Hey Girl, Hey!
I have been through the ups and downs of mommy guilt for years. I thought it was a sign of a caring and attentive mother, a mother who had her priorities straight, then I realized that I was focusing my energy on the something that did not serve me or my child. When I took the time to examine myself and what sparked joy in my life, this feeling of not being enough for my child was a pattern I needed to ditch with a quickness. Here are the 5 reasons that compelled me to ditch the mommy guilt and propelled me to let go.
1. She deserves better
Period. End of story. This is why I am here. I am here to love her, laugh with her, have dance parties in the kitchen while simultaneously creating rules, teaching her to be a respectful person and being firm. There is no right way to parent. Life is messy. We can only use the tools that we have and hope for the best. We are all going to screw something up at some point, so it is better to just accept the fact that you are human instead of trying to avoid it. The best example that we can set for our kids is that we are all real people, we all have moments of glory and we all have moments where shit hits the fan. It is better they learn real life from you and see how you recover rather than them learning it from it from someone else.
2. I deserve better
I am worth a life of joy. I am her mother. I am here to be her guide through life, for life. She does not understand martyrdom, she only sees that Mommy is stressed out, sad or angry. I would rather her see both sides of Mommy, the happy carefree, silly, running through the backyard sprinklers Mommy, as well as the tired, burned out and cranky Mommy. I am a whole person with a full range of emotions and she needs to know what reality looks like. It is my job to show her this reality with as much grace as humanly possible. The time we waste feeling guilty takes precious time away from enjoying our babies while they are babies (this includes all ages, they will always be our babies right?). We all know it goes fast and what we tend to forget is that we have a choice of how we spend our time. What will you choose?
3. Limited time with my child needs to equal quality time with my child
I work in sales. I get home around 6:30pm or later some nights and her bedtime is 8:30pm. That gives me approximately 2 hours to get face time with the peanut. That time also includes the bedtime routine, which is easier now that she is older but still takes a minimum of 30 minutes. I used to tell myself the story that I was too exhausted because I worked so hard all day solving people’s problems, so that meant my daughter got the ragged end of a worn out Mommy. Not cool. Our quality time would feel like a series of me barking out orders to get her through her bedtime routine as quickly as possible. The end of the day felt like another job, another set of tasks that needed to be done. I have decided to tell myself a new story. The bedtime routine is our time. It is a time where she can get ready and we can relax, snuggle, read and talk about our day. I cannot choose not to work outside the home but I can choose how I re-enter it.
4. I don’t have to choose between loving myself and loving my child; I can have both
The biggest lesson I have learned is that it does not have to be either/or it can be both. We can choose to love and take care of ourselves and be there for our children. In fact, my child gets the best version of me when I take time to exercise, get a pedicure, sit quietly in the morning with a cup of coffee, meditate, have girls nights etc. This time for myself helps me to reset and refresh. Who wants mean, tired and crusty-toed Mommy anyway?
5. Life is too short and our kids are incredibly resilient
I learned a huge lesson in motherhood when my daughter’s father and I got divorced. The lesson was that my girl is more resilient then I could have imagined. I found that as long as she felt safe, had consistency in her schedule and knew that without a doubt she was loved, she would thrive. She surprised me daily with how much she was able to understand and how complex her feelings were. She was able to adjust to a new schedule of going to her father’s house every weekend and every other holiday. I don’t recommend that you get divorced to learn this lesson, but if you take a look at your daily routine you can certainly find ways to empower your kids to do for themselves. Your kids are amazing and can do so much more if you let them. P.S. This gives you more freedom to relax and enjoy them!
Live with Love and Grace!