April 12, 2011

Your say: Do you suffer from mummy guilt?

If you've ever felt a pang of guilt as you use disposable nappies instead of cloth, leave your kids crying at day care while you head off to work, and generally don't meet your idea of the "perfect mum", don't worry you're not alone.

A study conducted by US parenting website BabyCenter.com has found that an overwhelming 94 percent of mothers experience "mummy guilt" at some stage, Today.com reported.

A little bit of guilt can be good, helping women to evaluate how they are doing, question whether they're living their lives they way they want and think they should. But too much can be damaging to women's self-esteem, confidence and general enjoyment of life and motherhood.

Stress is another factor that can increase women's feelings of guilt. A study commissioned by Care.com (a networking website in the US which provides a support network for carers, including parents, helping them to access the right care and services) found that 62 percent of working parents admitted they felt they were too stressed from working and being a parent to do things for themselves, such as go to the gym or call a friend.

The way to reduce your "mummy guilt" is to acknowledge you can't be the perfect mother, and accept the fact that you will always feel a little bit guilty about that. But make a concerted effort not to let it affect your quality or enjoyment of life.

Today.com contributor Dr Robi Ludwig provided five key steps to letting go of "mummy guilt":

    * "Take time for yourself.
    * "Reward yourself.
    * "Develop a support system.
    * "Question whether your guilt is based on truth or your own high expectations.
    * "Don't dwell on your mistakes, just change them."

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