Mommy guilt. You know how I encourage other moms to release their guilt? Well, I’ve been dealing with some of my own. Turns out, some mommies I know are already in full swing with back-to-school preparation. Their children have perfectly coordinated back to school outfits, reusable, earth friendly lunch bags, and all their school materials are lined up. Mine do not.
Now, either these mommies are incredibly eager for their little ones to move along into school, or they are way too organized. Or both. Either way, I’m not quite there. It’s not that I don’t look forward to the prospect of my firstborn entering school. I actually am. It’s that I don’t seem to find enough hours in the day, or even the desire, to do that level of preparation this far in advance.
It is possible to talk myself into feeling guilty that I’m not intrinsically motivated to spend my days as a domestic diva. Like the day I visited a friend who apologized for not completing her floor cleaning before I arrived. Turns out she had mopped, but hadn’t finished scrubbing out the grooves with a toothbrush. Like I would care. I can guarantee that a toothbrush has never touched my floor for the purposes of cleaning. I do enjoy a clean house, but I do NOT find cleaning to be therapeutic. Unless someone else is cleaning it for me.
So I turned to one of my favorite interviews with twitter friend Kathy Buckworth on The Mommy-Muse Is In. Kathy talked about her book Journey to the Dark Side: Super Mom Goes Home, sharing about the image shift that occurs when we come home from the career world and switch to spending time at home with our kids. There is a whole new crazy world of guilt that goes on with this world, in terms of if we are doing the right thing, or are doing the right job.
Here are Kathy’s wise words for those of us who might be right smack in the middle of that kind of guilt and stress situation, to help us navigate into a place that feels better and more balanced in our lives:
What I do and what a lot of women do is to compare ourselves to other people. We compare ourselves to what happens in the media, super models that give birth and look perfect three weeks later, or women who seem to have it all together with career and home, and other ones who are at home and always seem to have everything together.
I always say you are seeing them for just a moment in time. You’re seeing them in that particular “super mom moment.” We can all have it together for a minute. Sometimes we might even have it all together for five minutes, but sort of living someone else’s life and carrying on that way is not sustainable.
It’s stopping the comparison but at the same time it’s finding like women. I’m a great supporter of moms’ groups and a big supporter of getting together with women in your neighborhood and sharing these things. Chances are you are going to find someone else is going through exactly what you’re going through and it’s a little bit of “misery loves company,” but it’s also just “thank goodness I’m not insane,” if someone else is going through this at the same time.
I think talking about it is really good. Looking at the twitters from all the mom groups, there are a lot of women I see that I follow, joking about how they’re going to run away from home or how things aren’t quite turning out the way they thought they would be. I think that makes us all laugh and feel a little bit better about the times we feel pretty stressed and guilty about not being perfect all the time.
So join in, share your mommy guilt moments by commenting on this blog, and connect with us on Twitter – @kathybuckworth @alchemistsheart
Wow… this article helps me so much . I have always been guilt driven especially when my kids were younger and I have worked really hard at letting that go but it still creeps up sometimes and I don’t think it matters how old they get . My youngest is in high school and hates school. She lags behind in school work . I have tried everything except doing her homework for her which I won’t do obviously. I always question myself if I could have done more when she was younger or what I should be doing now . In the end I know that she has all the resources she needs and I have offered all kinds of support . I need to let her deal with the consequences and not carry so much of the burden because it’s just hard on our relationship and drains me making it difficult to care for everyone else and do my own job . It’s so hard ! Maybe I should look into twitter finally as a resource to vent ?
Thank you for sharing, Jenny. You are absolutely correct, this is a tough situation. The wonderful part is that you truly have provided consistent love and support for your daughter’s journey. Even with the stressors, you have built a foundation of trust. I do agree that having a safe place to vent is an excellent coping strategy 🙂