I’ve decided that that Sanctimonious Bitch can waddle on her way.
That horrible guilt that Mammies feel. It hits us in two ways:
1. Sometimes it creeps up slowly, beginning as a niggle, but then grows into a giant “butterfly in your tummy”. (Actually, no. It’s not a butterfly. It’s more comparable to a drunk, out of control, giant Pigeon that crashes against your insides asnit tries to escape your tummy.)
2. Sometimes it hits you like an articulated lorry, out of the blue.
Either way, it hits.
Sometimes over seemingly insignificant things, you know? Like, “They’re having pizza and waffles for tea again.” or “I haven’t bathed him in a week” or “Jam sandwiches for the second day because I forgot to go to the shop.” We know we’re not following the “Perfect Mammy rule book” and we can guess how our Sanctimammy friend would react if she saw our crimes.
Bring on the Mammy guilt.
Other times, it’s over bigger things or events. You know that wedding you’re going to? Where you’re going to stay overnight? That you’re reeeeeeally looking forward to? But as it draws nearer, you seriously consider making excuses to the Bride because you just don’t know how you’re going to leave your Minion for 24 hours. Or that nightbout with the girls? Or leaving them in Childcare while you go to work…or not being able to invite the whole class to his party because the money just isn’t there…or telling her “5 minutes Mammy’s working”…
Oh bring on the Mammy guilt.
It’s endless. It’s indiscriminate. It pops up in the weirdest places and it can be suffocating. Because it makes us feel wrong, uncertain…useless even.
How often have you wished the baby monitor to quieten down, only to feel an urge to go in and snuggle her after 20 minutes? How often have you looked at the clock at 5pm and willed it to be bedtime, and then felt like crap because she crawls up for a snuggle? How often have you been given the chance of an extra hour in bed, only to feel like your gut is going to self-combust when you hear your baby crying? You know that she’s safe with Daddy or Granny or whoever is with her, but your Mammy guilt forces you to drag you ass downstairs to check.
That’s the Mammy guilt.
This morning, the Him let me lie in. After a while, I heard the bath running. He was bathing the girls… my first reaction was “I’d better get up.” I sat up. My head was automatically filled with thoughts like “Where are her clothes?” “How will he manage both?” “Does he have everything set up?” ” I’d better get up.” I felt GUILTY that I was snuggled up in bed while Daddy was bathing the girls.
And then I copped myself the feck on and lay back down!
Because you see, that’s where we Mammies are going wrong. We’re allowing the Mammy guilt to be a bad thing. We’re allowing it to make us feel like we must be doing something wrong if we’re feeling guilty.
But we’re not doing anything wrong. It took all of my strength to not interfere… to let him decide what they would wear…to batter the guilt down and stop worrying about something so silly!
If anything, the fact that we’re worrying about being a good Mammy, means that we ARE good Mammies. Is that “guilt” not simply what keeps us on the right track?
My New Year’s resolution for 2017 is simple.
I’m taking the Mammy Guilt and I am kicking it out the door. Instead, I’m going to call it my MammyCheck.
Because that feeling is not guilt.
It is panic. It is fear. It is worry. It’s our mind’s way of making us Check and Double check our decisions.
If we’re feeling it, we’re being good Mammies already.
It will a lot of effort and it will take a lot of time, but if we decide to take our Mammy Guilt and turn it into a positive thing, it’s worth a try right?
So if you’re in the throes of making your New Year’s resolutions for tomorrow, add one in.
Refuse to feel the Mammy guilt. Take it as a sign that you’re already fablis.