To be honest, in my 8 years of being a mom, “mom guilt” was never quite my thing. I’ve always felt pretty confident in my abilities to be a mom (namely taking care of babies) and I always felt bad for people that did the mom guilt thing. Those that felt guilty that they weren’t home enough, or those that were home so much they felt guilty that maybe they weren’t giving their children an example of a strong, dynamic woman. Those that get a healthy dose of “me” time but in some strange way feel selfish for it. Or even those that get little or no time to themselves so in some way feel the guilt of not being more of an independent person. For me I honestly felt confident in my choices. I know that I’m intelligent and strong and I know I have a career that I will some day dive right back into, so I never had that kind of guilt. And I’m always here with my children so I never had the guilt that I wasn’t with my kids enough. Oh and by the way please know that I am not “bragging” in the slightest way….there are a lot of things I am terrible at, trust me, I just never felt that being a mom was one of them.
That brings me to now, or lately. I have 4 children of varying ages and varying needs. They are becoming more involved in activities and life is not slowing down. And guess what? That mom guilt is a real thing. And it’s a real bitch too. I am just spread SO thin. There are so many needs to meet. So many hands and hearts that need me and so many eyes that watch me. My younger 2 “need” me more and so I feel guilt that I am not as engaged with my older 2 some days. And my older ones are so involved that I am constantly dragging the little ones around. Skipping naps, putting them to bed too late and more. When I feel icky I like to explore. It’s so easy to either dismiss our feelings or become overwhelmed and incapacitated by them. I try to examine what’s going on, why it’s going on and try to fix it and grow. I’ve had this creeping guilt for numerous reasons and it seems to have increased slowly after the birth of my 4th child and has taken up more space in my mind recently. I’m sure it’s a combination of a growing family, growing schedules and my growing need to be and do more things for myself. It’s not my true nature to feel guilt and shame or to get hard on myself, so in doing my best to work through it I’ve realized the one thing I’m doing that I KNOW is a peace thief (but I’m human so I’m doing it anyway). It’s all of those pesky little shoulds. I think it was when I was reading “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle that I had this epiphany of how often we don’t enjoy the moment because we are internally telling ourselves we should be doing something else. Even something as simple as relaxing which is in my opinion necessary for survival. Breathing, Drinking, Eating, Netflixing….in no particular order. What kind of life is that? Is that living? What an awful way to live that even when you are doing things you want and need to that you can’t even enjoy THAT because that annoying space in our brain gives you the guilt of all the other things that you really “should” be doing.
If you ever listen to anything I say listen to me now. You are an amazing person, you are dynamic, you are important and you are doing everything you can. You are living a full and vibrant life and you have a lot of balls in the air. Never in the history of, well ever, have more demands been placed specifically on women. We have to be so many things to so many people and we get burned out. And if you’ve given birth to a human (and if you’re a parent by any other means) then you know deep within your heart and straight down to the depths of your female DNA that, that relationship is THE most important one, and so the guilt floods in when you’re busy doing all of those other life things. That mom guilt. It steals your joy. If there is anything that literally robs you of joy it is denial of the present moment. Of what’s in front of you and what you’re currently emerged in. It’s basically a denial of life and it will lead to sadness, despair and frustration. There isn’t anything you shouldn’t be doing. Because what you’re doing is just that. It’s what you are doing. And it needs no other explanation and no other defensiveness and no other GUILT.
If you are at work whether by choice and passion or because you must pay the bills, BE at work. Life is about being. Wanting to be any where other than where you are is a buzz kill. If you are at home either because it’s what you’ve always wanted or because it makes the most sense for the betterment of your family, BE at home. There are seasons for everything. You will not be wiping tushes and noses all day long forever. And I know there are situations you just really don’t want to be in, but if you can’t change them then you have to train your mind to be there and accept it. And not just accept it but erase any and all feelings of guilt.
Can we be in this together? Saying peace out to the mom guilt? No matter how put together any of of us appears to be we are the hardest on ourselves. We all know that to be true. So let’s be delicate with one another. We have the universal energy of being parents and we need each other to lift one another up. Own your choices and your actions and truly LIVE by being ever present in all that you do. Things are much more enjoyable that way. I needed this reminder, I hope it’s helped you today too.
Presently and fully writing this blog,
The Enlightened Mama