Motherhood Guilt… I will tip-toe all day long

I recently read an article that has caused quite a bit of debate in the world of motherhood, ‘Feminism shouldn’t mean lying about motherhood’. It discusses the so-called truth behind big topics like child care and breastfeeding, and how we should not have to ‘tip-toe’ around maternal guilt. The whole thing kind of puts a bad taste in my mouth and the article really doesn’t take into consideration any emotional aspects of motherhood. The only good thing I can say about this article is that it has sparked me to write about something that I think most moms struggle with, and that is guilt. And unlike the author of this article, I support other mothers regardless of their parenting choices and I do ‘tip-toe around guilt’… because I know too well what it feels like.

So I feel like guilt is something that is bestowed on us when our first child makes their appearance in the world. It’s almost like the stork was annoyed that he wasn’t really the one delivering the baby, so instead decided to drop bountiful amounts of guilt down upon us. I remember the first time I experienced motherhood guilt, only days after my son was born. I actually felt bad about wanting to leave my baby to have a shower. How insane is that? Then of course, it was feeling bad about the feeding. I didn’t enjoy a single moment of breastfeeding which made me feel terrible because it was supposed to be such a natural beautiful connection. And then there is the whole ‘crying’ thing. Was I supposed to love the sound of a baby wailing non-stop all day? And of course there is the desire for those ‘pre-baby’ nights when you actually got more than three hours of sleep. Guilt… with another side of guilt.  Those first few weeks can be so hard, so you damn well should be ‘tip toeing around guilt’. The last thing a new mother needs, is to feel bad about her parenting decisions. Regardless of any study or research, mothers should do what is best for their families, not just for themselves or their children… they should do what is best for everyone involved.

Now that our kids are older, I can tell you that motherhood guilt does not go away. I feel terrible about sometimes ‘checking out’ of the daily activities. I mean I am physically there… but really my mind is elsewhere when I’m playing the tenth board game of the day. I really do despise the game Candyland and I wish that I didn’t cringe when I saw it. In my mind I feel that I should want to play with my kids, but the thought of pulling that dreaded candy cane card when I’m only a few spaces away from the end makes me want to secretly ‘misplace’ the game all together. And then I thought it would be better if I got out of the house and worked part time, I was wrong. Ironically, now I feel bad about not being home to play candyland more often.

I feel guilty about losing my patience and yelling way more than I should. Every time I leave the house I am consumed by my daughters cries and begs for me not to go. I feel terrible about wanting to make more time for me, and I feel bad about actually enjoying it when I do get the chance to focus on myself. I am faced with guilt about spending money on anything that is not for my kids. When it comes to nutrition, I feel guilty that I don’t always provide the healthiest organic snacks that everyone else seems to be serving up. When my children hurt themselves, I question why I wasn’t watching them at that exact moment. Guilt is a very powerful thing that can take over our lives if we let it.

So to sum it all up… yes we should be ‘tip-toeing’ around motherhood guilt. I think most mothers feel guilty about something and there is no reason why we should be adding to that. The fact of the matter is that we are all in this together and despite our different decisions, we should be helping each other through the emotional rollercoaster of parenting… not putting one another down. To all the moms out there who feel guilty about one thing or another, know that I will tip-toe around that all day long. I’ve vowed to support other moms not make them feel bad about the decisions they’ve made for ‘their’ family.  

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