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to think none of us are shit mums?

(33 Posts)
FedoraTheExplora Wed 17-Feb-16 23:56:45

Inspired by a different goody thread.. But I really think if you're on here saying about how you feel guilty about crying all day/ not playing with them enough/ working all day/ formula feeding/ not cracking sleeping/ eating/ behaviour/ potty training etc., or not having the absolute best time of your lives getting your bleeding nipple bitten, or your hair pulled for the thousandth time that day, or playing mums and dads on repeat for 5 hours, or 'answering muuuuuuum?' for the 67th time that day - then there is absolutely no way you're a shit mum, because you care enough to feel guilt even when your shit mood is absolutely justified?

I follow this amazing woman on Facebook called Constance Hall.. Anyone that's fed up of parental one upmanship on social media should absolutely follow her, she's great. Anyway, she just said:
*
"Because that 1 thing that makes you feel like a shit mum.. Is parental guilt.

And shit mums don't have parental guilt. "
*
If you're spending time worrying that you're not doing a good enough job as a mum, then obviously you love and want to be the absolute best mum you can be - which in my eyes makes you fucking fantastic.

AIBU to think this?

FedoraTheExplora Wed 17-Feb-16 23:57:16

* goady - it definitely wasn't goody blush

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Thu 18-Feb-16 00:11:56

Brilliant thread. Thank you on from my self and on behalf of all parents.
Going to give this thread a few bumps.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Thu 18-Feb-16 00:12:08

Bump

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Thu 18-Feb-16 00:12:19

Bump

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Thu 18-Feb-16 00:12:30

Bump

WorraLiberty Thu 18-Feb-16 00:16:39

Maybe it's just me but I feel irrationally irritated sometimes when I see someone describe themselves as a 'shit mum'.

I say 'sometimes' because I don't feel irritated when someone is just down in the dumps, and parenthood is getting on top of them. Obviously they clearly need support.

But I do get a bit irritated when someone uses the phrase before describing shit parenting behaviour, because it reads a bit like 'Come and feel sorry for me, despite the fact I've just been really shit to my child'.

So they get loads of flowers and sympathy instead of the practical advice they might need, to rectify the situation.

Some shit Mums do have parental guilt, just as some shit Dads do. I know this because over the years, I've known too many parents who have been addicted to drugs and alcohol.

They love their kids to bits, but their addictions have definitely led them into some very shit parenting, for which they've always felt very guilty about.

MistressDeeCee Thu 18-Feb-16 00:19:36

Whilst this is a nice post the other Post wasn't in "some mums are shit" fashion, but your title etc gives the impression it was. Just saying, as this is a TAAT that was asking why so many mums moan about being a mum to babies & toddlers on MN. I knew thread wouldn't go well but thought it was an interesting question actually, even though I didn't necessarily agree with it all. I wouldn't link to or deem myself a shit mum based on any MN thread anyway

TitClash Thu 18-Feb-16 00:23:59

Dammit, I wish someone had said that to me years ago.

MaryRobinson Thu 18-Feb-16 00:24:01

I really want to agree with you, and I do wrt parental one upmanship.

But, even terrible mothers love their kids, and even good-on-the-outside mums can be awful.
Any adult child of an alcoholic will tell you they are not good parents. Loads of mumsnetters are active alcoholics, and quite a few are partial to a line of Coke.
Every so often there are threads where literally hundreds of women on one thread admit they dislike one or more of their children compared to The Chosen One. They get lots of sympathy, but the kids on the wrong end of that shitty stick end up on the Stately Homes thread.

And that's before you even talk about contentious stuff: can you be a good Mother if you smoke in pregnancy? What about if you sometimes smack your kids? Or if you mumble Little Shit under your breath at them, or shout at your teenager, or any one of a million challenges we all face.

I don't think parental guilt makes anyone a better parent- basically it is saying "I'm sorry you got smacked I feel so terrible and wracked with guilt about it". It's making it all about me me me. Unless the guilt becomes a driver to stopping the behaviour you font

MaryRobinson Thu 18-Feb-16 00:25:01

... Unless the guilt becomes a driver to stopping the behaviour you don't want to do, it is just self indulgence.

WorraLiberty Thu 18-Feb-16 00:28:18

I haven't read the other thread, is it still there?

I just posted to say that I disagree with this Constance person.

Feeling parental guilt, really doesn't automatically make someone a good parent.

If it did, there would be no such thing as courts/SS sending people on parenting courses, as a last resort before taking the children into care.

Unless 'Constance' thinks that none of those parents feel any guilt at all, at not being able to cope for whatever reason.

FedoraTheExplora Thu 18-Feb-16 00:28:42

Sorry this wasn't actually a TAAT, it was more because I had just read the quote I posted and I thought maybe some mums had read that posters comments and thought "oh god, he/ she is right.. I posted on here about how I've been so sad since my DC was born and now everyone thinks I'm rubbish, I am rubbish, I could be doing x, y or z and I'm not, I'm not being the best mum I could be and my DC deserves better'.

Honestly in the first few days/ weeks, I probably would have felt like that ^ reading that thread. So it was more a little post to make mums who aren't perfect 24/7 which none of us are, even OP of the other thread, feel a little bit better about themselves - as I know firsthand how soul destroying seemingly offhand comments can make you feel as a mum who wants to do her best, and feels like she's not.

