Screw Mom Guilt.
I used to hate, and when I say hate, I mean loathe when people would say that I needed to "take some time for you" but then when I decided to take some time for myself, I would get judged for leaving my daughter. I would get judged for needing a moment away from the chaos at home.
Can we talk about the bull shit (yup, I said it, I even underlined it.) that is Mom Guilt? Mom Guilt is an ugly awful lie that someone has told a mom or that a mom tells herself. It is a destructive lie that festers and builds. Mommy guilt is self-destruction. It nit picks over each and every move, decision and choice you make. Don't take it from me, listen to Rachel Hollis, "It doesn't serve you in any way. It doesn't serve your children either."
I cannot stand when I watch other moms dish out mom guilt to new moms. NO. THANK YOU. I wanted to write a blog post that gave moms permission to be human. While we do not need it - I feel like some of us have to hear that it is okay to need a break, to take time for yourself, to buy the un-organic brand, to drink the glass of wine at night, to say no or to let your kid watch tv.
Mom guilt tells you that you are a terrible mom, because you cannot keep up with Mrs. Pinterest Perfection, her meal plans and cleaning schedule and her perfectly decorated home. I told myself that all the dang time. I told myself that because I have stains on my carpet, because I kept Friends on in the background during the day, that because I left Addie with Aaron for an hour to nap and shower, that I was a bad mom.
I allowed the perception of other women through social media to dictate what I thought my mom life should look like. It caused so much anxiety. The less I was able to control and keep up with, the more anxiety I felt.
I didn't want this to be a rant about how much I hate Mom Guilt - although I could do on for days - I wanted to share how I work through Mom Guilt. I still get struggle with it, but what I have learned to do has helped me identify where the Mom Guilt is coming from and address the issue head on.
Here is what worked for me:
Identifying the lie.
When Mom Guilt tries to creep in, I try to identify the lie. For instance, when I decided to take a day to myself, Addie stayed with Aaron. I got an Iced Coffee and hung out with a friend. No Hubby. No Addie. No chores list. No Laundry. No Social media. I unplugged, chatted with my friend and watched the waves roll in and out on the shoreline. During this time, a lie kept creeping in. I was a bad mom for leaving my family at home and sitting on the beach instead of cleaning our house and prepping for the upcoming week. The lie is that I am a bad mom because I wanted time away from our house and my family.
Identify the WHY behind the lie.
The why behind the lie is that I was told by another mom, that it was selfish to take time away from my child. She told me that she never wants to leave her kids and spends the entire time away from them wishing she was with them. When I tried to express a need, she shot it down and told me that what I needed was wrong. And I believed her.
Re-framing My Train of Thought.
Okay, so I listened to a lie. I let it consume me. I believed that because she was a mom before me and that because she had two children instead of one, she must know what she was talking about. But she did not! It is perfectly normal and healthy for me to need a break from Addie. There will be times when she needs a break from me. It is NORMAL! Each time a lie comes up, I correct it with truth! I am a great mom, because I take time to care for my needs. I am a fantastic mom, because I am modeling grace and acceptance to my daughter, by showing myself grace and acceptance. I am an incredible mom, because I love my daughter and am doing the best I can.
Invite someone in who will speak truth.
When I start to feel overwhelmed by Mom Guilt, I turn to a friend who can relate. I share what I am feeling and I ask them to speak truth. Guess what, they have NOT ONCE agreed with the lies that Mom Guilt has brought on. They lovingly share the truth about me to me when I need it most. They love unconditionally and do not judge. I encourage you, if you are struggling with Mom Guilt, seek out friends who are moms, that can call out your truths, that will stand with you as you work through mom guilt.
I want to end with this, "You weren't taught guilt and shame by your creator. You were taught guilt and shame by people," (Rachel Hollis, Girl, Stop Apologizing). God did not intend for you to feel guilty and shameful through motherhood. He wanted to share an incredible facet of his love for you through motherhood.
I wish I could hug each of you who reads this, each of you who can relate to letting the bullshit Mom Guilt build and become all-consuming, because this is something I struggle daily with. I am right here with you. If you need some encouragement or you feel too overwhelmed with mom guilt, I encourage you to reach out to someone. It can be me, I am available through email. It can be a friend. It can be a therapist. Someone. Connect with someone and share what you are feeling.
You are a great mom! You are doing an amazing job. You are doing the best you can. You are enough. You, the tired, overwhelmed mom reading this, you are enough.
You are loved.