I have been on extended maternity leave the last 4 months and I have learnt a lot of things about myself and about parents in general , the main lesson I have learnt is that we are insanely hard on ourselves when it comes to parenting and the home . I have gone back to work at 8 months and 6 months with the older kids and had huge guilt when it came to working outside the home , waking them early , leaving them with my mother , missing some of their firsts , not spending time with them , house work not being done and everything being rushed in the evenings . You have this idea in your mind that if you were at home full time then things would be more organised ( to some degree they are ! ) , you would be the fun mom with loads of time for fun activities , what you do not factor in is the addition of 2 or more kids , school runs , activities and general chaos that surrounds small children !! I love being at home with the kids but I will never say that it is easy , you are constantly on the go , needed , touched , climbed on , feeding , struggling to get naps in , in / out of the car and that is only the kids stuff ! The guilt that I never expected ( because less face it .. I am no Mrs Hinch ! ) is the guilt over not getting house work finished or even started , the guilt I place on myself for everything to be 100% perfect and that the feeling that I should have it all together because I am at home all day . I mean you see all the memes about laundry being never ending and then you see the snide comments that say well you could get it done if your at home all day …. the pressure we put on ourselves is compounded by the pressure that society as a whole places on the person who stays at home , though I have a feeling this pressure is put on women by women . It can , at times , feel like a never ending battle , we are always feeling guilty about something, fighting daily battles with ourselves and generally being way to hard on ourselves ! I have started to tell myself that it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of life whether all beds were dressed before 10 am or that you did 4 loads of laundry and had an empty basket , what does matter is that we do the best we can , are there for our families and more importantly we are there for ourselves , because if we do not mind ourselves then we sure as hell can not mind any one else !