My Motherhood by Louise Emma Clarke

I read books from cover to cover, attended a course of antenatal classes, and sat with other mums hungrily swallowing up any advice they could offer. But there was one part of motherhood I was completely unprepared for – the guilt.



I loved this little person with all my might, but I wanted to do everything right by him – and the crossroads I kept meeting were totally unexpected. Dummy or no dummy? Breastmilk or formula? TV or no TV? Back to work or stay-at-home Mum?



That last decision was the one that caused the most guilt – and it was something I had never reflected on before bringing a little person into the world. I had no idea that this army of working mums left the house every day feeling such guilt as they said goodbye to their children in their marmite-streaked pyjamas – nor that stay-at-home mums tormented themselves over whether they were holding their child back by keeping them away from daycare or nursery. It quickly became apparent that there was no right decision; we had to decide for ourselves and live with it.



I chose to go half-and-half, spending the morning at my desk while my son was at nursery – and the afternoons totally dedicated to him. It was the perfect compromise, but did the guilt end there? Of course not – I sat at my desk worrying about whether he was OK at nursery and the afternoons worrying about whether I should be out and about stimulating him with various excursions and activities (when he probably wanted to do nothing but watch Peppa Pig and munch on biscuits).



It’s all worth it of course and I wouldn’t change my new title of ‘mummy’ for the world. In fact, we’ll be adding to our brood in a matter of weeks, wherein the cycle of guilt will begin once again. And you know what? I can’t wait. I now realise these decisions are what life is all about.



Louise Emma Clarke is a freelance writer and Founding Editor of She is mama to Stanley, 21 months, and is 39 weeks pregnant with her second baby.

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