Letting Go of Mom Guilt
If you have given birth to a child, you have probably already experienced mom guilt. Whether it was guilt over breastfeeding or bottle, cloth or store-bought diapers, sleep routines, almost from the start mom guilt starts to occur. Am I loving them enough? Am I correcting their behavior enough? Do I say yes too much? Do I say no to often? Am I raising productive adults? And my friends, that is just the beginning for the children. Then there is guilt over our own healthy or unhealthy lifestyles, our relationships, and then our careers. I read this quote and it just totally grabbed my attention.
I was embarrassed because I felt guilty. Guilty to admit that I preferred going to work every day as opposed to tending to my babies at home. Sure, I miss my children when I’m at work – but not as much as you’d think.
I feel guilty even admitting right now that I’ve found spending too much time home with my children makes me resent my children. I start to feel trapped, overwhelmed and out of control. I see my work to be meaningful and challenging, and I enjoy it. It allows me to the keep the “me” in “mommy.” No need to be ashamed of that – still, it is another example of the many guilty pressures we face as working moms.
On one level, I can relate to this statement a little bit. Work is (somewhat) predictable. I know what my job scope is and even if a curve ball is thrown, it is manageable. I am dealing with adults who have learned to manage their emotions. They can speak for themselves and feed themselves and go to the potty all by themselves. They contribute to solving problems rather than creating them. There is order and structure and a chain of command. Work makes sense. People have questions or issues, I can solve them. There is satisfaction when a project is completed, a solution found or a goal accomplished. And then I go home.
These little (albeit adorable) tyrants demand, demand, demand all the time. I have to teach them things and they don’t know how to self-regulate yet. They create mess, problems, drama and chaos. All by 9 am in the morning. I go from a somewhat orderly life during the work week to barely organized chaos. Schedules are ridiculous. I am supposed to plan play-dates to develop their social skills, I am to plan sports activities to help them develop teamwork, discipline and exercise ability. I need to make sure they are working ahead and reading extra and achieving all the educational goals. Have they developed good character? The expectations of me to produce these amazing humans can be overwhelming. And the guilt? Have I done enough? Have I been a good mom? Do they feel safe and secure? The worst part is, there is very little short-term satisfaction. I truly don’t know if I did the right things and made the right choices until they are grown and by then it is too late to have a do-over. That is a big issue. There are no do-overs in raising children. There is the chance to correct a problem at the office, to fix an issue. But not with children. So I have to get it right the first time.
On another level when I read this quote I was so sad. I was sad for that mom and sad for the children. Very few of us have children in the anticipation of not enjoying them all the time. When that little newborn baby is placed in our arms for the very first time we rarely think “I am going to resent you one day.” So how can we change our focus so that we can begin to enjoy our children?
Letting Go Of Mom Guilt Part 2 Coming Next Week – Stay Tuned!