When I first became a mom almost four years ago, I had an intense feeling of “guilt” for a lot of the decisions I was making with my newborn son and it hasn’t stopped since. I remember researching these feelings to see if I was alone and I was shocked to see how many other moms deal with some sort of mom guilt. I looked “mom guilt” up again recently and I was shocked once again to see that there was no real definition of mom guilt. With so many moms experiencing it, why doesn’t it have a formal definition? And why is it not listed as part of a mental health problem?
I have questioned my parenting since before I delivered my first baby.
Am I a good parent, am doing this parenting thing correctly? Since becoming a mom I have realized that 99.9% of moms experience some shape or form of mom guilt. Those that don’t experience mom guilt are either amazingly perfect or not a mom. Mom guilt hits moms in different ways over many different things. Moms are faced with so many difficult choices and we worry over whether they were the right choices or not. Breastfeed or formula feed? Bottle or no bottle? Co sleep or have baby sleep in their own room? These are just some of the many things moms have to decide when it comes to what is best for their babies. I feel that mom guilt has gotten worse over the years due to the internet and all of the mom shaming that happens on social media.
Some things I personally have felt mom guilt over recently include:
Going back to school for my Masters.
Possibly going back to work after I graduate in May.
Not spending enough time playing with my kids.
Not teaching them enough.
Too much screen time (mostly so I can do schoolwork or clean).
I don’t always let them play outside when it is a nice day.
I don’t read to them enough.
I’m too strict.
We have date nights and leave them with a sitter.
They eat crackers or ice cream for dinner sometimes (such as in the pic below).
This list could go on forever and it helps me to know that I am not alone. Motherhood can feel extremely lonely at times, so I try to remember that others are or have been exactly where I am in life and in parenthood. I am forever thankful to Chattanooga Moms for connecting me with other moms who are in the same stage of life as I am. If you’re struggling with mom guilt or anything else, get out there and find a local group you can join, grab a coffee, connect with, talk with, and listen — you never know who might really need it.
Being a mom is hard and mom guilt is definitely not helpful or productive, but it is next to impossible to not have it.
So, instead, I have decided to embrace my mommy guilt. Embracing the mom guilt will allow me to accept that I am not perfect as a person or as a mom. And I accept this because I know that no matter what, my kids love me unconditionally. I want my kids to know that no one is perfect — including their dad, them, and me. I want to be a role model for them, someone who will embrace the imperfectness that I am and still be the best mom I can be for my babies.