“I shouldn’t have yelled.”
“Maybe I should give up career.”
“Their bad behavior is a result of me.”
“I shouldn’t leave them even though I need some me-time.”
“Maybe I haven’t given them enough mommy-time.”
I could probably continue on with all of the things that most of us have thought from time to time. And by time to time I mean every day. My first encounter with mommy-guilt was before my first was even born. I found out that I was pregnant as I was getting over my divorce to my first husband. I felt so much shame and guilt already. Shame because how did I end up pregnant and alone? I was using protection and yet here I am with a baby in my belly. Guilt because my baby was going to grow up without a father. How was I going to explain to this little life that mommy had her because I had chosen the road of a couple nights of pleasure versus a more honorable road? I thought that I was a terrible mother already.
This extends until now. We’re sleep training abc and it’s against everything that I believe in but honestly, it’s what’s best for her. But hearing her scream and cry because she wants to be snuggled makes me feel like the worst mother on the planet–especially since I know that I could quiet all of the hollering by simply wrapping my arms around her. I’ve had the thoughts of “Am I enough to be a good mother?” so often that it’s second nature. I beat myself up over everything. Bad mommy.
But I’m a person too. And so are you. Not only that, but we’re more than enough for these children that we have. Whether you believe in God or just a higher power, these babies were given to us for a reason. And because I know I’m not the only one who sits and doubts pretty much everything they do, I refer to all of us as I write this: WE HAVE GOT TO STOP!
We Are More Than Enough For Our Children
I remember wondering how I was going to be able to mother two kids when I didn’t feel the most secure parenting one. There’s a lot of days that I wonder what the hell I’m doing. But then I consult Pinterest or some of my favorite mommy bloggers and realize that I don’t have to know everything–I just need to allocate my resources. In being able to love my girls naturally and research how to handle things, I have a toolkit that will help me through most things. I am enough with the help of my tribe.
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Great
I struggle with this. I want my house to be perfectly clean, dinner to be served on time (oops, that reminds me…), all of our mail and school paperwork organized perfectly, etc. But life with 2 kids and a budding business means that it’s going to be messy–all of it. I love my girls and my husband more than anything and I give them the best of me everyday. It’s not perfect. I still struggle with yelling and not holding on to being upset but my kids are loved and they know it.
It’s OK For Them To See You Struggle
The kids need to know that mommy is not perfect and neither is the world. They need to learn that struggle happens and is normal. They need to learn that as moms, we are people and we have feelings too. Mini was about 3 when she told me that she didn’t love me. My goodness my heart broke. Hell, typing this out has me tearing up. She was sleepy and I knew she didn’t mean it but she had to understand that words hurt. I didn’t hide my hurt or my pain. She felt terribly. She accosted me with hugs and kisses and love to make up for the words that she’d said. She understood then that mommy felt pain too. Don’t feel bad for letting them see you struggle. Don’t shield them from imperfections. No one is perfect and this sets a real expectation for them–and you.
Don’t “Listen” To Everything You Read
I remember I read this post someone wrote about not telling your children to hurry up. As I read it, I immediately felt guilty since I’ve said that to my mini countless times. Was I a bad mommy because we’re often on a time crunch? Was I teaching her I didn’t value her concept of time? Have I royally screwed her up? No. No. No. Here’s the thing, some of these posts out here will have you feeling HORRIBLY about your parenting skills. Should I wake her up an hour before leaving the house? Maybe–she’ll get less sleep. But telling her to “hurry up” is not a bad thing. Teaching her to honor time commitments as well as how to keep them IS NOT A BAD THING! Who knows, because of me when she gets older she may even be more prepared than I am. But don’t listen to all these articles. What works for them may not work for you and your kids and that’s ok too–it does not make you a bad mommy.
Motherhood is hard. It’s this fun roller-coaster ride that will take you on unforeseen dips making your stomach drop and wonder what you were thinking when you got on! But if you’re questioning the job that you’re doing, you’re doing a good job–or so ‘they’ say ha! Do your best and don’t feel guilty–we aren’t perfect and our imperfections are ok too.
Do you deal with “mommy guilt”? How do you get over it?