I wasn’t surprised one bit by the responses I received. I posted a question on my Facebook page that asked, “What are some of the things you feel guilty about doing (or not doing) as a mom?” Every single response I received involved some form of a mom simply taking care of themselves (or their children).
Mom guilt is real. Any second that we are not actively involved with our children, cue the guilt. (Of course I can’t speak for dads here. I have no idea what goes on in a dad’s mind. *cue crickets*) Since my first day as a mother, I found reasons to feel guilty. Lucas was born with jaundice. Of course, I had no idea what it was. All I was told was that he needed as much light therapy as possible and to start eating to flush out his system… and that is where we struggled. Breastfeeding wasn’t going well so I had no choice but to turn to the bottle. And to be honest, I never did quite enjoy the pain of breastfeeding (the pain that moms don’t warn you about). My first ever feeling of mommy guilt. Was I a bad mother because I didn’t enjoy breastfeeing? Was I a failure for giving my baby formula? Honestly, it’s been almost 6 years and 600 or more moments of mommy guilt so I hadn’t even thought about that moment until I read one of my friend’s responses, “…formula feeding”. & that was just the beginning.
Other responses of self care poured in:
- “…not being a stay at home mom”
- “taking her to the gym with me (to the kids club) after already spending a long day at school [and] after school care…”
- “Going on vacation without them…”
Going to work (because maybe we actually want to), taking care of our health by working out, and our mental health by going on kid-free vacations, to me, are all acts of self care. As moms, somehow we feel that if there is any moment that we are away from our children and taking care of ourselves, we’re hurting our children. If you ask me, it’s the direct opposite. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Sleep in a little. Work out! Go on vacation! Why not do the things that make us feel better as a person? When we feel better, we do better. We’re refreshed. Revitalized. Ready to spend quality time with our little ones. Ready to make a fabulous meal (or grab some yummy take out). The better we feel and the better we take care of ourselves, the “better” the mom we can be.
My favorite response was probably Rachel’s. She said “I could make a long list of things [I am guilty about]… The best part is our kiddos love us no matter what”. This couldn’t be more true! Sure, I sleep in. My son brings his tablet into the bed and lays down next to me. He knows mommy is going to wake up and play soon. Sure, I work out just about every day now and I even overheard my son tell his friend the other day, “My mom wakes up every morning to workout before I wake up!” And vacations? My son knows mommy and daddy will always take them on trips…
Just not every trip…
So the next time you’re feeling a bit of mom guilt for taking care of yourself, just remember that you are doing your best and your child(ren) will love you, no matter what.