A Little Thing Called Mummy Guilt

Mummy Guilt | A Joyful Mess
Mummy Guilt | A Joyful Mess

Mummy cat and baby cat

Have you ever felt inadequate as a mum?

I had huge plans for my 3-year old son, Yuri. Don’t get me wrong; his dad and I still do. But sometimes, I doubt my capability as a mum to work those plans into fruition.

I know it’s bad and every wise person should know by now that comparison is the thief of joy, but I’m finding myself in that blackhole. It’s like having a Macbook. Once you go Mac, you won’t go back or something like that. Once you start comparing, it’s hard to stop.

Recently, I find myself comparing Yuri to almost every child I see, and I find myself worrying about his development. For example, one of his friends came to play one day. He’s only 2 and a half but bigger and slightly taller than my boy. It didn’t help that before that, I’ve been worrying about the lack of changes in his height and weight. Yuri had been an exclusively breastfed baby so he was never on the big side.

And then I see posts of kids already reading by 2 or 3; Yuri is still learning the letter sounds (phonics). Last night, I saw my friend’s post about her 3-year old daughter’s drawing of herself and her daddy. Yuri is just learning to trace. It has never occurred to me before, but last night, I feared that we made the wrong decision to postpone preschool this year.

As you might probably have understood, I made a 180Β° turn from a chill mum to a worrywart.

Mummy Guilt | A Joyful Mess

Biking while mum is working inside the home office

To be honest, I know deep in my heart that Yuri is doing alright. He’s conversant and acts maturely for his age, and he’s rarely sick (although we just discovered he’s allergic to shrimp – sadness). But I can’t help thinking about my own inadequacies. Did we, somehow, make some wrong decisions that might affect Yuri in some way? Are we spoiling him or delaying him in some manner? Are we not paying as much attention to his health as we should be? The questions are plenty. They are not helping at all, but they are plenty.

I haven’t shared this concern to my long-distance partner, Job, yet precisely because I know what piece of advice he’ll give me:

Pray, read your Bible, and don’t let your emotions rule your head.

And then he’ll add that he’s always there for us and that Yuri is doing great; he’s a smart and a good boy. I know he will say that not to make me feel better but because it’s what he thinks is true.

So I’ve done a lot of thinking last night. Instead of focusing on my what my son “lacks,” which may or may not be a figment of my imagination, I tried to think of everything that makes him special.

  • First, he’s the only toddler I know (so far) who knows the names of around 20-30 kinds of trucks and vehicles. I can’t even tell a front loader from an excavator (and yes, I learned the terms from him).
  • He builds this really well. He’s been building crude versions of cars, trucks and aeroplanes using his Mega Bloks since he was 2.
  • He might be clingy (another one of my mum-insecurities), but he surprises me sometimes by acting so maturely. He’s really defensive of me.
  • So he doesn’t know the numbers beyond 30 yet or the lowercase letters, but he can easily memorise songs and sing them in tune. Okay, a lot of preschoolers do that, but still, I find it amazing!
  • So he may not be as tall or as big as some kids, but he’s strong. Yes I am aware that Yuri’s arm is only a few inches wide and that his ribs are somehow showing, but the boy Β could lift a mean load. Examples are my middle schooler sister’s school bag which is full of books and our freshly delivered gallons of water. Seriously!

Mummy Guilt | A Joyful Mess

In the end, I understood the meaning of my “exercise.” There are so much more things to thank for than things to complain about. Yuri is a special boy who may lack in a few things but is brilliant when it comes to other things. He may not be as big as his peers, but he is healthy. And strong.

Realising these things, I learn that comparison is really the thief of joy and that it is futile. You’ll end up nowhere except in the hole of your own insecurities, perceived to be bigger.

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  • Reply ceemee July 6, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    I know what you mean, Maan. This year my youngest started school and compared to the other kids, she’s small for her age, being exclusively breastfed for 18 months. Thanks to your reminder, I also need to look at her strengths like being sensitive, independent in dressing herself and feeding herself, and a fast-learner.

