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21st May 2021

To the relative who made me feel bad for going on a night out as a new mum, mums need a break too

Melissa Carton

Mum shaming needs to get in the bin!

When I had my first child in 2012 I was 22-years-old.

I was also exhausted.

My boyfriend worked really long shifts during the week and on Sundays he did sports training.

So Saturday was my only day to have some kind of a break away from mammy duty.

It was a few hours for me to meet a friend or go to the hairdresser or even just go to the shops on my own (if you’re a parent you’ll know how much of a vacation that can be).

One Saturday a few weeks after having my son both my boyfriend and I were invited out for a couple of drinks for a friends birthday.

It had been the guts of a year since I’d been out since I hadn’t gone to any pubs while I was pregnant and I was really excited to get all dressed up and see my friends.

That was until some nasty remarks from a male relative of mine.

A female relative had agreed to babysit for us to go out and while dropping off my son a male relative who was also at her house inquired as to why I couldn’t look after my own child?

He went on to make nasty remarks about how I shouldn’t have had a child if I was just going to pass him off onto other people, implying that this was something I did all the time and not just a one off.

It really got to me and had me feeling guilty and like I should cancel my plans and take my son back from the babysitter.

The female relative, ignoring him took my baby’s overnight bag off me and told me to have a good time and that I deserved a night out.

The following day when I collected my son she told me that the other relative had no right to say what he said and that she would be happy to babysit for me whenever I needed it.

Even so, his words stuck with me for a long time and there were many nights out I turned down because I didn’t want people thinking I was a bad mother.

Now, in my 30s, with two children and knowing full well I’m a good mum I wish I could go back in time and tell him to get stuffed.

Mums NEED a break!

It doesn’t matter what age you are, it doesn’t matter if it’s for a night out or to have a couple of hours to yourself during the day, mums need a break.

No one has the right to make you feel bad for wanting to still be a person as well as a parent, and there should be no shame in needing some ‘me time’.

I wish younger me knew what I know now.

I wish she hadn’t doubted herself or felt guilty for having basic human needs.

People who shame mums who are trying their best are the worst and are actually the ones who should feel ashamed of themselves.

To all the mums out there, hear me out. If you need a break take a break because you can’t look after anyone else unless you look after yourself.