Mum guilt is pretty crap. As someone who always over-thinks things, I often feel like the guilt is there no matter which way I turn and I know I'm not the only one. I never realised before having a baby that you could feel guilty for cuddling your baby too much (WTF?).
And yet, Mum guilt and over-exaggeration aside, I honestly believe that my kids deserve better than having me as their Mummy.
Hear me out. My children, all children, are amazing.
They're fresh pages, free of intolerance and judgement. They're loving and deserving of attention. They're fun and deserving of exciting and stimulating activities. They deserve a Mum who is always patient, kind, loving and makes non-toxic, coloured, scented and glittered playdough in the mornings and sets up multi-sensory small world playscapes in the afternoon whilst whipping up a healthy and nutritious evening meal.
I'm not that Mum.
I lose my patience. I shout. I say 'no' way more than I would like to. I let them watch far too much TV. I spend too much time on my phone.
And so I know my kids deserve better. And that's life.
Because I'd like to think that having me as a Mum is teaching them valuable life lessons - even if it is learning that some people need an extra five minutes in bed in the mornings or the acceptable waiting time between doing something wrong and then asking for a biscuit.
I'd like to think that by being a perfect example of an imperfect mother, I'm teaching them that every single person is worth loving and that you can love someone despite all their faults. That people, or things, do not need to be perfect in order to be treasured.
I'd like to think that they see me working hard and trying to be a good Mum, more than they hear me singing my own praises or giving up completely.
And so yes, my kids deserve better. We are all deserving of so much more in life. But what we get is the opportunity to strive for more, to accept what is amazing and what is not, to love people even when they're grumpy, miserable cows.
Whenever Mum guilt is getting on top of me. When I feel defeated and like the World's Worst Mum, I try and remember:
When my Dad died, he wrote that his "kids deserved better". Perhaps he was right. But he completely missed the point. My brother, sisters and I might have deserved better but it isn't what we wanted. We wanted the Daddy we were given and we loved the Daddy we had.
And if I'm really, really lucky, then my kids will look beyond all my faults and mistakes and love me just as much.