Columnists

Parental guilt can be an uphill struggle

Marie Louise admits she suffers from debilitating parental guilt - from vaccinations to not allowing too many sweets - it can be a struggle
Marie Louise McConville

I've always been a terrible one for guilt.

From leaving my car parked in the sunshine for too long - at risk of fading - to not FULLY charging my phone in case there is a full-scale family emergency - the things I feel guilty about really can be ridiculous.

I'm not really sure where it comes from but all of my life, I've been a prisoner of guilt.

I remember when I was young, I would always be home in time for curfew because otherwise I would feel guilty that I would worry my parents.

Even during street games, if there was an odd number for the teams, I would always volunteer to sit out because I didn't want one team to be bigger than the other.

And don't even get me started about the guilt I've felt since becoming a parent - the levels have just soared.

I feel guilty when I allow them sweets and when I don't and also when I do allow them to stay up later than usual and when I don't.

However, apart from the all-consuming working mother guilt, which just kills me, especially in the mornings when I'm leaving for work, there's only one other main aspect to this mother-gig that just floors me with guilt - vaccinations.

I absolutely detest taking my kids for jabs.

Yes, I know in the long run they are providing protection but all the having to hold them tight to allow the jab to be administered, just kills me.

I spend the weeks leading up to jabs filled with anxiety and panic

Most recently, I had to take Abbie for her pre-school vaccinations.

My pre-guilt was so bad that I took the day off work and took her for a treat day - bowling and lunch.

It was a lovely day until we arrived at the doctors.

Abbie knew right away and she gave me `the look' that said `Why are you letting this woman hurt me?'.

Afterwards, I took her to the cinema to try and ease my guilt.

And, when I got home later, I allowed Abbie and James to have ice-cream because I felt like a terrible mother.

The following day, they were both treated to a new toy when we were out shopping - because I still felt bad about the jabs.

Honestly, this is killing me but I just can't seem to shake this guilt and even if I did, I know I'd feel guilty for not feeling guilty.

I think I need help.

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Fair play to Meghan Markle.

I usually have zero interest in the British royal family but from the glimpse I caught of the wedding last weekend, I was really impressed with her.

Her dress wasn't over the top, she was very classy and she even broke with protocol at the reception by giving a speech, proclaiming she is "proud" to be a feminist.

I'm also delighted to learn the couple's first dance was to Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody and candyfloss and 'dirty burgers' featured on the menu while beer pong was among the entertainment.

Maybe she's the breath of fresh air this usually stuffy family needs.

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