This weekend I had somewhat of a revelation, a realization really, and it all has to do with mom guilt. If you're anything like me, you feel it all the time.
I feel it every time my child gets sick. When my child misbehaves or hurts someone. If my house is filthy and I binge watch Netflix instead of cleaning it. When I lose my patience and react out of anger. Anytime I make a choice that isn't the best choice, in comes mom guilt. Sometimes the guilt and weight of parental responsibility becomes so overwhelming I completely breakdown. Sobbing ensues and there is little that can be done to stop it. On Saturday I laid in bed, and did just that.
Earlier that day I felt my son Grey's forehead to find he was running a fever, again. Our boys have gone from one illness to another this winter and I was beginning to believe that they'll never have noses that aren't running and throats that aren't sore from coughing. My patience was thin and my energy low. Matthew was trying to talk to me about planning a vacation, which distracted me for a while. Until I heard Grey coughing downstairs.
That's when all the guilt flooded in. Why can't I keep my children from getting sick? What am I doing wrong? Which lead to more and more thoughts of guilt, unrelated to illness. Why am I not motivated to do the laundry? There are so many things I can do better. I don't play with Turner enough. We don't leave the house enough. We watch too much television. I look at my phone too much. All followed by the thought that I am a terrible mother.
My sweet husband could instantly tell something was weighing down my heart and asked me to talk to him. In a flood of tears, I told him what I was feeling. The weight of being a parent and raising competent, respectful human beings is too much to handle at times. I felt that weight lifting slightly as he comforted me and said just the things I needed to hear.
As I continued to reflect on our conversation in the days following, my perspective became more profound and clear. These are some of the things I've come to understand and hope to remember the next time I feel mom guilt, or guilt of any kind.
- Guilt comes with caring. The fact that you feel guilt about something is because you care about how it effects those around you. The next time you feel guilty, remind yourself that you truly care and let it motivate you to keep improving yourself. If your children are fed, safe, and loved, you're doing great!
- You can always be better. No matter how perfect we try to be, or how much we do, we will always have room for improvement. That's just how life is. You won't get anywhere for beating yourself up about the mistakes and the what if's. Forgive yourself, and just keep giving your best.
- Your best is enough. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else's seemingly put together and perfect life. I promise, it's not. Mine DEFINITELY is not. Do your mama thing the best way you know how, and then try to do a little better each day. That is more than enough.
I love my children, I can improve, and my efforts are enough. That's a phrase I need to tell myself more often.
These things may not be a revelation to all, but it definitely came at a time that I needed it most. I'm so grateful for a wise, loving husband who holds me and reassures me while I let ALL the emotion out. If you've ever felt this way before, please know you're not alone. And if you ever need someone to talk to about it, I'm here for you. ;) I hope you all have a great week!