Do you ever do this?
You put your kiddo to bed, kiss his apple cheeks and think about the day gone by as his breathing steadies. Thoughts of making pumpkin cookies and dancing to blaring kid’s music play in your head.
But, so do other memories.
Getting upset when flour poured onto the floor after you repeatedly asked your son and daughter to
And you remember the reason for the music dance party was to help calm yourself down into a 1950’s mother and try to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Tears well up as you remember and look at your son.
- Will he remember the good?
- Or only the bad.
- Will he be a good person?
- Or have my imperfections messed up him for life?
You stop and control your breathing to the tempo of his and remind yourself you are human and not perfect.
That what you are feeling is simply mom guilt.
And that everything will be okay.
What is Mom Guilt?
I am feeling it right now.
A cereal bowl sits in the sink, the table needs to be wiped down, and my daughter is watching a cartoon while she waits for us to go outside for our daily walk.
Yet here I am, writing.
Or your kid looks at you in the morning, tears dripping down his chin. He screams, “Mommy.”
He doesn’t want you to leave him at daycare.
But you kiss him, close the door and leave.
This is Mom Guilt. The feeling that we are terrible moms who are messing up our children. It is almost an irrational worry and it stems from trying to do too much. From rushing. From taking on too many activities on our never-ending to-do list.
From trying to be perfect.
And social media is a part of this. Yes, it is a fantastic tool that I use every day, and have met many wonderful people using it.
Yet, it’s like looking at a magazine.
You see all the best highlights of someone’s life. You see the perfect smile on a sunny fall day with the yellow leaves glowing behind a woman as she holds her smartly-dressed son.
We see the pie your other friend made that is Pinterest perfect.
But you know what? We can’t be perfect. We are not. We will never be. And neither are your friends with their highlighted moments.
And that is ok. Good even.
You are not bad.
Going to work to take care of your child by going to work to make money for the family is essential. In fact, working mama, you are a supermom.
Writing when you finally have a chance as you eat your breakfast does not make you terrible, but efficient.
It is normal to feel a sense of guilt when the task of raising someone not only to be healthy but a good person, is put on you.
But there are a few ways to tame it.
When we are having a marital debate, my husband likes to tell me that yes, he is selfish sometimes.
And that I should be selfish, too.
Moms tend to forget to make time for themselves. To be a little selfish.
Big NOTE: we are moms, so this is not an easy task. In no way do I mean that we should neglect our children their safety and health should all come first.
But you should have some fun.
It was a busy, long summer for me. I am ready to hang out with a friend, even if it’s just for coffee and conversation.
My muscles loosen even thinking about it.
There are many options: you can go out on a date with your spouse, see a movie, have dinner.
Or do something that only you want, alone. Go get your hair or nails done. Do that needed clothes shopping and, just for this time, don’t buy the kids anything (hard, right?).
For an hour or two, take care of yourself only.
Get Off Social Media
As a writing mama social media is not only fun but a must.
But there are days when it’s too much. When I am checking notifications, stats, or email too often. On those, I have a plan.
I hide it in a cupboard when my notebooks are.
Sure, I can reach it and sometimes do but it is out of sight and, mostly, out of mind.
I use that time instead to pretend to bite my kids’ chubby cheeks, which has the little people giggling.
Absolutely worth it.
Instead of looking at moments highlighted by cameras in your friends' lives, make your own glowing minutes.
The hardest part of mundane motherhood is not changing diapers, crying babies, or even sleepless nights.
For me, it's hiding my emotions. Becoming that 1950’s housewife with a string of pearls wrapped around her neck and a white smile as baby pulls out her hair.
And almost robotic.
But moms have emotions. We are human and our feelings can explode if we don’t let them free.
Which then makes us feel guilty.
When I told a friend this she offered me a title of a book called, Feelings Buried Alive Never Die… She said it helped her overcome some of the guilt associated with motherhood.
And since I am naturally a worrier, I found another book to be incredibly helpful called, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
Mothers need to start living without guilt.
This is a new one for me.
A little less than two weeks ago I kept hearing how good journaling is for writing. So, I thought I’d try.
And I love it.
I write about my worries, complain, and share my joys. I feel less guilty and have been able to better control the many emotions running through me.
It’s my new safe place where I can word-vomit about my day. A release from the mundane daily buildup that motherhood can be. Journaling is helping me become a better writer and mother.
And is the best remedy I have found for Mom Guilt.
Being a mom is not an easy task, especially these days. You have modern technology to bog you down with other people’s perfections and must help kids survive the world physically and mentally.
And the pressure can be daunting.
Yet with journaling, turning off social media for some time, reading, and by being a little selfish you can tame the beast that is mom guilt.
And next time you lay beside your kiddo and start to feel guilty for the little things, remember one thing.
You are not perfect.
And that is perfectly okay.