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Modern mums are constantly wracked by guilt- with not earning enough money or being able to give the children the attention they crave featuring highly on the list of mum’s guilt triggers, research revealed. Being too busy or tired, not being able to afford everything the kids want and returning to work post-maternity leave also made the list.
Other issues which leave mums feeling bad include not going on more family days out, relying on the television to occupy children while doing housework and a lack of patience.
The study also revealed a staggering 87% of mums feel guilty at some point, with 21% admitting they feel this way ‘most’ or ‘all of the time’.
More than six in ten also said they feel guilty because of something someone else says, with other mums named as the biggest culprit.
Three quarters admit they put themselves under pressure with constant worries about whether they are a good enough mum.
Joanne Evans, head of marketing for babycare company, NUK, which commissioned the research, said:
”It seems mums are suffering a huge amount of guilt when it comes to their kids, within days of their child being born because of the myth surrounding how we should care for our babies.
”Whether using a dummy or deciding to use formula milk instead of breastfeeding, mums can feel like they are doing something wrong within their child’s first few days of life.
”And these results show that the guilt never goes away – if anything, it only gets worse as their child gets older.
”Even wanting a bit of time to themselves sees many berating themselves for not being the perfect mum.
”But it seems mums could be making the guilt worse by putting pressure on themselves.
”It’s important for mums to relax and worry less about whether they are doing, what’s perceived as, the right thing so they can enjoy their youngster’s childhood – guilt free.”
The study of 2,000 mums found simply being too busy to give their children more attention or spend more time playing with them is most likely to leave mothers feeling guilty.
Not being able to afford everything their kids ask for came second, while not taking their family on more days out together was third.
Being impatient with their youngsters was in fourth place followed by relying on the TV to keep them occupied and not earning enough money.
Feeling too tired to give your kids the attention they need was at seven, while returning to work after giving birth came eighth.
Working long hours and staying late in the office completed the top ten.
Mums are also left feeling bad because they have to rely on a nursery or childminder to look after their children, want to go to work instead of being a stay-at-home mother and use formula milk instead of breastfeeding.
Not giving them a sibling, spending too much time and energy on the household chores and struggling to afford more holidays are also among the common guilt-triggers.
Their mother-in-law, their own mum, their partner and even their children are also responsible for some of the guilt, with 41% of mums claiming their children have said something to make them feel bad.
The study also revealed 76% worry about whether they are doing a good enough job of raising their children.
And seven in ten worry others judge them when it comes to what they do or don’t do with their children.
Three quarters also admitted they would like some more support, with 61% of those saying this would help to reduce the guilt they feel.
Joanne Evans at NUK added:
”NUK has conducted the survey to highlight the misplaced guilt that mums often feel during babycare and raising their children.
”The most important aspect to babycare is that the child is raised in a loving and caring environment and that mums recognise that if this is the case they don’t need to feel guilty.”
*Mums wishing to participate in the Guilt Free Guide to Babycare should visit NUK’s Facebook page to post their stories of guilt or its Twitter page and post with the hashtags #NUK #guiltfree
TOP 30 GUILT TRIGGERS FOR MUM
1. Being too busy to give my children more attention
2. Not being able to afford everything they want
3. Not going on more days out
4. Not having more patience
5. Relying on the TV to keep them entertained
6. Not earning enough money
7. Feeling too tired to give my kids the attention I think they need
8. Returning to work after my maternity leave
9. Working long hours
10. Working late
11. Telling my children off
12. Wanting to have time away from my children every now and then
13. Putting my child into nursery/childminder
14. Not having more money to spend on new clothes / toys for my children
15. Not being able to afford to go away on family holidays
16. Wanting to go to work instead of being a stay-at-home mum
17. Not having enough time or money to provide freshly cooked and healthy meals
18. Arguing/bickering with my partner in front of the children
19. Spending too much time and energy on the household chores
20. Not going on holidays abroad
21. Not going to enough baby / toddler groups
22. Having to leave them with someone else to go to work during the school holidays
23. Not helping more with homework
24. Telling my children white lies to avoid having to answer difficult questions
25. Feeding a baby formula milk instead of breastfeeding
26. Being a stay-at-home mum and not bringing in any money
27. Leaving my baby to cry and self-soothe
28. Sending my children off to childminder / nursery / school when they are under the weather / poorly
29. Checking work emails / taking work-related phone calls when at home with my children
30. Not giving them a sibling