As I begin writing this, I’m also eating lunch with my children. Don’t judge, it’s called multitasking, try it. I’ve done the bare minimum today in the lunch prep department. I heated up some hot dogs (hold your tongues, they’re veggie dogs, and even if they weren’t, so what?), added some fruit and cheese to the plates and served. Kids are happily munching, but I know that mommy guilt is waiting just around the corner. She always is. Mommy guilt is always waiting to creep up on you…
…when the kids are watching one extra show just so you can write a few emails. Ok, make that two extra shows, there’s so much shit to get done.
…when you’re staring at your phone for a little while just so you can feel connected to something other than Barbie and Little People.
…when you serve the chicken nuggets and they aren’t organic. GASP!
…when you go “put the laundry away” as soon as your husband’s available just so you can breathe/think/be alone.
…when you let the kids stay in their pajamas all day.
…when the house is a mess.
…I repeat, when the house is a MESS!
…when you go out of the house without kids.
…when you drop your kids off at daycare, the babysitter, etc.
…when it’s a rainy day and you don’t have any fun crafts, activities, etc planned.
…when you go on Pinterest and see what amazing, expensive, outlandish things other moms are doing with their children.
…when you compare yourself to other moms.
And there she is, ugly old mommy guilt waiting to ruin it all. A moment in which the children are, most likely, perfectly fine. We take a situation and make ourselves feel awful, because mommy guilt makes us believe that we are supposed to be different or better. That the lunch that the children clearly enjoyed was not enough. That the time your children played alone instead of with you was not enough. That you did not deserve to workout away from your children because they need you. They’re fine, and we can be fine too.
I’m here to tell you we can send her away.
Dear Mommy Guilt,
Bye. Peace. Get going. I’m RSVPing NO to your party. I refuse to let you fill my space with your shame and your nonsense. I choose to be who I am, without you. We are breaking up.
Thanks, but no thanks. Sincerely, ME
It’s taken me a very LONG time, five years and two kids to be exact, and I’m still a work in progress. But I’m learning to skip the guilt. It’s like getting used to a new diet. It takes a while saying no to sugar or carbs until your brain finally gets in the habit. It will become easier over time. And she will come back, I guarantee she’ll knock on your door. But when she does, decide if you really need her there. Better yet, decide if you really want her there.
I’m learning that I don’t really want mommy guilt in my life. I feel free, most of the time, from the strain that I’m doing something wrong, when really I’m doing everything right. It’s alright for me to do yoga while the kids are playing (without guilt). It’s perfectly fine for me to put that movie on, so I can read or work or even, relax (without guilt). It’s healthy to take some “me” time without the kids and without guilt.
We mothers have to unite and send mommy guilt away for good. There’s really no place for it. Try it for a day. One day being a great mom without guilt. Try it for a weekend, then a week. Eventually, you will learn to survive without it. And it feels great, because you get to fill that empty space with something better – self love, gratitude, joy. Love yourself for the mother that are, flaws and all. Be grateful that you have the opportunity to be a mother. And feel joy, because motherhood is the most beautiful gift.