Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mom Guilt...

There it is again, that sinking feeling in my stomach, tears burning my eyes, and a general feeling of inadequacy and failure. This can also be defined as mom guilt. Upon becoming a first time mom almost five years ago I have suffered this more than I'd like, and anticipate it to come my way many more times. Today the guilt was laid upon me by a complete stranger. I receive daily digest emails of the top questions from mothers of children my age. I usually don't read them, but hey it's summer, I had some time to kill, so I clicked on one that caught my attention. A mother was distraught over her 20 month olds potty training struggles. I thought, "what the crap, already potty training?" Now I know there are several kiddos out there that potty train early. The thought of mine being able to do it is enough to send me rocking in a corner. Anyway, after reading the poor woman's post I decided to throw in my two cents. Mind you I did not at all attack her. I think I quoted something I had read that some pediatrician said about the possibility of training too early which can sometimes lead to regression. I was not not at all prepared for what happened after that. I immediately started getting responses to my posts, not kind ones either. Things like, "just because you don't care enough about your child to spend the time potty training," and "your most likely a selfish mother." Then, even though I should've known better, I asked, "Do you stay at home? As a working mother I have to be careful when I choose to potty train. I have to choose a time when I will be with my child for an extended period." Then it really got ugly because the attacks turned to the fact that I "let someone else raise my children." I know this shouldn't bother me. Again, these were strangers that I will never see or meet in my lifetime, but it got me thinking. The worst people that bring on mom guilt are other mothers. I'm aware it's not always intentional. When moms get together we are bound to talk about our children and share war stories, but sometimes those "stories" come across wrong. For example: Stay at home moms to working mothers. I work for two reasons, 1. We couldn't survive if I didn't. We are teachers for goodness sake. It's not like we're rolling in money. I do prefer my children be fed and clothed. 2. It makes me a better mother. There I said it...I know there is someone out there that read that statement and let loose an appalled gasp. Don't get me wrong, I love my girls, but if I spent every waking moment with them I would lose my mind. I prefer to fully enjoy and treasure the moments I do have with them, instead of feeling like I need to go lock myself in a closet just to have five minutes to myself. This brings me to another mom guilt issue, leaving my girls to go out with friends. Seriously people, as women we need that social time. I recently had someone tell me, she just couldn't bear to be without her children, so she declined an invitation to hang out with a group of gals. Are you kidding me? You'll wake up 18 years later and realize your baby didn't care enough about you to stick around. Then you'll be the lonely one. Oooo, I might've caused someone a little mom guilt. Sorry, it wasn't intended. Public school vs. private/home school...I think I'll leave that one alone for now. That's a whole other post in itself. Let me leave it at this, 1. I teach public school so it would be weird to send mine to private school. 2. Whatever you choose just make sure to socialize your kids. The world is a cruel place no matter what. Your job is to prepare them for it, not hide them from it. Moving on... This last one is one that might strike a chord with more than one person, all the flippen Facebook, Twitter, emails, Pinterest etc. posts! I am sure those posts of what you're doing, where you're going, what you're buying, or what you're making are all intended to show how proud you are of your little ones. It's also a great way to share ideas with others of things to do, make, and or buy for other children, but it is also a way to bring on HUGE amounts of mom guilt. It seems to be this constant reminder that I'm not doing enough "stuff" with my girls, or spending enough money. It screams at me "if you didn't work you would have time to do those things," or "if you had a different job you could buy more stuff or go on more trips." Then I have to wonder are all those posts really wanting to show proud moments, or is it a way to brag about how wonderful and perfect your life is, and "don't you wish you could be like us?" Just think about it... This is no way pointed at one particular person in particular, just some quiet observations I make in society as a whole. I could easily post picture after picture, and video after video of all the great things my kids do, but I choose to spare everyone for fear of it being held against me. Now I just threw more mom guilt at the people who post stuff all the time. Again, not intended, just think about how it might come across. I could go on and on, which I already have, but let me leave you with one final thought. As a mother just stop and think before the comment comes out of your mouth. We are all mothers. Motherhood by far is THE hardest job on the planet. We can all attest to that. Our mission should be to support each other no matter what. We are all different, and yet we have one common goal, raise children that are loving,kind, and ready to conquer this messed up world. The way we go about it, aside from causing harm, should not be up for discussion. Let's fight for each other as mothers. We are/I am working as hard as I can. I don't need anyone to make me think/feel otherwise. Put an end to mom guilt!

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