It was Wednesday afternoon and I was picking up my eldest son Thomas from daycare. As I was organising his bag, ready to take him home, his kinder teacher came up to me and said “I am sorry to say but Thomas was playing very rough today”. I was instantly shocked as Thomas is the most placid, kind natured little human I know. She went on to explain how he had acted and the events that had taken place. I stood there in disbelief and was absolutely mortified.
Do you know what the first thing that came to my mind was? This is YOUR fault. It was also the first thing that came to my mouth when I proceeded to explain that I am out a bit at night and was about to go away to Bali for a few days, so obviously for that reason he was probably acting out. Yes ladies, it hit me, square in the eyes at that moment. The mummy guilt. It paralysed me.
Most Wednesday’s I catch up with my girlfriends for steak night at our local pub, once our kids are asleep. I had been looking forward to this particular Wednesday for days, but as soon as the mummy guilt hit, I said to my husband that I was not going to go. He was surprised as he knows that is the thing that fills my cup and together we know to always make this a priority. Thankfully he encouraged me to go. He spoke to Thomas and heard his version and realised that he had no idea he was playing so rough (he is a foot taller than most of the kids) and that apparently the other child had been playing rough too and it was a game. Despite this explanation, I still felt guilty.
As I walked into steak night I felt depleted and that I was failing at life. Dramatic I know. I shared with one of my closest friends what had happened and how I was feeling. Her first response “you know this is not your fault?” She totally gets me. She then went on to say how this is what kids do (our boys are 1 week apart) and that they are trying to establish boundaries and sometimes that means pushing the boundaries. She grabbed that mummy guilt by the horns and threw it to the curb. Something that despite my strength and confidence I have, I was not able to do.
It was at this moment that I realised the importance of having a tribe of mums around you. It may be one, it may be one hundred - whatever the number, we need it, it is essential, it is a lifeline. It takes a village to raise a child, and I am thankful that I have a village of wine drinking mums that will help me navigate this. Thankful that they will tell me how it is, call a spade a spade, but always do it with love. To pull me out of that mummy guilt cycle, that all consuming quick sand of lies and comparisons to the highlight reels of others.
Do you have that tribe? It may just be one person that you can call and share about how you are failing at your role as mum and they can give you the truth and perspective you need. Motherhood is a journey that should not be navigated alone.