Mom guilt is like Aunt Flo, it comes and goes and sometimes it’s a little more intense than others, but we all survive, right? Sorry, but that is the best way I could describe it. It’s a feeling us moms get from time to time — sometimes more than once a day. I know it very well and its been so challenging to overcome. It’s a feeling that we are not doing enough for our kids and a fear that our actions today may adversely effect them when they get older. No mom wants their child to grow up feeling like they weren’t loved or that they needed more. I think that’s why we put such pressure on ourselves to be the best moms we can be. Or what society thinks is the best mom and mommy-shammers don’t make it any easier on us. The mom’s who are quick to judge you and comment on social media on a cute picture of your baby you intended to share with friends and family. I remember when Olivia was 18-months-old, she broke her arm while in the care of others. An accident I was reluctant to share with the world. And I remember second-guessing posting a picture of her singing because I wasn’t sure what people would think of her cute, pink cast. Would they judge me? Would they think I failed as mother? I also feel that us moms try to fit this mold that, let’s face it, most us don’t fit into. I for one, cannot entertain my child 24 hours a day. And yes, I tried to make homemade baby food, but only lasted about a week until I gave in to those convenient baby pouches at the grocery store. And yes, sometimes my kids get on my last nerve and I’ll break and yell at them. Sure I feel guilty afterward, but I do not harbor on those feelings for too long. Once I’ve cooled down, I’ll give them a big hug, tell them I love them and keep it moving.
In my most recent bout of mom guilt, I had an event that I had been planning on attending for over a month. I even scheduled myself to be off from work that day just to make it happen. It was during the day, from about noon until 6pm. So I had everything worked out. My MIL would watch the girls and my husband would be home from work around 1pm so he would take over from there. I went to my event and was really happy to be there. Then at about 2, there was a break so I decided to grab a late lunch with my mom who joined me for the day. And, no lie, all I could think about was my girls and how I was here and they were at home. I work full-time so most days they are home while I slave at my 9-5. It sucks! Oh how I wish I could stay home with them. Just until they get into school. They’re only this little for such a short time that I feel like I’m missing out on so much when I’m gone.
Needless to say, the mom guilt was so overwhelming that I bolted as soon as we finished our lunch. I felt like here I was, having a good ‘ole time on my day off, when I should be at home with my kids. I can’t say I regretted leaving my event early, because when I got home, I felt whole again. But why does it have to be so cutthroat? Or at least feel like it? Mom guilt comes in so many forms, it’s hard think of a day when I’m not feeling less than. There’s been times when my house needs a good deep cleaning but I have both girls just jumping off the walls. So you know, easiest thing to do is put on the TV. Now, sometimes my cleaning marathons will go on for hours and when I finally notice, Olivia has gone through the whole first season of Scooby-Doo. I think back at the “recommendations” from our pediatrician about TV time. They recommend no more than an hour a day and I have far exceeded that recommendation. I’m pretty strict on the amount of time she spends on the tablet but for some reason, the time-limit rule doesn’t apply to TV.
I think that mom guilt is inevitable, but how you cope with it is what will get you through the day. Instead of dwelling on the feeling, be prepared and make some adjustments. If you go out for a girl’s night or a date with your partner, maybe set aside an hour before you leave with your kids to play, read books, watch their favorite TV show. That way you know you did your part to spend time with them. And maybe plan something fun with them the next morning like going to the park or going out for ice cream. If you feel guilt because you didn’t breastfeed or didn’t breastfeed for as long as you think you should have, rest assure in knowing that millions of people have survived and thrived on formula. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you human. We’re all built different and what works for one may not work for others. And that’s OK. So what if you gave your kids junk food on a Tuesday night after a long shift at work. Maybe on your next day off, whip up something wholesome and delicious! As long as your kids are fed, dressed and loved, they will be OK. They will still love you and your world will keep spinning. So go out and be the best mom version you can be. They will love you for it!