  • Reply Teresa Martinez July 7, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Being human and so much in love with our own kids, it is difficult not to worry but it doesn’t help us accomplish much so like you said, it would be best to focus on their strengths while working on their “weakness” with understanding.

  • Reply Grace July 7, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    i feel you. sometimes while we think we want our kids to have an “edge” we are becoming that very-competitive parents. i also experienced that and i felt so guilty as well. i started to focus more on what my child CANT do rather than what she can really do.

  • Reply Pam / Hey, Miss Adventures! July 7, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    I think we all go through that, Maan. I actually hate scrolling through Facebook news feeds, especially this time of the year (well, even until this time of the year) because there is so much “My daughter can do this”/”My son can already /”My niece got 1st honor #soproud”. Hahaha. You know what I mean.

    It is still a struggle for us parents to keep our mouth shut on our own children’s mini-achievements but we have to, so as to stop inflicting mommy guilt on others, too. It is not even advisable to say “Smart Kid!” or they might grow up with a big head or something like that — but what Mommy could resist that?

    I believe in my daughter’s capabilities and I know that she will get learn things on her own pace and time. Life is, after all, not a race, right? Let’s stop and smell the roses and enjoy life as it happens. They are only young once so let’s make the most of it. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Rowena Wendy Lei July 8, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Health is wealth! That has always been my one wish for my kids to be healthy. I’m a believer that every other thing can be learned, every other skill can be acquired. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Janice July 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I think worrying is normal for us moms. However, in time you’ll learn which things you really need to worry about. I was more of a worrywart when I was a young mom with two daughters. Now that I’m older and more experienced as a mom, I’m more relaxed with my four-year-old son. It’s easy to compare him to other kids especially since we haven’t enrolled him yet in preschool either. But he’s also learning a lot at home. Like Yuri, he also knows the names of vehicles my heart. πŸ™‚ He also just started learning how to read. Just remember that learning is not a competition. The world is our kids’ classroom anyway. They learn something new everyday. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Ayi July 8, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Hey mommy Maan! Good to hear from you again! I know how you feel and to be honest, I feel the same. But there’s one thing I learned from being a mom: I learned to stop comparing. Every child is different and unique πŸ™‚

  • Reply nicole p. July 9, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    I totally get this. It’s what’s been happening to me since Jenae came to be 2 years of age, and still until now. That’s cause her brother who is just 2 years of age has already caught up with my baby’s height and built, and Jenae is 4 years old already. Although she’s quite strong and doesn’t necessarily cry when she falls down, I feel anxious cause of her body built.. I’ll try your exercise, thanks for this post! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Rose Angelie July 9, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    I think we all have this natural mommy tendency to easily get a bit worried once we observe other kids doing better than ours. It makes us think that we’re not teaching enough and our kids are missing out much.. but the truth is, (and we already know this) kids will always be different. Trust me, mommy, your son is more than okay. It it’s going to help you feel better, well my daughter just started her first school this June at age 4 (turning 5 this October) and she’s fine in school. Also, my son (2) can’t count yet. Now you can go back to “chill mom” Haha πŸ™‚

  • Reply Jackie July 10, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    It’s really hard not to compare but I just remind myself that my kid can do other things that other kids can’t do. Also comparing is stressful! So I try to avoid it. This is a good reminder for us moms. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Lique Dimayuga July 11, 2015 at 1:54 am

    You’re doing a great job Mommy. I’ve been past that comparison stage.. My eldest learned to walk and talk later than his peers but the moment he did learn, super likot and daldal naman.. It’s OK to delay school, you can teach him a bit at home like informal or relaxed homeschooling, because kids aren’t required by law to attend school until age 5 πŸ™‚ besides, childhood is fleeting, let him enjoy and you too, enjoy your time together while he’s young πŸ˜€

  • Reply DIY corporate mom July 12, 2015 at 7:25 am

    I feel you Maan! My daughter is petite so it’s a constant worry. I feel you on mommy guilt! I think it will always be a struggle but it’s because we love our kids so much.

  • Reply Que Sullano - Gavan August 13, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    You are doing a great job Maan! Yuri is lucky to have you by his side. He might β€œlack” something, like all of our kids, but he is definitely gifted at another thing!

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