Friday, September 16, 2011

Mommy Guilt

Ladies, you all know what I am talking about when I utter these two nasty little words: “mommy guilt.” We all may have been prepared with the perfect nurseries, perfect birth plans, perfect diapers, and even perfect ideas of what we thought motherhood would be like. But we could never have prepared ourselves for the tremendous feelings of guilt that come along with the most important job on Earth. It begins almost as soon as we see the infamous two pink lines on the pregnancy test. We start to analyze each bite of food that we put into our mouths, making the right doctor appointments, getting the right baby gear. However, those guilty feelings of slipping a little extra chocolate as we pat our increasingly round bellies does not compare to the guilt after the babies arrive.

It doesn’t set in right away. In the early days, we are focused on the basics of newborn care and recovering from the birth. It starts to lurk as some start to plan for returning to work and leaving that most precious child with someone who doesn’t love them as much as we do. The thought is enough to rip your heart out. We didn’t expect it to be so difficult. Gulp. The guilt doesn’t go away after the baby stage either. In fact, it grows and gets worse. Why didn’t any of the countless parenting books and articles we read prepare us for it?! Then we have toddlers, which sometimes can be very trying to even the patience of Mother Theresa. We yell, and then wonder if we have warped them for life. We actually purposefully put them in front of the TV so that we can get through paying the bills and the house will stay moderately clean. Then we leave them there because we were so productive that we think we can just squeeze in a few more chores before breaking their zoned-out eye lock on the boob tube. Gasp. Just the thing we never, never, never thought we would ever do. We even used to judge those who did. And then we do it again the next week when we have to tackle the laundry. Horror of horrors.

Mommies, we must give ourselves a break. After all, maybe a gluttonous amount of TV now, will help them self regulate their own TV viewing later in life. Maybe that extra pregnancy chocolate helped us get enough calories to help grow those perfect, tiny fingernails. Perhaps there will be a recall on the more expensive car-seat with the better safety review and we will feel victorious for choosing the less pricey model. Did we love those sweet little people, though? Did we hug them and squeeze them? Yes! Today and every day. Isn’t that the most important thing anyway: that they feel loved? After all, helping our children feel loved deeply is the most perfect thing we can do. Even if we do it imperfectly from time to time along the way. Let us tenderly kiss them goodnight tonight and collectively, we will breathe a sigh of relief.

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