Mom guilt. That shit takes over sometimes.
Feeling guilty for being “busy”. Feeling guilty for overreacting. Feeling guilty for feeling stressed. Guilt for working or not working. Guilt for always rushing. Guilt that we don’t spend enough quality time together. Guilt for missing activities. Guilt for being exhausted. Guilt for wanting alone time. I could go on forever.
I still battle with guilt. It’s a struggle.
I absolutely want what’s best for my daughters. But I also want what’s best for me. And…. I want what’s best for my marriage. I want to maintain an organized home, but I want my family to feel comfortable in it. I want to be at home with my children, but I want to work, because it fuels my purpose. I want my girls to be active and involved in activities, but I’m also exhausted. I want to spend as much time with my family as possible, but I need to be alone too. I want to be patient and understanding, but sometimes I lose my shit. And the guilt creeps back in.
So, what do we do about it? Well….. that’s the problem. We compensate.
We give our children things they don’t need. We let them stay up later than they need to. We buy things to make up for lost time. We order dinner because we’re too tired to cook. We try to find relief in ways that don’t actually help. Buying them new toys because we feel guilty only makes our financial situation worse, therefore creating more stress and you got it, more guilt.
“Guilt isn’t always a rational thing. Guilt is a weight that will crush you whether you deserve it or not.” – Maureen Johnson
What should we do instead? First and foremost, accept that life is messy and toss the idea of perfection out the window. Your house will be messy sometimes, let that shit go. You’ll find yourself scrolling through social media sometimes while your kids play, even if you said you wouldn’t. Give yourself a break. You’ll order food some nights, it’s fine. You might yell when you’re super frustrated. Cool down, pull it together, apologize, and let the little ones learn first hand that everyone loses it on occasion and can take action to make it right.
Split the responsibilities in your home.
After all, you all live there, you should all maintain the place. And um, then you have to accept the way they do their share. Don’t go around cleaning what they’ve cleaned, lol. Chore charts work miracles in my house. The girls have daily chores and weekly chores. They earn a certain amount ($.50/day). They earn an additional $.50 if they do their chores without being asked. They keep some and the rest goes in their bank accounts. Lots of lessons learned there 😊
Mostly recently I’ve started making sure to block out time in my day when I am completely focused on my family. It’s anywhere from ½ hr. to an hour. No TV. No phone. Just us. What a difference in how I feel! What a difference in how we interact! What a difference such a short amount of time can make.
The most important thing here is to understand that guilt serves no purpose.
It doesn’t put you on the right track. It doesn’t answer your questions or relieve your stress. It only serves to make you feel worse and make poor decisions. It makes you question your dedication as a parent and partner. it tricks your thoughts into believing you are less, you deserve less.
Be patient with yourself. We are all doing our best. And believe me, when your children feel loved, your best is enough, even when you think you’re getting it wrong. You’ve got this.