Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

Verdict: guilty

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we are here today to consider the case against Sam Candour. The charges are as follows:

1) That she often lets down friends because she cannot face leaving the flat or seeing people – this makes her feel guilty.

2) That sometimes she really doesn’t want to play with the children – this makes her feel guilty.

3) That she struggles with anxiety and finds it hard to talk to people offline, which is beginning to impact on her daughter’s social life – this makes her feel guilty.

4) That she isn’t the kind of mother she wants to be – this makes her feel guilty.

5) That she has a flat far more cluttered than it should be but rarely has the energy to tidy – this makes her feel guilty.

6) That her anxiety makes it impossible to work at the moment, meaning that money is very tight while her husband is unemployed – this makes her feel guilty.

7) That she is rarely unable to cope with any kind of stress without binging – this makes her feel guilty.

8) That her husband always has to pick up the parenting slack when she is too depressed, tired or overwhelmed to cope as a partnership – this makes her feel guilty.

9) That her children deserve a far better mother but won’t get one – this makes her feel guilty.

10) That she fights against the stigma surrounding mental illness but nonetheless feels that her own illness is a sign of weakness and a character flaw – this makes her feel guilty.

Evidence to support and prove these charges is contained both within the defendant’s own chaotic mind and her blog. The defendant has chosen to enter the only plea possible under the circumstances.

Sam Candour is GUILTY.

(This post was written as a contribution to a blog hop about guilt, hosted by PremMeditations).

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Comments on: "Verdict: guilty" (10)

  1. Yes definitely guilty, guilty of being human, along with the rest of us. Xxxxxx

  2. Verdict from the jury ….. Not guilty …, surviving and battling a debilitating illness and winning xxx tomorrow list your achievements …. Please xxx

  3. Claire SA said:

    Sounds like every other normal woman/mother to me. Evidence against the plea:
    1. Real friends know that time is short and hard to manage when you have children. You stay in touch the way you can – online & by phone. Once the children are bigger and are a little more independent, you’ll find your way out of the house again.
    2. Not every mother wants to play with their children all the time. If you did, you’d be in a mental asylum counting ducks. And not even real ones. Adult humans are not equipped to constantly live in a fantasy world where letters talk and plastic figures can drive cars.
    3. People? Urgh. Nasty creatures. So opinionated. They get offended every time you do something horrendous, like be honest with them about stuff. Much easier online. And DD’s social skills are fine – the other mums get what you’re going through cos they were there too.
    4. New for you – no teenager will ever think their mother was the mother they should have been. Any negative thoughts you have about your own parenting skills will be expanded upon tenfold when DD and DS hit 13, so you might as well enjoy getting away with sniggering when they walk into a wall now. The ideal of a supermum is ridiculously hard to obtain unless you have a nanny, a fairy godmother, several mice to sew your clothing, a handsome prince and maybe a dragon in the back garden. You’re never going to hit that target, so move it. Yep, pick it up and shove it back down into the real world where it’s attainable.
    5. Clutter is a part of life. For some people it’s a magazine left out pointing slightly out of north (oh, the shame!); for others it’s a narrow path between the piles of newspapers and magazines. Anything in between these two points is attainable and realistic. Yes, energy is required, but clean is better than tidy. Let’s face it, without Stepford or Von Trapp children, you’ll never have a tidy house until they leave for university. And that’s with a full functioning body and the world’s largest supply of vitamin B tablets.
    6. It’s not your fault DH is unemployed. It’s also not your fault that you can’t work. Blaming yourself gets absolutely nothing done. It’s not like you’re out buying Jimmy Choo shoes and then hiding the credit card bill while staring nervously at the electric meter trying to decide if a fridge or light is more important this month. You’re doing something about this element, so forget about it until the assessment thingy.
    7. Have to admit I know very little about bingeing. I assume it’s like any other form of stree-induced addiction – work out what triggers it, deal with that and the bingeing should go. Oh, if only life were that simple! Again, the assessment thingy should help out. The more you worry, the worse it’ll get. Try & remove the temptation, but don’t get mad with yourself when you turn out to be human after all and crack.
    8. Swings & roundabouts. You’ve been there for him, now he’s there for you. He’s seen you at your worst and stayed. Yes, I’m sure there are many other women around who are sane, slim, blonde, PhD educated, thick as two short planks, redheaded, overweight, neurotic, laid back etc etc etc. Guess what? He chose you. He loves you, and is going nowhere.
    9. See aforementioned section on the joy of teenagers. And as someone who’s lost her mum, you only get one. You are more precious to your children than you will ever know. Don’t wish someone else on them, as they won’t thank you for it.
    10. Any kind of mental illness is seen as a weakness. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change overnight. Most of us have come to see it as some strange and mysterious thing that can’t be understood because you can’t see it. This is such a deep and inbuilt belief that it is no surprise that many people with mental illnesses feel weak and flawed. After all, a physical illness makes you feel like that too. Quite frankly, it’s your illness. How you feel about it is your business. How you fight it is your battle. Bugger what the rest of the world thinks.
    Having considered the evidence above, I conclude that the defendant is a perfectly normal person with normal character flaws and strengths. In her defence, pressures and preconceptions from outside society have led to much of the self-esteem issues. I would argue that the defendant ignore the ‘perfect world’ that has been created in her head, with the completely unreachable targets and assumptions, and instead take a moment to realise that there are much smaller goals which can not only be achieved, but exceeded. An elephant is eaten one bite at a time. Move those goals, go step by step, and realise that actually you’re pretty fantastic.
    Verdict: not guilty.
    I rest my case.

  4. I hope you don’t really mean that..

  5. I get a lot of the same sort of guilt as you. It gets me nowhere though, and I find that actually, my daughter doesn’t much care if the house is a mess or we don’t get out of the house every day, or whatever else.
    I’m a firm believer that like with the whole “if you’re not worried you’re not good enough, then you’re probably not good enough” thing when it comes to parenting, there’s also a lot of truth in the idea that “if you don’t feel guilty, you probably should do.”
    All good parents constantly worry they’re not good enough, and feel guilty for every little thing they think they’ve not done well enough. It’s the ones who don’t worry, and don’t feel guilty at all, who are a problem!

    Cut yourself some slack!

  6. Detach from the guilt Sam and only do each day what works for you not what you ‘should’ do.

    Be the best mother you can be, we are all flawed that’s what makes us so diverse and interesting as human beings.

    Don’t trash talk yourself, reflect on everything good and wonderful about yourself, practice gratefullness and Be Happy!
    keep well,
    Trish

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