Mom Guilt – How to Manage it
The alarm goes off, or I hear “Mommy” whispered and feel the breath of the first little face inches from my unopened eyes, whichever comes first. It’s time to start another day. Each morning is starting to feel a little like déjà vu. I sleepily stand up and stretch, still feeling the invisible pull from my bed to come back. I take a few minutes (more or less depending on how many times I was up in the night) to gather my thoughts.
And so it begins.
I make my way down the stairs to start the coffee pot. I feed the kittens, scoop the litter, feed and let the puppy out. By this time, another little face is up and they are hungry. I make them some breakfast, attempt to check some emails and then the 3rd little face is hollering through the monitor that he is also ready to be up. (Mom guilt moment- “I wish I had more done before the kids were all up.”)
The mornings consist of cleaning up puppy pee, wiping a preschool butt and changing diapers. Then there’s keeping the baby out of bathrooms and stairways (you know he books it across the living room the moment a gate is down), defending the pantry and fighting off the ravenous wolves (the ones who JUST ate breakfast) and maybe getting some dishes or laundry done and all the while there is constant bickering. (Mom guilt moment- “I should be enjoying my time home more, not secretly wishing my mom will stop over so I can ditch the kids and go somewhere alone.”)
Then comes lunch
and more dishes and more diapers and more fighting and more nap-time battles and more puppy pee and I know that you can fill in any blanks.
Before I know it it’s dinner time and my husband walks in from a long day and is hungry. Not only have I not started dinner yet, but I haven’t even thought about it. So he opens the fridge and starts making us something. While it’s cooking, he starts loading the undone dishes into the dishwasher and more mom guilt sets in.
“Why didn’t I plan dinner ahead to have it done for him when he comes home. I should have woken up earlier and had the dishes and laundry done before the kids got up. Why does this happen day after day? Why can’t I do this??”
Then my husband will ask me how my day went and all my thoughts and feelings and frustrations will pour out of me and all over him. He will ask the kids the same question. And one day, as I listened to their responses…
It hit me.
Although we have been together all day long, their perception of the day was completely different from mine. They don’t see the undone dishes in the sink; they remember helping me make the food that filled their bellies. The kids don’t see the mountain of pool towels, bathing suits, and muddy shirts that need to be washed; they remember the fun in the sprinkler and making mud pies with their shoes off.
They don’t see the puppy pee, dirty litter box, or the holes in the blinds that the kittens chewed; but will always remember the fun-loving companions they get to cuddle and their races around the house. Children don’t notice that their momma is sleep-deprived and unshowered. They remember being comforted in the middle of the night when they had a bad dream, the extra story at bedtime and the extra snuggles on the couch when Baby was napping and I should have been showering but watched Moana instead.
It’s funny how we can all live the same day together, but have such different perspectives on it. It’s times like these that help me to remember that I AM LIVING MY DREAM!! I wanted to be able to stay home with my babies and be there for them, so my husband took it on himself to make that happen for us.
I hated having to go to work, have someone else raise my babies and make just enough to cover daycare costs. Talk about mom guilt! I longed to be able to stay home and have more time with them during the day. It was my dream to be able to take impromptu trips to the zoo or splash pad and not have to wait for the weekend. I can do all of those things now because
I am BLESSED!!
Sometimes when life gets crazy and busy it’s easy to start feeling like a prisoner, trapped in our own life. That’s when it’s important to step back and look at the big picture, at what really matters.
Littles don’t stay little for long, and someday I will look back on these days and my heart will long to be back right here, where I am now. Yes, sometimes life is messy (okay, most of the time it’s messy) and of course there are parts of being a stay-at-home-mom that absolutely suck. Then I realize that sometimes I get caught up in all of the silly little things in life that just don’t matter, and forget to enjoy the things in my day that DO matter.
Something else that I realized, is that my husband doesn’t care if the dishes aren’t done. He doesn’t mind if I don’t get a shower in until after he gets home. But he notices a difference in me when I am feeling grateful for this opportunity in my life and am at peace. I am my most beautiful self when I let go of that mom guilt and all is well with my soul.