What is ‘Bad Mother Syndrome’, you may ask? For clarity’s sake and so that we are on the same page, “Bad Mother Syndrome means when a mother feels that she is a bad mother because of the choices she makes for her kids, which makes her feel selfish and guilt-ridden.”
And mind you, it has as much to do with others judging you for your choices as much it has to do with your own unreasonable expectations from yourself.
Trust me; this syndrome is too common in new mothers. Happens to me all the time! It is peppered into conversations I have with mommy-friends.
Here is a list of some situations when the syndrome can hit you (not all experiences are my own; otherwise I would be a super-bad mother):
- When you choose bottle over breastfeeding for your baby (in normal circumstances)
- When you use diapers on a newborn baby
- When you buy ready-made baby food over making it at home
- When you don’t give your baby enough number of massages in a day
- When you can’t soothe your crying baby
- When you fail to distinguish if the baby is hungry or tired or uncomfortable
- When your baby cries at the top of her lungs in a public place
- When she does not ‘behave’ at a restaurant or a theatre
- When your child hits another, without any provocation; and worse, when the other child intended just to coochie-coo your little one
- When you leave your baby at a daycare or with a nanny to go back to work
- When your child falls sick too often
- When you start any kind of training too early or too late by accepted standards – sleep training, food training, potty training to name a few
- When you fail to make sense of your child’s gibberish
- When you don’t remember the exact dates/months of her developmental milestones
- When you don’t give her enough outdoor play or exposure to sun
- When you don’t click enough pictures
- When you are overwhelmed and impatient with small things like clearing the toys or making the bed or mopping the water spilled everywhere… over and over again
- When your little one has a nasty fall even if you were watching her all the time
- When her normal bed time at night is 12 am
- When she is not eating enough
- When you feel or say that ‘you need a break’
- When she has not learnt her ABCD or words by generally accepted age
- When she is allowed to eat junk food or chocolates
- When you let your child watch TV or latest songs (even worse, item songs) while you finish your chores
- When you choose to plan your day around what you want to do rather than your child, for once
So, does it happen to you too? This ‘Bad Mother’ is all ears!
Reema Sahay is a stay-at-home mom who spends her days running after her very curious toddler, ‘the star’, and catching up on books when he naps. She writes about charms and challenges of life at Pen Paper and shares her passion for books at Recommend Books. She sometimes feels that her 5.5 years stint in Marketing Communication was in another life.