maybe it’s a decision that you know, in hindsight, wasn't the right one. So we live and learn – this is all about on the job training, there’s no manual that accompanies a baby or child.
It’s a term that comes up often in relation to child care or doing something that might be deemed as treating yourself – maybe getting a manicure, pedicure or going to the gym. My epiphany was that we should focus on mummy balance rather than these nonconstructive feelings of guilt. So much of life relies on a good balance – I bet nearly every mum that worked prior to becoming a mum (and many who have worked since) have come to a point where they have desired a better work-life balance. And being a parent is no different – you need to balance being a mum (or dad) and being you. Just because you are a parent, you do not need to lose your own identity.
It took me a long time to get to this point – I actually did get there about 18 months after my son was born. All of a sudden, I realised there was no lasting damage going to be done if I went to get my hair done or spent an hour at the gym. In fact, when I returned I was arguably a better mum because I had that opportunity to be me and to nourish my own identity. This time I have reached the point more quickly – it’s only taken me 6 months since the birth of my daughter to get here. Last weekend I went to get my hair cut and coloured. It was nice for a change to be able to say to someone ‘just fix it’ rather than being the one always doing the fixing. So I say embrace your decisions and feel proud that you can make the tough decisions. Remember that you are important and being mum is only part of the puzzle.