Guilt and worry, worry and guilt…

worrylines2Worry lines. Mama’s going to bill you later, baby. [Also, I do like the way this picture makes it look like I'm snooping at you over the top of your computer screen...]

Yesterday, the brilliant Josie at Oh You Pretty Things pointed me in the direction of a Daily Mail story.

I’d never ordinarily follow a link but she usually seems to me to have great instincts about the important stuff so I made an exception.

The gist: a study of 2,000 mothers found that 90% feel guilty about their parenting, with a whopping fifth of us feeling wracked with guilt all the time.

The second most common source of worry for mothers (after not being able to spend enough time with our kids)? Not being able to afford everything that they want.

There’s more. The Annual Family Finances report by Aviva, fresh off the printing presses this morning, finds that 52% of families feel under pressure to spend beyond their means and it gets harder, clearly, as kids get older. So yeah… hi there school years, I am so not looking forward to you.

I am horribly, teeth chatteringly, stomach churningly susceptible to parental guilt. But look, ladies! We are not responsible for the state of the global economy. We cannot, single handedly, transform our family’s finances in the face of world-wide pressures that weigh particularly heavily on mothers.

IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT, you can’t control it and so the fuck-up’s not yours to feel guilty about it.

One thing in our power? How much we care about our kids, obviously. It’s a terrible cliche but it’s the god honest truth: the single most important thing kids need, whatever our income, is for their parents to care about them and love them.

So here’s the paradox: if you care enough to be worried that you’re not doing a good enough job then you are, by definition, DOING A BRILLIANT JOB.

This blog is NOT about lecturing you, making you feel bad about your choices or boasting about mine. Because lord knows I don’t have the answers. It’s just somewhere to come clean about the questions I’ve got, the mistakes I make (maaaaaaaaany) and the people (professionals and the real experts: parents) who chime in to better inform me along the way.

So here’s to all us worriers: whether you’re cutting back on spending by choice or by necessity, or prefer to spend on your kids and think this project’s nuts… Whatever your choice: high fives all round. In my imperfect opinion, YOU’RE DOING GREAT.