It’s a feeling some mothers have but none like to verbalize for the fear of being judged.
Regret. Regret of not doing more with life prior to kids. Regret of becoming a mother too soon. Regret of becoming a mother when our own finances were not in order. Or just the regret of becoming a mother altogether.
I am the last person to judge anyone who says this – because mothers don’t need any more judgement in their life. I myself might give in to this feeling from time to time. I have a toddler whose preferred method of communication is crying at the top of his lungs. Would you like to eat? WAAAH! Oh you want to watch Baby Shark video, let me put it on for you. WAAAAAH!!! I listen to more crying in a day than Kate Gosselin would in a week. So excuse me if I feel overwhelmed with all that noise and remember a life that was much easier prior to kids.
I asked a simple question in one of the Mom groups I am in – have any of you ever felt mom regret? The response was amazing – I couldn’t believe that so many other moms felt regret too!
I guess this feeling comes at a point when we are feeling low and beaten. For me it’s when simple everyday tasks seem so difficult like bathing them, getting them to eat any food, changing their nappy or . My older son kicks and screams for these tasks every single time and has been since birth. It all becomes too much when you have to do this day in and day out, and I know mothers who have extra-challenging children would agree with me. Forget the physical, the mental stress is something real.
That’s the point when I start reminiscing about random things, “remember the time we had dinner at Fondue House in Luzern, Switzerland? We couldn’t stand straight and stumbled our way to our hotel! What a night!” How I wish I get to go back to that place, that night, that time I wish I cherished a little more. I have said good-bye to fondue for a good few years now because what could be safer than 2 little kids near boiling oil and cheese in a small cramped restaurant? I also remember the smell of my hostel room back when I was in University.. oh sweet smell of freedom. Freedom which I have now lost for many years to come.
I have no doubt that us mothers who feel some regret in some way love our children to the stars and back. There is no question of love here. The question is how we are being supported by the people around us, and what are we doing ourselves to help the situation.
Firstly, we want our efforts to be acknowledged by our partners. Mothers need to hear it from their other halves – “you are doing a fantastic job raising our kids” or “I can see how much all this daily drama is affecting you”. Whatever the words are, mommies want to hear them. We love feeling appreciated, because it gives validity to the situation we are in and our feelings of regret may make way for softer feelings.
Secondly, mothers are not meant to raise their children alone. Husbands or partners are meant to play a significant role in this. When it all gets too much, my husband tells me to go to the shops and have coffee and cool down while he finishes the remaining tasks of the day like bathing the kids or food prep for the kids. It’s something not all moms are good at but I think it is an essential skill to keep your mental balance in check – asking for help. I have asked for help from my close friends and family when I start getting feelings of regret because I just need a break from the ruckus. And I tell you what, it works.
Thirdly, be aware of how you are currently supporting your mental health. Do you attend any meditation classes? Let me tell you, this is such a powerful technique. Just being silent and alone in your mind. You can do this at home for just 15 minutes in the morning, or anytime in the day you feel that you are becoming overwhelmed or regretful. Just sit quietly with your legs folded, palms on your knees, sit up straight, close your eyes and release your muscles. Do not think of any thoughts – push them back. Just concentrate of each breath. You may use a timer if you like to make sure you keep to your time. Just 15 minutes of this self-induced bliss works too well on your mind and body.
Fourthly, join a support group in your local area, or online whatever suits you. A safe place where you can blurt out your feelings without feeling like you are being watched. The power of a mothers’ support group is so effective – at least has been for me. I am involved in three online groups and one in my local area. I love sharing my stories and listening to others in these groups. I feel as though I have shared my difficulties with others and when I go home with a refreshed mind, the difficulties seem smaller than they actually are.
I don’t believe there is anything wrong in feeling regret for becoming a mother – you cannot stop feelings and it is good to acknowledge them. But you can surely help yourself by directing your emotions away from this feeling. If you are a mom with some regret, try the above four tips that have helped me.
There is no shame in regret, but it’s a real shame if you don’t do something to help change it.