Oh, the infamous mom guilt. The feeling that you are not doing enough as a mom, not making the right decisions, or not living up to society’s standard. It derives mostly from outside influences such as social media, yourself, or a family member. It’s the weighted feeling of expectations, when in reality, no matter what decision we make, it still feels like a sacrifice.
Every mom feels mom guilt, in some aspect. You can feel guilty about anything! From formula, screen time, non-organic foods, working, being a stay-at-home mom, etc. It can be overwhelming.
When I first had Emi I think most of my mom guilt was actually anxiety, I had a hard time going back to work, traveling, and having her at daycare full time. I felt like I was abandoning my child. I love my job and am grateful for it, but it didn’t make up for the “lost time” over her first year of life. I felt guilty for not being able to be home. I felt guilty for working. I felt guilty for having someone else take care of my child every day.
Once I had my second daughter in 2020. The guilt grew. There were sleep deprived days that I would lose my cool and yell. When I couldn’t give her an amazing super special 3rd birthday party. Some days I had the tv on all day. Times when I couldn’t play a game or color with her because the baby was hungry and fussy.
I feel guilty that my 10 month old has barely met any of our extended family. I feel guilty that she has never been to a restaurant. I feel guilty that she is scared of anyone basically other than me, my husband, my mom and our babysitter.
I feel guilty for taking time for myself.
I feel guilty when my kids don’t nicely say hello and goodbye to family and friends. I feel guilty when they don’t sleep for the babysitter. I feel guilty when they can’t share with friends on a playdate. Most days I countdown the minutes until bedtime, and do I feel guilt about that? Sure do! I feel too guilty to ask for help.
In this season of life, I am in the thick of it. I feel guilty a lot. And honestly, I don’t have an answer or a way to fix it. Should I give myself some grace, probably. The guilt and shame pushes a mom into deep judgement of herself. Some moms constantly compare themselves to others, and believe they consistently fall short. Moms hide these thoughts then become their own worst critics.
While covid has also added another layer of guilt, I have realized that I’m not alone. Other moms feel just like me. And maybe the answer to mom guilt is to stop putting the expectations on ourselves? Stop expecting that “we can do it all.”
We should give ourselves grace. And yes, I need to take my own advice. WE SHOULD take time for ourselves, and not feel guilty about it. It’s okay if we lose our cool sometimes and it’s ok to ask for help. Sometimes our kids are going to have chicken nuggets for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the three days in a row and sometimes they’re gonna get their full servings of fruits and veggies. As long as they’re fed and happy, it’s ok.
Maybe mom guilt will forever be embedded in our brains and that it is something we will never part from. However, if we stop putting the pressure on ourselves, hopefully that guilt wouldn’t be so crippling. Maybe you can’t be “Susie” down the street whose kids eat only organic food, get to school on time, and always have matching socks on but, you are still a mom and doing the best YOU can.