For those unfamiliar with the term, “mum guilt” refers to the relentless and pervasive feeling of never being able to do enough for your kids or being quite as involved as you’d like, especially during their formative years.
To encapsulate that feeling, “mum guilt” entered the lexicon – and in the new interview, Kate revealed that not even she’s immune to it.
When podcast host Giovanna Fletcher asked Duchess Catherine if she’d experienced mum guilt, the royal instantly responded, “Yep, all the time.
“And anyone who doesn’t as a mother is actually lying!
“It’s a constant challenge – you hear it time and time again from mums, even mums who aren’t necessarily working and aren’t pulled in the directions of having to juggle their work life and family life.”
When the host voiced the view that it’s common for mothers to always “feel guilty” about something they should be doing for their kids, Kate agreed, adding: “And always sort of questioning your own decisions and your own judgements and things like that, and I think that starts from the moment you have a baby.”
No doubt contributing to Kate’s own feelings of guilt is the fact she’s recently taken on a much more prominent role within the royal family. Royal author Phil Dampier notes that there’s been an increasing level of responsibility placed on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, a result of a combination of the Queen’s ill health as well as a dearth of senior royals.
“[Kate] and William are desperately needed at the front line of royal duties now that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have left, Prince Andrew is in disgrace and the Queen is not in the best of health,” Phil observes.
“Kate knows that she and William are having to do more and more, especially big, staged events like Remembrance Day and investitures, the important jobs of state.”
The Cambridges have embraced their new, increased workload with vigour and enthusiasm, looking every inch the future king and queen.
However, the flip side is that this increased involvement from Kate and William inevitably equates to more time spent apart from their own young family. And herein lies the source of Kate’s constant internal struggle.
Even on the day she recorded the podcast, Kate admitted she’d endured one of countless mum-guilt moments on the way to the interview.
“You know, even this morning… George and Charlotte were like, ‘Mummy, how could you possibly not be dropping us off at school this morning?’,” she explained.
The personal revelation comes on the back of a whirlwind period for William and Kate, who have travelled to the four corners of the kingdom promoting everything from environmental initiatives, such as the Earthshot Prize, to Kate’s own early childhood development survey, “5 Big Questions on the Under-Fives”. The Cambridges even joined Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, for a rare joint outing while touring a war services facility.
So how can Kate sustain this increased royal engagement workload, without the constant struggle of feeling like she’s not there for her kids? In all honesty, it’s an endless question for any parent and one that most likely has no definitive answer.
But royal watcher Phil says if you look closely at Kate and William’s broader lifestyle choices, they offer an insight into how the family has chosen to manage the situation and do what’s best by the children – despite the enormity of their highly demanding royal roles.
“Kate has proved to be a fantastic mum and she loves giving her three children the most normal possible childhood at Anmer Hall in Norfolk, where they can go to the beach and walk in the woods undisturbed,” Phil explains.
“That’s one reason why at the moment I think she would be reluctant to move to Windsor Castle where they would be living more in the spotlight.”
WATCH: Princess Charlotte flicks her hair just like mum Kate (story continues below)
Leaning heavily on her own parents is another way Kate juggles her royal responsibilities, which has the added bonus of cementing important familial bonds between her children and their maternal grandparents.
“[Kate] is lucky that she is well supported by her own parents,” Phil says.
“Carole Middleton is very close to her grandchildren, particularly George.
“This helps Kate to juggle being a mother with her royal duties – and at the moment I think she has the balance just about right for the benefit of all.”
While there’s no doubt that Kate’s responsibilities are mounting significantly, the central theme of her work commitment centres on the importance of nurturing a child during those first five years of their life. Phil notes that it’s something Kate will personally never lose sight of when it comes to prioritising her own children – regardless of the demands of royal life.
“[Kate] is increasingly looking like a queen in waiting, but her priority will always be her children and giving them a stable home background.”
For more, pick up a copy of New Idea Royals Monthly. On sale now.