Letting the team down :: Parenting guilt at it’s worst.

Letting the team down, parenting guilt at it's worst via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I often look at Reuben and feel like I’m failing him. Toby is still young enough that any commitments for him are a bit flighty, and it isn’t really essential that certain things are done, but with Roo, it is. He has reading homework which needs to be done or he won’t get to have a go on the homework game at school – something that is designed to help the kids think of homework in a fun and positive way. He has to be at school for a specific time in the morning – it doesn’t matter if his sister poops on the way, or if his brother falls over, school have a time for when he should be there, and the responsibility falls to us to ensure he gets there on time. Even down to bedtime, he should be off to bed at a reasonable time so he isn’t a grumpy bum the next day.

The problem is, some of these commitments become insanely hard with more than one child, and I feel an intense guilt at times that I struggle with these basic parenting things.

On an evening, we get home and I sort out dinner while the boys play, then it’s time to eat, followed by a bath and then there is an hour in which to do homework or have some TV time and relax. I put Edith to bed and Daddy does reading with Roo most nights, but when it comes to a regular bedtime, that has been really disrupted of late because Edith is so damned difficult to put to bed. The kids refuse to sleep for Daddy, of course they go eventually, but they think of Daddy as a play friend and don’t want to sleep for him. Partly we’ve made this rod for our own backs by making it so that I always put the boys to bed, but I do feel insanely guilty that because I CHOSE to have another baby things have changed for the babies I already have.

In a way it’s not just Reuben either. Edith has never painted in her life and she is coming up to 10 months old in a few days. We haven’t done hand prints (or maybe we did once – see I can’t even remember!!) and we haven’t done much by way of sensory learning. Toby never really had that problem because he was so close in age to Roo that he was able to paint with him, bake with him and do things with him over time. I have pictures of the boys on my kitchen floor covered in paint whilst paint gets splattered over a paper covered floor like mini Da Vinci’s with a phobia of cleanliness. Will Edith look back and wondered why I don’t have any pictures of her doing that at such a young age?

Maybe it’s just me, I just feel like I’m slowly but surely letting the team down – with work, with the kids. Do you ever feel that way? A lot of people tell me I put too much pressure on myself and that my expectations are too high, but I think I have had such positive role models in my life, such as my own mum who was a single mother and full time nurse, I just feel like I should be able to โ€˜get on with itโ€™ more.

How do you make yourself feel like you are ‘enough’? It’s a tough one, I guess I just have to hope that the kids will grow up to feel that I was enough, and I really hope they know how much I love them.

H x


  1. Avatar April 21, 2017 / 2:30 pm

    I’ve just written about parent fails too, yesterday in fact! why do we do it to ourselves? Hope you’re feeling better looking back on this post from the past…any words of inspiration 18mths on?

  2. Avatar April 21, 2017 / 2:30 pm

    I’ve just written about parent fails too, yesterday in fact! why do we do it to ourselves? Hope you’re feeling better looking back on this post from the past…any words of inspiration 18mths on?

  3. Avatar January 31, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    It gets even worse as they get older ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Avatar
    November 24, 2015 / 12:35 am

    I am so with you on this one!!!! I have three young kids (7,4 and almost 2(don’t ask me his exact age in months….he’s my third!!!!)) All boys!!!! My husband and I both work full-time and sometimes I feel like our weeks go by in a frenzy of activity! I am constantly juggling!!!! Work, cooking, laundry, homeworks, kids hobbies, family……and don’t even mention housework!!!! The number of people who tell me that they don’t know how I do it…..and honestly I ask myself that same question daily!!!! But we do…..and I remind myself that this is a passing phase…..sometime we will look back and remember all the craziness and want just half an hour of it!!!! I look at my youngest and then I look at friends who have one child the same age and I remember what life was like with one. The special things that we did and then the dreaded guilt kicks in!!!! But stop! My baby is a happy chappy!!!! He loves life! He loves his brothers! He loves his family!!!! And we love him!!!! We are family…..whatever yours looks like…..and family love each other, family support each other, family laugh together and family cry together. You are doing a great job. Your kiddies and the smiles on their faces reflect the love that you have for each other.

    • Harriet November 24, 2015 / 10:34 am

      Oh thank you Linda, what a lovely comment! It is a case of learning to take stock, step back and chill out. Another reader challenged me on Facebook to step back and write a list of the things I DO achieve as a mummy, and ignore what I don’t for 48 hours. I’m going to give it a go, I think it could be a wonderful way to try and remind myself that I’m maybe not failing altogether. H x

  5. Avatar
    November 23, 2015 / 10:46 pm

    I feel the same everyday! It’s the worst feeling. With social media and other mums near-by, I just feel everyones else has it together better than me. ๐Ÿ™

    • Harriet November 24, 2015 / 10:32 am

      Exactly. I guess the trick is to learn not to compare ourselves to each other? Still, I feel like that is nigh impossible when we live in a society where comparison is king. sigh. x

  6. Avatar
    November 22, 2015 / 8:44 am

    Sounds underwhelmingly normal to me. In a big family, when parents work, it’s all about compromise, team work and give and take. You are teaching them essential skills in how to get through life. Having mom do everything for them seamlessly is a little unrealistic for later on. Try and focus on the benefits, all the advantages multiple children bring to a family over having a single child. I couldn’t imagine having one, (I have 3 like yours). Your house is brimming with love, no one could ask for more!

    • Harriet November 23, 2015 / 10:35 am

      Thank you Tem, I have been told the same thing on social media, and I agree it wouldn’t set a good precedent for their future and their ability to function as responsible adults if I did everything for them! I really appreciate your lovely comment, its always nice to hear the thoughts of others in similar situations – I’ll be remembering your words when I feel like I’m letting the side down in this parenting lark ๐Ÿ™‚ x

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