As mums, we spend a lot of time feeling guilty, when we probably shouldn’t. We feel guilty for feeling tired, for wanting to eat a meal that hasn’t gone cold, for wanting a couple of minutes of silence. We shouldn’t feel guilty for those things – they’re not a lot of ask for, but we push them aside in favour of holding our babies when they’re crying or doing the laundry because we’ve run out of clothes.
Since we’ve got plenty of self-created reasons to feel guilty, we really don’t need anyone else to give us more. I’m not even going to get into what parenting “experts” tell us what we should or should not be doing. That is way too long a story to be telling here, and isn’t really the kind of guilt trip that I’m talking about.
You know how, when you’re walking through the shopping centre or coming out of the train station, and you are suddenly accosted by someone trying to get supporters for a charitable cause? You feel obliged to stop and listen, don’t you? At least, I do. I stop when I can and I listen, even if I can’t support the cause for whatever reason. But, to be honest, I hate feeling like I have to. I’m not a stingy person, I like supporting charities and other non-profit projects. I’ve even been involved in running some myself. So why should I feel guilty that I need to catch my train on time, or grab something to eat on my not-exactly-long lunch break, or that I don’t have a bottomless bank account reserved for donating to charity?
Generally, when I get a death stare as I hurry past, I tell myself that I do my bit and have nothing to feel guilty about. But recently, I’ve come across a new guilt-inducing phenomenon. More than once, I’ve hurried past a stall in the shopping centre while on my way to the parents room to feed my crying baby, only to be given the kind of look that says “you should be ashamed for not stopping to hear about my cause”. But, why? Why should I feel guilty for wanting to comfort my child and make sure he is probably nourished? (That’s a rhetorical question.)
This brings me to the other thing that doesn’t make sense to me about this whole thing. As if it isn’t bad enough that we are silently judged for not stopping, we are made to feel guilty for not being financially able to support a cause. I practically had to argue with the last guy that accosted me because he wouldn’t take “I’m on maternity leave and have no income” as an answer. Instead he started asking: “What about your partner, are they earning at the moment? You don’t have to give a lot, even just five dollars a week would really help!” I give regularly through my workplace giving program – when I’m actually working – and have done plenty of one-off donations to various causes; so, again, I shouldn’t feel guilty. But I do. Yes, even though five dollars a week isn’t much, this guy was completely missing the point.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of feeling guilty. We mums do a good job of making ourselves feel guilty as it is; we don’t need people making us feel like we’re not enough. So the next time you feel a guilt trip coming on, remind yourself just what a great job you’re doing of being a mum!
Mini Mummi Blogger 🌺