Mom guilt is the worst guilt in the world!
Reading a post about how moms should all stop feeling mom guilt makes me feel even more guilty that I still have it. Anyone else on that vicious cycle with me? Don’t worry, this is not another post simply telling you to stop the mom guilt.
I work full time at a company I’ve worked at for almost 10 years, doing a job I enjoy most days. I have an MBA I earned while pregnant and then parenting a newborn. Don’t ask me why we thought that was a good idea… In addition to feeling thankful for my husband (and others) who supported me, I should be proud. Really freaking proud of myself. Some days, I am. I feel some pride in what I’ve accomplished in my 28 years and hopeful about what may come.
At the same time, I often go down the rabbit hole of mom guilt, feeling like a terrible mother because I’m not home with my son full time.
I work full time partially for financial reasons (severe food allergies and the lack of insurance don’t mix well), but also don’t know if I could stay home with my son full time. I miss him like crazy when I’m at work, but I know myself. I’m not sure it would be good for either of us if I were to be home with him all the time. Enter a fresh wave of mom guilt. What does that say about me as a mom? Why do I struggle with missing him when I’m at work if I don’t think I could be home with him 24/7? Shouldn’t I just be thankful?
Does this sound familiar? If you are a mom that stays home, does the flip side sound familiar? Do you stay home and wish you could be at work and then feel guilty about your discontent?
I wish I had some really profound thing to share about how I combat mom guilt and embrace gratitude but I don’t. Instead, I’m here to tell you that you aren’t alone. I know how much it sucks to be torn in different directions. There are a ton of other moms out there who probably feel the same. Try to go easy on yourself when you can. Try to balance out the guilty thoughts with positive ones when you can. And when that doesn’t work, at the very least, don’t feel guilty for feeling guilty.
There are so many pressures and demands in this mommy world. You need time for self-care… exercise… your significant other… your friends… your extended family… your child… your family… your job. I know I forgot things.
A Google search will reveal countless articles that share why each and every one of these demands is the “most important” to achieving balance and happiness and producing a well-rounded child. Enter a new wave of guilt for each demand you neglect. Balance that out with a fresh serving of guilt about little details like serving an unhealthy dinner or giving a snappy response to your child. There are only 24 hours in a day. You know what other demands exist? Basic human needs. Like sleep. Or you can produce more snappy responses when you’re sleep deprived.
Moms have so many pressures and demands competing against each other for our precious time. The world puts so much pressure on moms. And we triple that on ourselves.
I’m a millennial and I’ve grown up on social media. I use social media every day. Even so, I know it adds to my mom guilt. I’m just as guilty as everyone else of trying to make my life look perfectly rosy (and greatly increasing the number of photos on my phone in order to share the perfect one). I struggled for weeks about whether or not I wanted to even write and share a post like this because what will people think? But then I feel insufficient based on other perfect selections I see there, not realizing how little of the whole picture is actually shared.
Those memes about cuddling your child every second you get, and slowing down? Those get me the most. I need order in my life. I don’t function in a cluttered, messy home. It makes me incredibly anxious and overwhelmed. I’m working on finding the balance between cleaning up or ignoring the mess to just stop and spend time together with my son. It’s a constant work in progress for my whole family and that’s OK (even if the mom guilt takes over and it doesn’t feel OK most of the time).
So, there you have it. Mom guilt. As much as I’d like it to go away for all of us, don’t feel bad if it doesn’t. I’ve been making a conscious effort to notice guilt and push it away when I can. I’ve been working hard to change some of the things I feel guilty about.
My son seems to do well with more order too (in between him dumping out bins of toys of course), so we have clean up time as a family every night. My sister-in-law let me borrow Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids and I highly recommend this book as a way to refocus some of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Surround yourself with people and resources that will inspire you and bring you up when you start going down the guilty rabbit hole. I know I’ve found inspiration and solace in the writing of fellow BVTMB moms on many occasions.
What helps you combat mom guilt?