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Yep, it’s all your fault

When you become a mother, there are a few things that you have to get used to.

Off the top of my head: Smelling like a milky dish cloth. Finding smears of yellow poo on your hands almost an hour after you changed the baby. And most importantly: Everything being your fault.

Pretty much from the moment you fall pregnant, you get used to the idea of being to blame for everything.

Baby growing too fast? It’s probably what you’re eating. Baby not growing fast enough? Maybe you’re doing too much exercise.

Then you go to have the baby. Labour doesn’t progress? It’s probably because you were stressed. Where were your essential oils and Enya?

You think that’s bad but then it really begins. Your baby isn’t sleeping or is suffering from colic? It must be because you’ve eaten something that’s got into your breast milk and interfered with your child’s stomach. How dare you eat what you like.

You haven’t got enough of a milk supply to keep up with your baby? Obviously you’re not feeding often enough or eating enough almonds or drinking enough nursing tea or protein shakes or whatever else anyone can think of.

When they’re toddlers throwing tantrums or looking for attention it’s because mum is spending too much time working, or is too busy with a new baby, or – here’s where you really can’t win – is too attentive and isn’t giving the child space to grow.

When they won’t go to bed at night it’s because you’re too firm, or too gentle, or you haven’t got them into a good routine or you’ve fed them the wrong type of carbohydrate for dinner and now they can’t digest it all before they are meant to be asleep.

If they’re having trouble using the toilet it’s because you rushed them and they weren’t ready or you waited too long and missed the magic window.

Maybe looking for ways to blame yourself is just a part of being a mother. It  would seem so judging by the sheer numbers of us happily doing it.

But if we’re going to do that, we should at least take some of the credit, too. The same women who beat themselves up because “they” are doing something wrong and causing their baby strife are usually the same ones who are quick to deflect any suggestion that they have got it right when things are going smoothly.

So next time someone compliments you on your baby, brush off the urge to reply with something like “she’s such a good baby, I’m so lucky”. Instead try out something like: “Yeah, I did that.” After all, you’ve earned it.