Mom guilt. Before I had kids, I would feel guilty about something every so often. Now, I seem to feel guilty all of the time.
I don’t play with the kids enough.
I played with the kids and now the house is a mess.
I didn’t cook them a balanced meal.
I let them watch too much TV.
I’ve used the TV as a babysitter.
I didn’t enjoy breastfeeding.
I couldn’t wait to start supplementing with formula.
We don’t eat all organic meals.
I spend too much time on my phone.
I yell at my kids too much.
I don’t plan educational activities for them to do.
I should be grateful I get to stay at home with them and should stop complaining about my struggles.
I constantly have to remind myself they’re still learning and are only 3 and almost 2.
Anything can turn into mom guilt.
Cut to Mother’s Day. A day set aside to thank our Moms for all of their hard work and to show appreciation for all the things moms do. It’s easy to celebrate and show thanks and appreciation to my own mom. However, for the last three years of celebrating this holiday as a mom myself, I never felt like I deserved a celebration as I’ve always judged myself so harshly. Is it productive? No. Is it helpful? No. Still, every year without fail, Mother’s Day always makes me feel a little sad and a little guilty.
When I think of Mother’s Day, I get flashbacks of my then one year old, fresh out of the hospital from a bout of croup, pneumonia and a partial collapsed lung, on oxygen 24/7. I was 28 weeks pregnant and my husband was training for work out of state. My son’s rocking chair had become my place of rest for a solid four days because every time he would fall asleep his oxygen tube would come out of his nose, I’d put it back in, he’d wake up, and the cycle would repeat itself. After two or three times of trying to lay him in his crib he would finally fall asleep and I, like the “mombie” I was, scuffled to my bed to try and get a couple of hours of sleep until I heard him cry again.
I broke down. I cried, got down on my knees and prayed for God to give me the strength to get through this. Why was I angry at my son? He didn’t know what was going on but he looked at me to fix it. Conveniently enough, Mother’s Day was just a few days away and I certainly did not feel worthy of being celebrated. Anytime Mother’s Day came to mind, this situation would replay in my head.
This year however, will be different. I’ve decided to end the mom guilt and the feelings of failure that go along with Mother’s Day. Since getting rid of the guilt completely is next to impossible, I’ve decided that to feel guilty of all my shortcomings as a mom still learning the ropes just means that I care. And if I never experienced mom guilt that would either mean that I’ve achieved perfection or that I’ve stopped caring altogether, which I pray will never be the case.
Going forward and from here on out, I will make an effort to release myself of mom guilt and embrace the fact that I just care about my kids. I will appreciate Mother’s Day and all that it represents and will forgive myself for any past guilt I’ve harbored. I will give myself and other mama’s grace upon grace upon grace we so lovingly deserve. It’s time to breath a sigh of relief because we’re all just doing the best we can and know how for our kids.