I will never forget the moment one of my favorite clients asked me "So do you feel the mom guilt yet?". It was over 6 years ago and I had just returned to work after having my daughter. At the time I didn't completely understand and she could tell. "You know when you are not shaking a rattle or spending enough time rocking her". Oh wow that's a thing? I knew exactly what she was talking about. Here we are 6 years later and you guessed the mom guilt has not stopped.
I am no stranger to feeling a little guilt now and then. You know "probably shouldn't have had that second, I mean third cup of coffee" or "I could be working on my blog tonight but the Housewives are on...". Let me tell you, this mom guilt stuff, it's no joke. It will wreck your day, keep you up at night scouring the internet for the most bizarre reasons and worst of all it will make you feel like a terrible mom. If you are not aware of it before you know it this guilt will completely consume you.
Not a day goes by that I don't feel guilt, sometimes it's big most of the time it's small. Over the years it has come from so many different things:
- Was I too impatient?
- Did I spend too much time cleaning instead of playing?
- Did I spend too much time playing instead of cleaning?
- Are the kids getting enough veggies?
- Am I laughing at behaviors I shouldn't be? (Yes the answer is always yes..ugh why is all the bad stuff so funny)
The list goes on and on, but let's talk about some of the major ones that I have let consume me at times.
I only breastfed Brooklyn for three weeks, I got an awful case of mastitis and called it quits. Now while that is a reasonable reasoning to stop nursing, the truth is I was so happy to have an excuse to stop. Breastfeeding just wasn't for me, I never felt the bond that I hear moms talk about. Not to mention the idea of having to wake up for every single feed, when you have a capable partner is bogus to me! The guilt gets worse, when I had Hendrix I didn't even attempt to breastfeed, no colostrum, nothing. (shout out to all my nurses who were incredibly sportive of my decision and steered all the lactation specialists as far from my room as possible) I really am not sure why it seemed like such an impossible task to even it attempt it with Hendrix. Sometimes I wonder if it stems from my emotional pregnancies, which opens my next can of worms...
I HATED being pregnant. Let me first say I know how incredibly blessed I am to be able to carry my own children and I don't take that for granted one single second. I also think that is part of why I feel so guilty. In fact when I was pregnant with Brooklyn I was scared to even talk about it. I didn't want to come off as ungrateful for this incredible gift that God gave me, but that didn't stop the emotions. Daily tears and depression, only the people closest to me knew my struggles while I was pregnant with Brooklyn. Fast forward five years later when I got pregnant with Hendrix I was elated, especially after having a miscarriage not long prior. I knew the emotions were coming and they sure did. This time with Mark by my side I was able to talk about it more and that helped me process everything. Still not a day went by that I didn't cry or hate every minute of the process. Just as an example of what these emotions did to me, Mark and I went on a baby moon in West Palm Beach...sounds fun and it really was amazing. That is until our flight got delayed coming home and we had to wait an extra 2 hours at the airport, I literally just lost it. We had just finished eating at the airport bar, I just stood up walked away and started crying. Literally right in the middle of the terminal, Mark asked we what was wrong and I remember my response like it was yesterday "nothing is wrong I just can't stop crying, stop judging me". So he just stood there with me and let me cry while everyone in the airport walked by and stared at me like I was a lunatic. So that was fun.
Next up on my list is that my daughter is stuck with divorced parents. Clearly no one goes into marriage planning to get divorced, but life threw me some curve balls and I did the best I could. Brooklyn was only a year old when her father and I separated, so it's kind of all that she knows which helps. Still despite being all she knows and having a loving family no kid wants to go back and forth between two parents.
I am honestly a little nervous about the judgement I am going to get on this one but our nanny puts our kids to bed two nights a week because we both work late those nights. While we would both love to be there, this is what works for us right now. For me working those 12 hour days allows me to have a successful career and four days home with my kids which I wouldn't trade that for the world.
I travel without my kids. I love a romantic get away with my husband or a relaxing girls trip. I miss the kids the entire time I am gone and definitely talk about them the majority of the trip but I need this time for myself. It gives me time to relax and rejuvenate so when I come home I can be a more peaceful and present mom for my kids.
Patience (or lack there of)
I am not a patient person and I can lose my temper easy. I can see Brooklyn picking this habit up from me which makes the guilt even worse. My husband is so patient, I watch him with the kids and am so envious of how calm he is. I lay in bed pretty much every night and think about how I could have handled situations better.
I could go on for days but these are the ones that give me the most guilt. To be honest I have no plans of getting rid of this guilt, in my eyes that would mean one of two things. Either I am completely perfect (you can stop laughing I know that will never happen) or I don't care. I do care, maybe I care too much but that's what being a mom is right? I want to care enough to become the best mom possible. Being aware of where you can be a better mom doesn't mean you are a bad mom, in fact I think it's exactly the opposite. I will give myself grace to grow as I continue to learn along the way.