Mum guilt, dad guilt or parent guilt, whichever bracket you fall in this is relevant.
I hear a lot around mums feeling guilty and the phrase #MumGuilt is extremely popular. Well I’m a dad and I feel the dad equivalent #DadGuilt almost daily.
Speaking from what is my reality, it’s the working from home factor where this dad guilt kicks in the most. I work from home full time and by far the most difficult thing to do is to find where to fit in the full time hours during each 24 hour day we’re given.
There’s not a chance I could sit down at my desk and clock in at 9am then smash it through til 5pm, clocking off ready to have tea and some play time with the kid before settling down for the evening. For a start my job just isn’t a 9-5 kinda thing but, the biggest obstacle I face is that home educating Corben means he’s also around all day every day.
We have to find time to work full time, home educate and do normal life all within a 24 hour time slot, that’s before we consider getting in some actual sleep!
The guilt for me really kicks in when he’s done his education for the day and now is in full playtime mode. When in full playtime mode he obviously zero’s in for a play partner. It’s sometimes Donetta and sometimes me. It’s usually me at the worst possible times. He’ll really want to have a blast on Batman on the PlayStation and that’s definitely a job for me rather than Donetta, we’re both really into Batman and love playing it together. The problem is that it feel like it’s always right when I have to get something done. I’ll have client work to complete or be half way through something that really needs to be finished off.
‘I’ve just got to get on with some busy work mate and then I’ll play after’.
That sentence kills me inside every single time it spews from my mouth, I hate it. Of course I want to play Batman, I mean who chooses work over playing Batman Arkham City on the PlayStation!
I can’t help but think that in his mind I’m sat right there and willingly choosing to do something more important than spending time with him. Now as adults we know that’s not the case at all, I have to do some work otherwise there would be no Batman game or PlayStation. To him though, he’s only 5 and whilst he knows mummy and daddy have to do work he doesn’t really understand why.
I’m not saying that being a parent that goes off to work to do a 9-5 would be any easier, I’d guess you feel guilty leaving them in a morning and not being there all day, but being here and still not being available to play feels awful.
On the bright side we do get to spend more time with him than the average parent would. Our decisions to work from home and to home educate him mean that we’re together most of the day, most days and that’s exactly why we’ve made these certain life choices. That however doesn’t stop me feeling shit every time I have to explain that I can’t play for the next few hours because I have to work.
I know parent guilt forms in many different ways, guilty about using a babysitter for a much needed break, about feeding them the right foods all the time and/or throwing them an iPad after a stressful day just for 5 minutes peace and quiet. Many of these things torment our parent brains and we can send ourselves crazy over it but please don’t.
This is how parent guilt forms in my life but I know that it’s all for the greater good. I’m trying my hardest to give him the best of all worlds and as long as you can lay your head on the pillow at night and know that you’ve tried your best that day, you’re winning.
Please do get in touch and let me know about what drives the parent guilt for you, let’s talk about it and support each other. Drop me a comment below or DM me on Instagram @davidanddonetta
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