It’s fairly safe to say that most days, we all agree that being a mum is a privilege, yes? That much should go without saying. No matter what your situation is like right now… Chances are that you wouldn’t turn back the hands of time for anything. Your kids are, after all, your life. With that in mind, today I am sharing why it’s time to let go of mum guilt! My own children are both in full time school now, so I finally have time to do something for ME!

mym and daughter walking in countryside - let go of mum guilt
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Let go of mum guilt

The trouble is that, as soon as I consider it, mum guilt rears its ugly head. This is one of those phrases that we’re hearing more often now. Many mums are returning to careers after kids, and feel it’s a problem. Perhaps (like me) you worry about school phoning and you not being there to pick up. And, that’s before everyone in your life has their say about what you should be doing. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling so crippled with mum guilt that you end up doing nothing at all. I’ve been there myself for years. (Until now).

It’s important to realise that doing nothing is rarely the right choice. It’s 100% true that guilt still comes around when mums try to live lives of their own, but it’s a backward view. If you do nothing, you’ll be miserable, and your kids will pick up on that. If you’re feeling fulfilled and positive, your family will benefit from it.

The question is, what can you do about that age-old guilt? To some extent, you do have to grin and bear it. You may find, though, that you can at least lessen its sting. And, I’m going to share some tips on how to let go of mum guilt!

Let go of mum guilt – Stop justifying yourself

Firstly, you must have conviction in your choice. There are always going to be people who don’t like the fact that you’re going back to the working world or whatever you decide to do. But, then, there are alternating opinions in near enough anything you do with your kids. There are probably people who don’t like the way you choose to raise them either, but it’s your life.

The chances are that you don’t spend all your time justifying what you feed your children, for instance. If people don’t like it, they can lump it, yes? Well, you should have the same attitude here. You don’t need to justify your decisions to anybody, and doing so can do more harm than good.

If you’re forever defending your choice to go back to school, for example, you may start doubting whether it’s right. The second you let other people’s judgements into your mind, you open space for that guilt. Don’t do it. Accept that everyone is going to have their opinions, and leave it at that. If you know that what you’re doing is right for you, then that’s really all that matters.

Many people think I am crazy for opting to work full time. They’d choose to rely on benefits, due to my son’s profound special needs making going out to do a 9-5 impossible. I need the mental stimulation though. Being sat at home all day doing nothing drives me nuts. (See that – I am even justifying myself to you – I’m not immune to mum guilt just yet)!

Embark on options which benefit your kids

working in a cafe - let go of mum guilt
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Another fantastic way to keep guilt at bay would be to opt for choices which benefit your kids in some way. Taking a teaching assistant job in a school, for example, could help you to nurture learning in your child. It’ll certainly make you better at helping with their homework! Opting to study nursing at university could ensure that you’re always on hand to act fast if your kids get sick.

Obviously, your desire needs to be at the root of any decisions you make. But, being able to bring your choice back to your children could go a long way towards making you feel better. You may even find that re-entering the workforce can make you a better mum thanks to negotiation and planning skills. At the very least, anything you choose to do is sure to make you happier and more fulfilled. And, that guarantees that you’re a better mother. Remember that next time guilt gets in your head and tells you not to do something. If you can let go of mum guilt, you’ll be more confident and happier.

Find flexible choices

If your kids have to stay at school late or spend time with babysitters… There’s no way you’ll keep your guilt at bay 24/7. Chances are, your kids don’t want to spend their evenings with a stranger, after all. The good news is, getting your life back on track needn’t mean neglecting your children at all. By choosing flexible choices, you can still be there at the school gates every day. And, that alone will help to let go of mum guilt.

In truth, your kids needn’t even notice the difference, other than a happier you. There are plenty of options which allow this kind of flexibility, especially now. If you want to study, you could do something like an ma education distance learning course. My hubby is doing a distance learning degree now. It’s a great choice as it allows you to fit studying around everything else you need to do. He still does Syd’s school run most days, and is here to help me when the kids get in from school, too.

If you want to work again, why not opt for remote or freelance choices? These are great, as they allow for the flexibility any mum needs. They could also see you joining a little elite club known as ‘mompreneurs.’ At the very least, it’s worth looking for a position which offers the hours you need. Shift work is fantastic for this. Additionally, most employers are now flexible with hours as long as you complete your workload. By keeping your kids in mind as you sign your contract, there’s really no reason for you to feel guilty. Yet another way to let go of mum guilt!

let go of mum guilt - woman on phone
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Make sure you can always answer your phone

Speaking of guilt… Most mums worry about not being able to get to the phone when their kids need them. It’s every parent’s nightmare to imagine their youngster in the sick bay at school, unable to get hold of them. This image alone may be all the guilt you need not to do this thing in the first place. But, that needn’t happen. All you have to do is make sure you’re never without your phone.

This is essential for any mum, and being able to answer any call is sure to make you feel better. Freelancing and home working allow this. With these choices, you can answer your phone at any second. In general, though, informing your employer of your need to answer school calls shouldn’t be a problem, as long as this is all you do. If you mess around on Facebook, they’ll soon change the rules. But, no employer in their right mind can stop you from answering emergency calls.

Make a set time to spend with your children

You can also keep let go of mum guilt by making set times to spend with your children. When you were a full-time mum, you probably didn’t have to think about this much. You were around, and you did things on the spur of the moment. But, things change the moment you do something for you. Still, you needn’t feel guilty about that so long as you still dedicate time to your kids.

It may be that you free up your evenings for quality family time. Or, perhaps you make sure to spend all weekend with the little people in your life. You may find that it helps to plan days out in advance, and make sure that they’re in your diary. Having less free time can encourage you to spend more “quality time” with your family, than you would have otherwise. That’s because you have to make a specific effort to do these things, rather than taking each other for granted. If nothing else, that should surely allow you to let go of mum guilt?

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