If you’ve decided that guilt is a useless emotion and don’t struggle with it, I admire you. I celebrate you and applaud your accomplishment. Also, this post isn’t for you, and I don’t want to hear from you. I want to hang my mom guilt out there on the laundry line of the internet and hear from my fellow strugglers. I want to feel like I’m not alone with this emotional parasite.
It’s ironic that I chose, almost a month ago, to write about guilt. My current life status: I’m almost a month behind on the deadline for this post. I’m late on time-sensitive deadlines for work, with other projects piling up. I’ve got sick kiddos at home, who I’m setting up with water and television shows so I can try to get some work done. I haven’t been touching base with friends who’ve got major life issues going on. I’m struggling with the socialization issues that I should be working on for my older kiddo. I’m not where I want to be on community contributions/volunteering. Forget self-care.
Is your skin crawling yet? Mine is. Just listing all this opens up the pit in my stomach.
This is such a regular state of things for me (the litany of guilt) that the wrongness/injustice of this guilt didn’t even register until I heard it coming from one of my friends. We use an app to trade videos most mornings; she usually sends me a video on her way to work.
I knew from her morning video that she was headed in late because of a weather-related school delay. She’d already planned on leaving early for an event that meant a lot to her kids. However, it turned out that she had to leave work even earlier because one of her kids needed to be picked up early, unexpectedly, meaning she had to miss the event. She shared that she was feeling like she was letting both work and her kids down.
I happen to know she’s an amazing mom with a rigorous work ethic, but I’ve also been in her position. (I still have panic attacks thinking about how a former employer handled my time away from work to tend to my kiddo’s mystery medical condition eight years ago.)
This isn’t unique to moms who work outside the home, either. How many times have you heard friends who are full-time caregivers describe how they feel like they should have the house clean, provide three healthy and organic meals a day, be beautifully put together and in shape, and design and implement a perfect, age-appropriate curriculum for their children? Again, if you’re doing all this, hats off to you, but please don’t share.
I don’t really have any answers, as I know that I have more than I can reasonably do, especially during the winter disease season that eats chunks of my time and simultaneously makes my children need me even more. I do know that hearing about other moms’ (especially those I admire) struggles with the same issues helps me realize that this may be more a matter of all of us having too much to do, rather than being a personal failing on my part. That really helps.
Are you feeling the mom guilt? How do you remind yourself that you are enough as you are? Please share what you’ve found that helps!