Mom Guilt is Alive and Kicking
Even going to the bathroom alone was an impossible task.
I was trapped, yes trapped in a house with three kids for two weeks under quarantine. I love my kids dearly. They are great little humans. But the screaming, questions, time consumption, and lack of privacy was all too much for me. I felt I was going crazy yet I felt guilty for not having the schedule down pat. I felt guilty for feeling overwhelmed. I felt guilty about ordering pizza twice in two weeks. And more then ever I felt like less of a mom because I just needed to get out.
I can hear the voice in your head as you read those words saying one of two things.
- Yes, That’s how I feel! I don’t dare to say it out loud, or
- What kind of mom wants a break from her kids?!
Let’s be real. An honest mom would tell you that not only does she need a break from her kids, but she also wants too.
I write from a judgement-free space. in my opinion, judging others is one of the least loving things we can do to another human being. I allow you to judge me if you need to. But I also invite you to be open to hearing a different point of view.
The downward spiral of ‘mommy guilt’ started nine years ago
I have been a mom for nine years. When the twins turned six and Riley was three that I started travelling for work and began down the path of self-discovery and growth. Prior to this time, I was an overly dedicated mom. I still worked full time, but boy oh boy, did I hold myself to a high standard. I only cooked organic from scratch meals. I was present for all drop-off and pickups. Nighttime routines were always on schedule. And of course, I gave all my time to my kids and my husband. And that was just the tip of the ice burg. There was nothing left for me.
What I didn’t notice was the drip of guilt placed on me every time I needed something for me, similar to Chinese water torture. Simple things like going to the gym resulted in responses like “when they are napping, or after they go to sleep for the night”. Or the guilt I started to feel when I wanted to have a glass of wine on a Tuesday night because my husband’s policy was that the kids should only see me drink wine on the weekend. The slow infusion of being convinced that wanting or needing something for myself was a selfish act started to paralyze me and make me question my own sanity.
An awaking in the making
Fast forward to my awakening, career growth and desire to be more than just a mom. This ambition was new and came with travel, late working nights and a lot less time to be the ‘Martha Stuart’ mother and wife once felt I needed to be. Although I was determined and stood up for myself the guilt trips continued and came in the form of questioning, control, and the classic “you care more about your career than us” line that I head on repeat like a broken record. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that I was ‘ruining’ our kids and that I was told I was an inadequate mom because of my desires and passions. The guilt I felt was so deep and so real that I started to believe like I was a ‘bad mom’.
I was (and still might be) part of the 21% of moms that feel guilty ALL THE TIME. That’s a staggering stat, one-fifth of moms live in a place of constant guilt. Here is another crazy stat, 90% of moms feel guilty daily. They feel guilty for not being good enough, whether or not they make the right decisions for the family, taking time for themselves, or letting their kids have too much screen time 😳 (the list of reasons we feel guilty keeps going).
Part of these feelings of guilt is self-inflicted. We take the judgement of others; personally. We look at the ‘perfect’ Instagram & Pinterest moms that seem to have it all figured out, and we shelf judge.
Insert “mommy guilt”
But if you were to take a close look at how social media, the world wide web, marketing ads, and the unrealistically high expectations of those around us are it doesn’t surprise me why we stumble down a downward spiral of self-judgement and guilt.
A mindset shift, a divorce, and new love
A mindset change and a divorce have brought light to my eyes. The most transformational event during this time has been that the love of my life ( a man I dared to dream about but didn’t think existed) has taught me that I am worthy enough to let go of the ‘mommy guilt ‘ I carry around. He has taught me that it is ok to want to pee in private!
This mindset change has brought an uproar of judgement from those closest to me in the form of questioning and statements like “you’re different and how can you say you need a break from your kids.”
The truth is; man or woman, mom or dad, we all need a break. Raising kids is THE hardest job one will ever have. I love my kids to bits, that didn’t change. I would do ANYTHING for them, that also remains the same. My kids don’t want or need for anything, status quo. What’s different about me? I care about me, I have let go out the guilt, and if that makes me a bad mom in anyone’s eyes then so be it! I won’t let myself feel guilty about that either.
I left quarantine one week ago; I miss my kids, but boy oh boy, do I love my guilt-free time.
My hope is that you have read this from a judgement-free space but if you haven’t that’s on you; I won’t carry that with me. I do hope you have the ability, to be honest with yourself and decide to let go of the guilt you carry.