I’ve wanted to write a post about mom guilt for a while now, but I’m met with hesitation every time I sit down and try to write something meaningful on the subject. The thing is, I have an overwhelming amount of mom guilt, but a dry well of solutions on how to overcome it.
I guess I have had mom guilt since the day I learned I was pregnant with Maddy. I felt guilty for becoming a mother at a young age. I didn’t have the career or wealth of adult wisdom I felt one should have in order to be a good parent. I felt mom guilt for being a full-time student when she was a baby/toddler/actual kid because my attention was divided. I felt mom guilt when I worked full-time and was unable to attend all the school events. And now I feel mom guilt for having another baby and my attention being divided even more. And those are just the big players.
And then there are the small ones. Mom guilt over not buying that toy in Target she wanted and threw a fit over but I yelled at her for being a brat. Despite teaching her a valuable life lesson that you can’t always get what you want, I got mom guilt because I lost my shit and yelled. Guilt over getting McDonalds twice in one week because I didn’t feel like cooking. Guilt over living in a small apartment in a city I love but she doesn’t have more space. Guilt over not having a newer car because we just simply can’t afford that kind of car payment right now. Guilt over not having a cleaner house and passing on that messy gene that I can’t seem to shake no matter how hard I try and become an organized person. Guilt over not playing a zillionth game of Candy Land because that game sucks and I am bored of it. Guilt over not scheduling more play dates because I have an irrational fear that other moms don’t like me because I am younger than they are and not as “mom-ish”. Guilt over sending her to after-school three days a week so I can get shit done and she can play with other kids and do fun activities. Guilt over yelling at her more than I want to, on any given day. Guilt over her being too wild and silly because other kids are more even-tempered and I get embarrassed, when I truly love that part of her personality but I feel like others don’t (and this is when I need to take my own fucking advice and say WHO THE FUCK CARES LET HER BE WHO SHE IS AND STOP TRYING TO CHANGE WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT HER). Guilt over not exclusively breastfeeding Jack for as long as I did with Maddy and thinking that makes me less of a mother. The list is endless, if you couldn’t tell.
And the worst part is, is that I give myself no breaks. I refuse to accept this is a normal piece of motherhood and that all moms act like I do and feel similar to how I feel. I only think “good moms” are the ones at the playground who aren’t yelling at their kid in public. But I have no fucking idea what they are like behind closed doors, and theres a really good chance they are just like me.
I’m a spiritual person and I will pray for patience on a daily basis. But those prayers aren’t always answered/I don’t always choose to take a breath and execute the way I want to. I read articles on “mindful parenting”, but I get bored a paragraph into the essay because I feel its unrealistic. I’m a total Catch-22; I want so badly to be a patient, loving, and kind mother but I don’t actually want to fight the good fight and do the work to get there.
I have no solutions to the mom guilt. All I’ve learned is that I have good days and bad days, and I try and duplicate what I’ve done on the good days so I can have more of them. What I’ve learned is that my kid is the happiest when I do things she likes: going to the park, playing with friends, watching a movie with me (instead of me putting a movie on and then messing around on my phone), when I actually sit on the floor and play with her. Really simple stuff, nothing too extraordinary. It’s those days, the simplest days, when she is happiest and therefore I am happiest to be a mom. The days when I have my own agenda are the worst ones, and the ones I often end up yelling the most. Those are the days when I go to bed feeling sick to my stomach with mom guilt and just hoping tomorrow will be better.
So I really wrote this post to share my own experience, rather than share and then advise others. I have no advice. I am actively seeking advice from other moms who feel like I do but have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. Motherhood is so fucking hard and I don’t really think it gets easier as time goes on, I think we just learn from our mistakes and try and not make as many of them. At least thats what I’m hoping.