Parental Guilt, Do You Feel Guilty As A Parent?

Parental Guilt, Do You Feel Guilty As A Parent?

Being overwhelmed by parental guilt is something every parent has experienced. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

I Quite My Job

‘Face-Timing’ my son on his first-ever day at school was not the same as being there. I was overwhelmed with emotions, and they were mostly negative ones. My son, of course, was fine but I felt like the worst mother on the planet. I wasn’t even there to collect him, and so it continued, morning and evening, for the next three weeks. Then I quit my job. (See my article on Work Life Balance) The struggle was real. I was torn between paying the bills and being there for all the small, everyday things. When I announced that I was going to be staying at home and he wouldn’t need to go to morning/after-school club anymore, he cried. Not with relief, but because he loved club. Excellent – I hadn’t even seen that coming!

Parental Guilt? I Think I know Why

No matter what we do, we feel (needlessly) guilty for just about everything it would seem. And I think I know why. It’s not because of the decisions we make, but rather because of the plethora of information online and the prevalence of advice and opinion ‘out there’ that we are in a permanent state of self-doubt. I’ve thought about this a lot and trust me, you have no need to feel guilty. If I had carried on working, my son would have been absolutely fine. He loved club, he loved life and was very happy and settled. The point was that I wanted to be with him and not somewhere else. I thought I felt guilty, but actually I was feeling sad, and I had a terrible case of the ‘fear of missing out.’ It was more about me than him. There was absolutely no need to suffer the anguish of parental guilt for working full-time.

The Difference Today

I have two grown-up children and two small children. The first two came along in a social media free world, and the second two are growing up in the digital age. I was a happy parent, raising the first two. I made decisions and never remember feeling parental guilt over any of them, probably because I had no real clue what everybody else was doing and never sought any opinion either. Fast forward 15 years and I question myself over everything. Social media and the abundance of opinion and advice has a lot to answer for. The internet is a fantastic ‘information-finding’ resource, but social media sites can facilitate the judging of parents and creating anxiety over every decision one makes. Should they be allowed to eat in front of the TV? Or even be watching TV? Should I enrol them in more after-school activities or less? Am I terrible for letting them sleep in my bed? What’s my parenting technique and is it the right one? So many things to worry about and feel like a guilty parent over! I mean, are they getting enough mental stimulation, and should I be playing with them more? Do I need to raise my kids as gender-neutral, or is it ok to dress my boys in blue and my girls in pink? It’s so confusing, and we end up feeling guilty about the most ridiculous things. STOP.

Enough of the Parental Guilt Already – Trust Your Instincts!

Enough of the guilt, mums and dads. Trusting your own instinct on what is right, or wrong, for your family is the most important rule you can live by. What is the best decision for one child or parent is not the best for another. Every situation is unique, and therefore, all our choices will be unique too. Parenting is a tough enough gig without heaping on a load of unnecessary guilt. So, go ahead and use the internet to help you make decisions. Learn more, understand issues and weigh up the pros and cons of a given situation. But don’t feel guilty once you’ve made a decision. If that decision doesn’t work out, then change it as I did. This goes for everything, including much-debated issues like whether or not to breast-feed, have a C-section, raising vegan kids or choosing to home-school. Ignore what everyone else thinks is right and do what’s best for YOU and YOUR child. Staying at home has proven to be the right decision for us. I am happier, and a happy mummy equals a happy family. Being happy is what matters and, you can’t be happy if you’re perpetually feeling guilty. So stop!

A Parent’s Guide to Making Teething Easier for You and Your Baby

Teething can be a challenging time for babies and their parents. Soreness and swelling may make some little ones fussier...

Read more

Staying fit whilst pregnant

When it comes to pregnancy and training there are usually two main questions that we as trainers are asked. One, can I c...

Read more

Key nutrients to help your children feel happier, healthier and smarter

Key Nutrients to Help Your Children Feel Happier, Healthier, and Smarter As a parent, you have a huge number of differen...

Read more