WorraLiberty Thu 18-Feb-16 00:30:15

I couldn't agree more Mary, but you put it much more eloquently than me blush thanks

LucyBabs Thu 18-Feb-16 00:33:05

I've had mental health problems, bereavement and a relationship break down. Some days I'm a shit parent because I'm having a bad day. However I realise I've been unnecessarily short tempered, didn't give enough of me to my dc etc. If I didn't realise this then I would truly be a shit parent and I wouldn't try to make the next day a better one.
I get what you're saying Fedora I love Constance Hall too smile

FedoraTheExplora Thu 18-Feb-16 00:34:57

Worra, I get your point. I am friends (or maybe aquantances, as we've got older) with people with alcohol/ drug problems who have had baby's. It comes with the territory if you were an absolute nightmare of a teenager from a poor area.

I so get what you are saying. I know people who have had their kids taken off them, they've felt ridiculously guilty and yet it was completely the right choice for the poor baby, as their priorities weren't in place and their addictions came first.

But I can tell you categorically that none of them would have ever posted on mumsnet. A stereotype? Maybe. But out of every single person I know, the only person who would ever post here and thus I be careful about what I write is my landlady. I think people who are neglecting their children due to substance abuse (though I can only speak in my experience of relatively young mums), are very unlikely to post on a parenting forum. Out of interest, do you agree?

WorraLiberty Thu 18-Feb-16 00:36:04

Ahh thanks for explaining OP. I missed the thread.

However, I still can't agree with 'Constance Hall'.

"If you're spending time worrying that you're not doing a good enough job as a mum, then obviously you love and want to be the absolute best mum you can be - which in my eyes makes you fucking fantastic."

If love and guilt was all it took to be a good parent, there would be no shit parents anywhere.

But obviously it takes more than that and I can only imagine how torn apart some parents are, when they're stuck in a cycle of treating their kids awfully, feeling guilty, trying to make up for it, then treating their kids awfully again....etc etc.

Of course there will be a minority of parents who don't give a shit, but I think in the grand scheme of things, even shit parents feel guilty but that doesn't make them a good parent if that makes sense?

FedoraTheExplora Thu 18-Feb-16 00:37:07

Massive x post. I've only been a member of mumsnet for a few months so I guess I'm not really qualified to stereotype the users. I stand corrected. Still hope it made a couple of people feel a bit better though x

TheJiminyConjecture Thu 18-Feb-16 00:37:51

Is she the one on Facebook who did the apology to the woman who's husband she stole? Australian lady?

tigermoll Thu 18-Feb-16 00:39:17

OP, I'm not saying you're a shit mum. I have no data from which to draw a conclusion.

But the presence of guilt is not a reliable indicator of being a good parent -- many good-enough parents feel guilty, but many bad parents feel guilty as well. My mother regularly indulges herself with orgies of guilt, but she was still a not-good-enough mother.

That's what makes guilt so pernicious -- good people worry about how they've behaved, but so do bad people. Then both those groups seek for ways to make themselves feel better -- mostly by convincing themselves (erroneously or not) that they have nothing to feel bad about. The only people truly free from worrying about how they treat people are psychopaths. You have to draw on other sources of information than just "do I feel guilty?" to decide if you have something to reproach yourself for.

WorraLiberty Thu 18-Feb-16 00:40:58

X posted but no I can't really agree.

I don't know this Constance Hall person so I can only go on what you've quoted, but guilt is a natural human emotion just like love is.

Feeling guilt and feeling love, sadly does not automatically turn a shit parent into a good one.

Actions matter to children more than the emotions that their parents feel inside.

WorraLiberty Thu 18-Feb-16 00:43:07

Massive X post again from me too grin

It's good to have discussions like this. I find them interesting as I'm sure many other Mumsnetters do, so it's a great thread.

FedoraTheExplora Thu 18-Feb-16 00:45:05

*OP, I'm not saying you're a shit mum. I have no data from which to draw a conclusion.

But the presence of guilt is not a reliable indicator of being a good parent -- many good-enough parents feel guilty, but many bad parents feel guilty as well. My mother regularly indulges herself with orgies of guilt, but she was still a not-good-enough mother.*

I never thought you were saying that! But you're post resonates with me - as my own mum was, and probably still is racked with guilt due to her failings as a mother, which are at least in part justified. This manifested in her and caused massive anxiety, depression and addictions to alcohol and gambling.

But she would never be a poster of mumsnet. As I say, I'm new so I may be completely wrong - but I'm more addressing this to the women posting threads, actively seeking help. Rather than a vague feeling of intense guilt? I think there's a difference, though I accept all your opinions.

FedoraTheExplora Thu 18-Feb-16 00:48:44

Actions* matter to children more than the emotions that their parents feel inside.*

That's kind of what I'm trying to inelequatly say. The posters that are seeking advice so they can change their behaviours to benefit their children - they're the ones that don't deserve the 'shit mum' title.

Not the ones that have a dormant feeling of guilt whilst actively neglecting/ abusing their children - I of course agree then that this guilt has no positive effect on their child.

WorraLiberty Thu 18-Feb-16 00:52:58

I see what you mean. You seem to be coming at this from an angle where you feel that someone asking for help to be a better parent on Mumsnet, must surely be a better parent than they give themselves credit for?

If that's the case, I'd say you have a fair point.

However, some people do tend to start thread after thread and never really take advice or learn to change their situation.

Sometimes I get the impression that when they open their post with "I'm such a shit mum", they're often after sympathy and reassurance, rather than practical advice on how to actually change.

Often other Mumsnetters will reassure them that their shit parenting pales into insignificance, because a kind of 'one-upmanship' on examples of bad parenting will ensue grin

Either way I think the majority of us are just muddling through, and doing the best we can....with crossed fingers wink

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