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The Realities of ‘Mum Guilt’

by Katie Hodgkins

The Realities of ‘Mum Guilt’

This mama is clearly overwhelmed with her little one having a tantrum. (Stock photo)

Mum guilt – you’d be surprised by how common it really is.

  • Ever lie awake at night, agonising over every little thing you say/do/feed to your child?
  • Ever feel upset, anxious and guilty if your children misbehave in public?
  • Ever burst into tears, feeling like you’re a shit mum?
  • Ever think back to the birth, relive it over and over again, and feel deeply regretful that things didn’t go the ‘right’ way, and worry that it will have a lasting impact on your baby?
  • Ever buy yourself new clothes (because shitty Primark leggings with holes in the crotch are NOT suitable for baby group where every other mama can see your knickers when you sit on the floor), and feel a wave of guilt because you wish you’d spend your dosh on your wee ones?
  • Ever go out with the girls for drinks and dinner, leaving baby with daddy or your parents, and mentally berate yourself ALL. FUCKING. NIGHT?
  • Ever switch over from Cbeebies to your channel because you don’t want to miss the latest episode (The Handmaids Tale is my fave at the moment) and feel like an utter monster?
  • Ever find yourself manically busy, too busy to sit and play, and instead resort to ‘TV babysitting’ because the dinner won’t cook itself, and the laundry wont wash itself, but feel like a shitty mum for giving them screen time?
  • Ever feel like crap for not spending ‘enough’ time with the kids?

Mum guilt.

You’re not alone.

Trust me, mum guilt is universal and a totally natural aspect of motherhood! All we want in life is the best for our babies, and we can be WAY too hard on ourselves in the pursuit of parenting awesomeness. It is natural to regret choices we make; but this is how we learn and grow as parents.

I must emphasise this; the fact that you worry and self-critique so much in itself is a HUGE sign that you are an amazing, caring mum.

The Internet and social media does NOT help – in fact, it makes things a hell of a lot worse. It’s a cyber version of ‘keeping up with the Jonses’ syndrome, and it is causing no end of mum guilt. The problem with the internet is that it is nigh on IMPOSSIBLE to distinguish reality from fantasy – it is surprisingly easy to convey this image of ‘yummy mummy life’, with kids in neatly pressed designer threads, eating only the finest organic produce at their pristine top-of-the-range highchair, whilst their cool as a cucumber mummy enjoys a regular coffee with her equally perfect and unflapped friends and their kids behave like little fucking angels WITHOUT needing to resort to tablets, phones, or screen time. Photos. Videos. Blogs. All screaming…

…”LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT MY LOIN FRUIT! Aren’t we just marvellous?! Aren’t we so perfect?! #blessed”

I guarantee you though, 100%, that in reality, these mums go through just as much mum guilt as average Jane.

These accounts… I’d say the vast majority are a fantasy, with the mums cherry picking what they show the world when in REALITY

  • They lose their shit on a daily basis.
  • They have frozen fish fingers/chicken/or any other form of convenience food in their freezer (GASP! THE HORROR! <sarcasm>).
  • Their precious babies have thrown many a monster tantrum in the aisles of Waitrose – and Tesco… Asda… Iceland…
  • They have days where it is a physical ball ache to brush their hair with a baby hanging off them screaming.
  • They too have days where they feel like a shit mum. 

They just choose to alter the outsiders perception through selective posting – out of embarrassment? Fear of judgement? Who knows.

Just know this, mamas…

In reality, mum guilt is a totally normal thing to experience. It doesn’t make you abnormal, and the trials & tribulations of motherhood are nothing to be ashamed about.

Goodtoknow‘ did a survey of 900 mums about mum guilt; 78% of mums revealed that they feel guilty! 68% of these felt mum guilt once or twice a day.

 The majority cause was ‘not spending enough time with the kids‘, with 34% factoring money issues into their guilt, as they felt restricted in what activities they could do with their children.

61% said they compared themselves to other mums – but of course, the person who is making them feel most guilty is themselves.

Stop comparing. I know its easier said than done, but please, please, please try.

Stop being so hard on yourself. Again, easier said than done, but take a look at your perfect babies and remember that YOU made them, YOU grew them, and YOU are nurturing them – the physical proof of your amazing work is right in front of your very eyes!


You are all amazing mums in your own ways. Celebrate what makes YOU a Queen and a fabulous mother, and fuck the negatives. You’re doing your best and that is what matters.

Don’t let ‘mum guilt’ spoil your experience of motherhood.


Thank you for reading! I hope that this made even one mama feel better and less alone.

Love from Katie! xx

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