Two words: Mom. Guilt. It is for real y’all. I do think I have an overly active Catholic guilt/conscience, but I also think mom guilt is something the majority of moms feel on a regular basis.
Thoughts Throughout the Day
I have so many internal thoughts and questions going through my head every day. The majority of them pertain to my children. With that, most of them are criticisms about myself as a mother.
It goes something like this: Did I read to my kids enough today? I don’t think I’ve brushed my kid’s teeth in the past 24 hours. When was the last time I washed their sheets? My child ate half a piece of string cheese for breakfast. Am I teaching my kids enough? I’m pretty sure I gave my kids too much screen time today – like all day screen time. My kids don’t like to play independently, have I made them too needy? My kid is asking for friends to play with. Am I getting them involved enough? I lost my patience and yelled too much today, again. My child just slept for two hours, and I wasn’t one bit productive. My house is still a mess.
Life is Hard
If you’re like me, you hold it in, you don’t want people to know your weaknesses, and you just try to make it through another day doing your best. Until you have a crazy, fleeting moment like me and think it’s a good idea to post for everyone to see. I’ll regret that. But you know you’ll have another day where your kids only eat junk, watch the tv too much, and you spend too much time on social media in their presence.
It’s life. Life is hard. Parenthood is hard. So, why do we make it even harder? The guilt makes it harder. The kind of guilt I’m talking about is internal guilt. No one is telling me I’m a bad mother. No one is telling me I’m doing it wrong. I am my toughest critic.
We have to stop making ourselves feel guilty and know that if we are doing our best, if our children’s needs are met, if they are happy and healthy, we are doing a good job. We all have bad days here and there where we could be better, but we have to focus on what we are doing right.
Social Media Comparison
I think it would be interesting to do a study on mom guilt throughout different generations. I wonder how our mothers and their mothers felt mom guilt? No doubt, I’m sure they had it from time to time, but I can’t help but wondering if the technology driven world we live in today aids in the guilt we feel as mom’s. If I were a betting woman, which sometimes I do like a little blackjack and horse race betting, I’d say it absolutely does.
How many times have you seen something on social media that another mother is doing that makes you feel like you just don’t stack up? I know I have. I’ve seen videos of kids walking at 9-10 months when my now 15 month old is just starting to walk. I’ve seen videos of kids talking in complete sentences well before two when my child didn’t start talking in complete sentences until a few months after he turned two. I have seen snapchats of all the amazing outings people are taking their kids on when my kids have been stuck at our house for three days in a row. I’ve seen amazing bento box lunches when my kids are eating processed food.
And I know, as our children get older, we will continue to feel mom guilt in new ways. I’ve seen pictures of report cards with straight A’s. What if my children struggle in school and a B or C is my child’s personal best? I’ve seen pictures posted of kids sweeping up awards at their awards programs. What if my child is one of the only ones in their class that didn’t get an award? What kind of guilt am I going to feel when I see the other children being more successful, or more well-rounded than mine? Is it my fault? What could I have done differently?
We Aren’t Great at Everything
Let me stop and say, I am not faulting anyone that has posted these things. I brag on my children as well. I love seeing pictures and hearing stories of everyone’s kids. I love seeing momma’s and daddy’s brag on their children. We are our children’s advocates and should be their biggest fans. That’s our job as parents.
Not everyone is good at everything, and that includes us parents. Except those people that are, and you want to just tell them to spread the wealth a little bit. Everyone can’t and shouldn’t get a trophy for everything.
Not only is it our job to be their biggest advocates and fans, but It is also our job as parents to raise strong, confident, hard working children that know their strengths and their weaknesses. Kids that know things won’t just be handed to them in life. Kids that know they have to work for what they want. They will learn that from us. Let us be confident in what we are doing. Let us work hard and do our best even if it looks like someone else is doing better than us. Let us know that we may be weak in one area compared to someone else, but we may outshine them in another area where they fail.
What is Portrayed is not Always the Whole Truth
I also think it’s vital to remember social media gives us the opportunity to only post the best. To only post our proudest moments. To only post the great and wonderful aspects of our lives. It gives us the opportunity to present our lives in the way that we want other people to view us.
We only see what is presented to us, what is portrayed to us how people want us to see it. We literally only see a snapshot of someone’s life. We don’t see the miscarriages and fertility struggles behind the couples’ trips to paradise. We don’t see the marital problems behind the family portraits. We don’t see the battles of eating disorders or addictions behind the fun night’s out. We don’t see the tears behind the rockstar single parent. We don’t see the financial struggles behind the Christmas morning presents. We don’t see the loneliness behind the family of six.
Life Isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side
We need to remember, life isn’t always greener on the other side. When I do my best, and you do your best, it is undoubtedly going to look different, and that is ok. You may have your child potty trained at 18 months while mine is potty trained at 3 (gosh we hope by then!), but maybe my child plays better with other children than yours.
I need to remember to ask myself these questions every day: Is my child learning? Yes. Is my child clothed and fed? Yes. Does my child have a roof over their head? Yes. Is my child healthy and happy? Yes. Is my child loved fiercely? Yes. Is my child throwing a tantrum in the middle of the floor. Yes, but it’s ok, I’m sure yours has today too.
We have to stop comparing ourselves to one another. We have to know that our best is good enough. We have to stop feeling guilty.