To All the Moms Who Live in Guilt,
Living with guilt? Here I am too, living with 8+ years of guilt filling up my insides and sometimes knocking down that very confident woman I once was. When we talk about our guilty feelings, most people will tell us “You’re doing a great job! You’re doing your best! Keep on keeping on and things will get better!”
Yet those words sit rather un-profoundly in our heads offering such little meaning they’re ridiculously easy to forget. Living in guilt is living each day reflecting on decisions we make and regretting them or feeling like we’ve compromised our own standards. It unsettles us, unravels us a little bit each time.
Motherhood means choices
As mothers, we’re always making decisions for our young ones; what to wear, what to cook, who to play with, how to discipline….it’s one decision after another and with all we do every day sometimes it’s just ridiculously hard and we wonder when (or if!) we’ll ever catch a break. Moms, your job feels thankless, harder then hell, and one that seems like it will never end–and the bad news is, it won’t.
When friends or family stop by, you watch your kids laugh and play with abandon, you witness how much they enjoy that one-on-one attention you simply can’t offer nearly as much as you’d like–it’s actually a little heartbreaking. Filling needs is a tough gig, one so difficult it’s almost impossible not to feel guilty about.
Sometimes you even have to choose between whose need you’ll fill at that moment. Sure, all those parenting magazines tell you to squeeze 30 minutes in a day to give your kids some undivided attention–and that’s pretty much all a busy mom can spare without letting life hit some serious levels of chaos–but that 30 minutes will whizz by and you can’t be sure whether it made you feel better or worse!
If you’re a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), you feel bad about all the things you couldn’t get done in a day (because you have so much time on your hands!) Some think you’re riding an easy wave but they have no idea how incredibly busy a stay-at-home mother is.
When you stay home there’s no other adult to keep you grounded, and that my friends is enough to send anyone screaming. While you’re reasoning with your two year old over why he can’t have marshmallows for breakfast, who’s supporting your imminent breakdown?
Because for the millionth time you’ve told him marshmallows are not a breakfast food while he rolls around crying on the floor you didn’t have time to wash. For three weeks! Guilt rolls into guilt until it snowballs and you’re left cringing and cursing under your breath.
Back To Work
Going back to work, no matter how old your kids are, is one of the worst culprits for some serious blameworthiness. The onus is on you to bring in a pay check and contribute to your family’s needs. It’s inevitable you’ll be pushed and pulled between work and home.
This can really knock you down, kicking overpowering guilt into overdrive. Finding a routine that works for everyone is a huge hurdle and there’s always a point (like every single day!) when you feel like you should have given more–not that you could. You’re never entirely satisfied with work nor with what you give to your family. There’s always a split and it seems like there’s just no winning.
Some would say it’s just a matter of planning ahead but planning is just another thing to add to the laundry list of a zillion other things you have to get done! Whether you’re working and raising a family, or staying home with the kids, you’re just one person doing the work of ten.
Guilt Guilt and MORE Guilt
Guilt can be like a bad dream blanketing everything you do. It can make you feel like an undeniable failure. Maybe you don’t feel it every minute yet it never really goes away. A mom’s mind functions like a computer with 1,452 tabs open on a daily basis, a computer that’s never shut down and is constantly over tasked. I think we all know what that means; that’s the crash-and-burn recipe.
That, or you’re going to keep functioning, sometimes like a robot if you have to, and compartmentalize that guilt so you can actually live and feel good, not just go through the motions.
We FEEL Responsible For EVERYTHING
We mothers, we feel responsible for it all. That can’t always be said about the guys in our lives. We tend to take control–we just can’t help it–and bite off more than we can chew. Most partners are just fine with this, maybe because they feel like we deal with it better but whatever the case, they just don’t harbor guilt the way we do. Pack your bags, and keep them packed, because that guilt trip is never going to end. It’s part of being a mother.
Hopefully not a major part but sometimes it can feel hugely overwhelming. There’s no answer to kicking the guilt because it never disappears. So line up dad for the weekend, schedule in some well-deserved “me time” and get ready to laugh yourself to the guilt bank. No matter what you do, you’ll always have some propensity for feeling like you could’ve done more, or better.
The key isn’t overcoming it. The key is learning how to accept it and move forward knowing you’re doing the best you can do. After all, you might be Supermom but you’re still not superhuman.