Oh, the guilt. There are so many decisions to make from the moment you become pregnant. It begins with the kind of diet you are eating while pregnant, to your birth plan, is your baby getting circumcised, the kind of diapers you use, homemade purees or store bought, the list goes on and on as your child gets older. It never stops and I realized it will never stop so why pay mind to it? Can’t seem to win, whatever choice you make someone will judge you for it.
I had a decent diet while pregnant, I had a drug-free birth, my son is not circumcised, I use disposable diapers, I am a stay at home mom, I made purees for Jet, I feed him little to none processed food. We don’t go out on a million and one “playdates,” I don’t shove flashcards down his throat, sometimes he does watch TV. I let my child learn through a mix of independent play and teachings from me through play. Sometimes I can be a helicopter mom and sometimes I allow Jet to be completely free and learn through trial and error.
I own everything I do. No need to feel guilty when you own what you do. Be confident in your decisions. Don’t allow others to take that power from you. I am learning every single day to be the best mom I can possibly be. Some days are amazing, and other days are a disaster. There is no “right” recipe to being a mom (if there were things would be much easier : ), there is no right way. I do what I feel is best for my family, that is all I can do.
The most uncomfortable scenario I have come across has been at a social gathering I went with PJ and there was small talk going on. Oh, how I hate small talk, but that is another subject of its own. A very common question is, “so, what do you do?” I really do not like that question. I know most people mean that question to find out what I do to make a living especially if they already know that I am a mother. As a stay at home mom I always find it strange to answer, “I don’t work.” Not only is it strange to say because of the negative attention tied to people who do not work, but I find myself trying to justify myself to others. But why? I shouldn’t have to. I find myself saying, “I don’t work … but, I stay home with the baby all day.”
I felt so powerless. I felt the guilt. I felt like I was not good enough because I did not have a “real job.” I chose not to work, I chose to stay home with my son. And heck it is a real job, it is probably one of the realest jobs there are! It was actually something PJ and I discussed as a family, we decided it was best for me to stay home. It was our choice but there I was, feeling bad about a choice we made even though I knew it was still the best decision for us.
Another very real example is the guilt a mom feels when you put yourself ahead of your child. Yes, once you have a child that child is your world. You become so attached that you think you cannot live without that child. If they die, you die. I am beginning to realize those aren’t the healthiest thoughts one can have. Jet is still my world but I now see that I have to put myself first so I can take care of my son in the best way I can. If I am not happy, Jet will not be happy. It is about a healthy balance. It is okay to have “me” time. It is okay to go out once in a while without your baby. A mom is not all I am. It is my favorite title or hat I wear but, it does not define me.
I cannot neglect myself to avoid feeling guilty about either leaving my son with my parents while I go out or because I turned on the TV for ten minutes so I can simply paint my nails. I have learned to treat myself and care for myself just as I would my son. Have I had enough water today, enough to eat, did I bathe and change into clean clothes today (yes, that’s a real thought) etc. It seems silly but when your day is so hectic and everything is about your child(ren), it is very easy to forget about your needs.
Take care of yourself just as well as you would take care of your child(ren).
Something so crucial I have learned is not to take what others say personally. Everyone sees the world with different pairs of eyes, different viewpoints so why take things personally? They are speaking on what they see and feel they know, no need to give that person power by taking it personally. Most often than not they are speaking from fear and insecurity so don’t react to it. You continue doing what you feel is best for your family because at the end of the day you are the one with the child day in and day out, no one else.
If you are feeling guilty without anyone directly making you feel a certain way about choices you have made or are making, that is a little tougher to fight. Something that makes me feel at peace is that everything has a purpose, everything that has been presented to me and everything I do, whether it is good or bad, has purpose. Find out why you feel guilty about it. Be curious about that guilt. More likely than not fear drives it. Become curious about that fear in order to conquer it. Self-reflection is such a beautiful thing. Once you do the work and find the core of the fear, you will be able to let go of the fear.
Moms, lets also remember that it is possible to love being a mother but not like being a mom all the time. It’s the conditioning. We have been taught that once we have children we have to sacrifice absolutely everything. It is not about us anymore. I don’t believe those are good teachings. Things do change once a child is brought to the world but it does not mean you as an individual disappears.
I am still a work in progress when it comes to not caring what people think of me and being confident in my choices. I am by no means perfect but I am at least conscious of where the guilt comes from. Once you are aware of where the guilt comes from it is much easier to tackle.
We are so powerful in so many ways, it is a shame that we feel bad for our choices when there is nothing to feel shameful of. Every single family is different in its own beautiful way. Let’s get rid of guilt one day at a time, focus on true happiness, focus on the real things in life, and our children will benefit from that way more than us carrying guilt. Kids realize and notice more than we think. I am sure you can reflect and think of guilt your parents carried when you were a child. It more than likely made you feel guilty too. Our energy transfers into our children, let’s get rid of that negative guilt! Be confident in all decisions you make and you will raise children that are confident in themselves too.