‘I want to tear myself in half’ One working mum’s open letter to her daughter on ‘parental guilt’

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  • In a recent study conducted by GoodtoKnow, we found that a massive 68% of mums feel guilty on a daily basis.

    Although shocking, when you consider the sheer amount of work and every day pressure that comes with being a mum today it’s really no surprise that so many of you feel pangs of the dreaded mum guilt so often.

    One mum who totally understands how this feels is Racheale – mum of three and blogger at Part Time Working Mummy. Here, she reveals the guilt she feels about being a working mum in an open letter to her daughter.

    Dear Tallulah,

    I write a lot, it is something I enjoy, you will know this now you are grown up as I have written many letters to you and your sisters for you to open when I think the time is right for you to read them.

    Tonight my heart is hurting, because yours is.

    You came home from school yesterday excited about an open day on Thursday, where mums and dads have been invited into school to view their children’s work. You handed me the invite and begged me to come along.

    I couldn’t. I couldn’t go because I have to work, I need to use my remaining annual leave need to cover your childcare in the holidays. Although my bosses are understanding, I have asked so many times to swap days and hours, to leave early or come in late, that this is no longer an option for me.

    Tonight you came home from gymnastics excited about an upcoming competition, you handed me the invite and asked me to promise I would be there. I can’t – right now I cannot make you that promise.

    You see one year ago today I wrote a post which I sent to an anonymous site. The post was about another mummy who I watched walk across the Shaldon Bridge every day, who I wanted to be just like. She was a mummy who seemed to put her babies above and before anything. As I was driving to work, I watched her walk them to school and pick them up every day. She held their hands across the traffic lights and kissed their foreheads at the school gate. Because of that mummy I reduced my hours to be part-time and thanked her in that post. That post went viral – this is something you will be familiar with by now.

    From that post I set up a page called Part Time Working Mummy. I have no idea what will be of that page, or Facebook, or even the internet by the time you read this letter, but let me tell you what is happening right now because of that post and this page.

    That post was written because I chose to work less hours. But because of that, and what has happened since, I now work more than I ever have. You see, this page I have started is now helping mums and dads and babies all over the world.

    I can’t stop doing this, because these people need me. In the past six months I have helped so many babies – beautiful babies like you and your brothers and sisters escape the most horrific situations. Situations where they are beaten and abused in ways I hope you will never have to understand. This month alone I have got two women into refuge, I have helped a mum of three small babies who was seriously self-harming take herself into hospital and agree to stay as a voluntary in-patient to get the medical treatment she desperately needs.

    And I post about this in order to help others in similar situations realise that they are not alone, and this in turn means I’m busier.

    I want to tear myself in half so that I can continue helping the people that need me and campaigning for things I believe in but I also know I need to attend your school and club events. I know you are left upset when I say I can’t come and Nan, Josh or Auntie Leisa are there in my place.

    I can only hope in time that you realise that as much as the lady on the Shaldon Bridge puts her children first by walking them to school every day, I am also trying to put you first by working hard to make this world we live in a better place, so babies like you have a safer future ahead.

    I will try and get to your next open day, and be at your next gym competition, and I can only hope that one day you read this letter and it helps you understand why I had to miss some of the moments you really wanted me to experience with you, and see it was all for the right reasons.

    All my love always Mummy xxx

    Part Time Working Mummy’s ‘People’s Choice for Unsung Hero’ award is part of the 2017 Towergate Care Awards, which recognise and reward those who go above and beyond in the care industry.

    Have you ever been effected by mum guilt? What makes you feel guilty the most? Let us know in the comments below