We've all felt it at some point. You took that last bite of food even when your pants begged you to stop. You told someone 'no' knowing you could have said 'yes'. You've told a little white lie: "I'm so tired from cleaning the house all day!" [what really happened] you sprayed the house with Febreeze, moved the basket of clothes to a different spot in the room, and shoved the toys in the closet. Your secret is safe with me. Eventually, our stomachs settle and our pants fit again, we bite the 'yes' bullet--but just this once, and we clean the house for real...like for real, for real...with actual products and stuff. The feelings fade, we move on, no biggie.
I feel it everyday, it doesn't ever fade. If you've been following my blog and/or know me as a person in general, then you know I like to keep it real...especially about my journey as a mom. Mom guilt is a rabid beast that, once let out of its cage, digs its claws in, keeping me awake at night to mentally run through the long list of things I should or shouldn't have done that day.
Did I yell too much? Did I not yell enough? (LOL, yeah right, let's be serious here, do any of us really NOT yell enough?) Should I have read her just one more book before bed? Did I let them watch too much TV? Should we have gone outside to play in the nice weather? Going outside, only to hurry them back in because the driveway tripped Ella and it's my fault for bringing her out there. I should be over the moon excited every single minute because I get to stay at home 24/7 with my kids--most moms would give anything to trade places with me. Ella clinging to my leg, crying, begging to come with me-- but I run out the door anyways because mommy needs just one hour to herself. Spending endless amounts of time on Pinterest, pinning and planning and perfecting all of these cool, kids crafts ideas, only to toss some crayons and a coloring book on the table and call it good (what can I say, I'm a stick figure type o' gal, creativity level: big, fat zero). Didn't feel like cooking or dragging the kids to the store, so chicken nuggets, pretzels, and Ramen is what's for dinner. I basically gave up breastfeeding my second much earlier than my first because I wanted my body to be mine again. I only night nurse now for two reasons: 1) fully stopping comes with a one-way ticket to the land of deflated boobies; I'm not ready for that trip just yet, and 2) I'm too lazy to get up and make a bottle at 3am. Okay, okay, there is one more reason, the guilt of baby #2 not having swigs of the liquid gold as long as his sister did was eating me completely alive. Mom guilt at its finest.
There are days where I feel like the world's biggest banshee and the most imperfect mom; yelling because chocolate milk was spilled on the freshly washed floor only to realize that Ella was just trying to drink it like a big girl. Rushing the kids out of the door because we're already late, but failing to see that Ella wanted to put her shoes on by herself. Waving her out of the way so I can vacuum, only to see her pink vacuum across the room; she just wanted to be like mommy. Some nights when the guilt beast has its claws dug in deep, I have to ask myself, 'why do I feel so guilty?' The answer I come up with, and frankly, the only one that comforts me at night, is because I care.
I care enough to stay awake at night beating myself up for all the things I did wrong and I care enough to want to do better tomorrow. If you're a mom, or a parent in general, then you have come face to face with this untamed, wild beast. The feelings of imperfection and guilt when it comes to your kids can feel like the weight of the world on your shoulders; they are never ending and all consuming. But instead of feeling oppressed by this beast, let's embrace it.
So if today you've found yourself yelling, getting angry at silly things, rushing the kids through activities, and sending them to bed early because you want a little more time to yourself (or your shows are on): it's inevitable you will be met with mom guilt as soon as the house is quiet, kicking yourself for making mountains out of molehills. And when the time comes, look that ugly beast straight in the eyes, take a deep breath, and say 'thank you'-- for it is simply a reminder--that you care.