• Deborah Charles-Nelson

'The Perfect Mum VS Happy Mum'

Recently I came across a post on Instagram which said,

"Kids don't need a perfect mum, they need a happy one."

And my, oh my, did this hit home.

I'm sure I'm not the only mum that fell victim to the dreaded 'mum guilt'; trying to be that 'perfect' mum. With all routines fully in place, nothing but fresh self-made baby blends of food – and not to forget the sensory classes and playgroups that you go back and forth from – and the list can go on. Often, I'll find myself worrying about whether my son has had enough stimulation (if we had a lazy day and didn't manage to get out of the house), or I'll stress to no end if he didn't finish his meals that day, worrying over whether he's getting all the nutrients he needs. Just the other day I battled with this: Ethan fell asleep just before leaving for his playgroup and something just as minute as that made me contemplate my entire parenting method:

Should I wake him up so he can go? After all, it's for him and it'll help with his development.”

OR “Do I let him sleep? He's so tired, and, with him teething it'll be good for him to get some rest.”

I spent a long 10 minutes contemplating this while he slept. And in the end, I decided to let him sleep. I really had to speak to myself for a moment and remind myself that diverging from the regular routine will not negate the days, weeks or months spent building that routine.

Well, I must say that as time goes on, I am getting better at dealing with this whole 'mum guilt' thing, and I'm learning to cut myself some slack. Yes! Life is all about balance, but what your baby really needs is a happy environment to flourish in! Take a second and think: is there any use in all the classes, play groups, homemade purées etc if you are miserable? I try my best to smile and play with Ethan, even on my worst days. Our emotions as mothers are infectious and have been ever since they were teeny weeny humans in our bellies (there's tons of research to prove it).

I guess the whole point of this post is to encourage all my fellow mamas out there to free yourself from the shackles of 'mum guilt' and the ideologies of being that 'perfect mum', its unnecessary and taxing, to say the least. Focus on cultivating a happy, positive environment for your baby to thrive in and all the rest will follow, trust me.

My Overall Tips: 1. Don't get bogged down by routines 2. Remember to say “I love you” 3. Self-care is essential to creating a happy space for your baby. Remember to look after yourself. 4. Set goals / 'to do' lists, but do not feel defeated if it's not fully completed. Your best effort is good enough. 5. Morning meditation to start the day off right. 6. Sing to your baby (Ethan loves his gospel music), and dance/sing to nursery rhymes together. Try to create a happy and colourful environment. 7. Try and catch some sleep when your little one is asleep, this may sound cliché but it is essential. Research shows that sleep deprivation can affect mental health. So mummy don't feel guilty or lazy if you catch up on some much deserved z's instead of cleaning! 8. Do what makes your life easier – even if that means using store bought baby purées. 9. Smile even on your toughest days.

Hope this helps, sending you nothing but positive vibes.

Love always, SimplyDeborah xo