Be kind to yourself, mom.

Throughout the ages, via all sorts of mediums we’re told about the unconditional love for your baby. The way you’ll look at this little human and just willingly flop over and die for them. Or, on the other hand, you’ll hear about how there wasn’t an instant connection. Or, you’ll read about moms suffering from PND. The moms who can’t breastfeed will talk openly, the mommy forums will support those who do breastfeed. But almost nobody stands up for the moms who berate themselves constantly into thinking they’re bad at parenting. The one thing you don’t hear enough about is the guilt that comes with parenting – basically it’s all the guilt, all the time. It’s dumb.

I have had a mixed reaction to me leaving the corporate world: one side of my mommy friends have jumped up and down in excitement and a little jealousy, wanting the choice I’ve made, for themselves. I’ve had other moms raise an eyebrow and wish me luck sardonically, saying that working from home would drive them nuts because they need to “stimulate” themselves and that can only be done in a working environment. And then I’ve had the moms who sheepishly look down at their feet and apologise for having to work at all, wishing they could have the choice to stay at home with their kids. Feeling guilty for not being there 100% of every single day. Crying because little Tommy learned to say his first word and it wasn’t ‘mama’, it’s was ‘fuck’. Wondering if they have a right to parent because instead of playing educational games with their child, they allow them to be stimulated by the TV while they try catch up on important emails, or listen to their voicemails. These parents think they’re bad at parenting. They’re not.

I think it’s so hard for parents in this day and age. These days we don’t just have to deal with our aunties and grannies and neighbouring elderlies telling us how to do it – we have social media, tv, radio, billboards, magazines, apps and websites all telling us how wrong we are at parenting. And when we get some things right, there’s always one more article / tip / strongly worded suggestion of how we could be doing it even better. There’s so much pressure, and we need it to stop. And that can only happen if we allow ourselves a little bit of leeway. So I’ll try help you get started, moms.

Here’s a boost for those who need it:

  • You not being there everyday because you have to work? It’s admirable. It’s necessary. It’s bold and brave and you should be rewarded. Because while you may be sacrificing time away from your darling, you’re earning good ole rands and cents to pay for their clothes, food, chewing toys and slogan hats. You’re awesome. Be kind to yourself, mom.
  • You over there, feeling guilty because your baby is sick from creche? Don’t. He’s building up immunities, learning how his body works, fighting off his own germs now rather than later. Be kinder to yourself, mom.
  • You feel bad for not sending your child to school instead of keeping him at home? You’re sweet – you’re giving your child one on one attention where he will be the center of the universe and the star of the day, every day. There’s plenty of time for school later. Be kinder to yourself, mom.
  • You’re feeling guilty (this one’s for me) for working from home but still send the baby to school? This is a business you’re building, not a lego robot – you need focus, independence, quiet and time. You can’t be having your baby crawling all over your lap and up onto your shoulders while you’re Skyping your next potential client. Send him to school where he has friends and games and singing, you stay at home and sign your next project. Be kind to yourself, mom.
  • Moms who feed their children prepacked, preservative loaded foods: so what. Your kid is fed and exposed to colours and flavours, high five!
  • Moms who make their own homemade meals without butter or salt: your kid is also being fed and exposed to textures, flavours, colours and probably loves eating as much as the kid above, high five!
  • Moms who use cloth nappies, you’re amazing through all those laundry loads. Be kind to yourself.
  • Moms who use disposable nappies, you’re saving hours on not washing. Be kind to yourself.

Bottom line: if your child goes to bed at night feeling loved, safe, warm and fed – you’re acing this parenthood thing. Stop being so damn guilt-riddled and rather be kind to yourself, mom. They’re ok and so are you.

Aiden bath



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