Enough with the Mom Guilt
I was staring at a pile of laundry that needed to be folded, while “playing” cars with my toddler. In the 10 minutes that we played, which basically consisted of him handing me car after car while proclaiming “mommy play” as I drove them off the edge of my coffee-table-turned-mini-freeway, I had created a to do list with about 20 things on it. Fold laundry, unload dishwasher, change newborn’s diaper-poor, neglected, baby #2, take down Christmas decorations, go through clothes (maternity clothes=too big, old clothes=too small), etc, etc, etc. Then, an article that I had recently read popped into my head “the laundry can wait…your children need you… they’re only little for so long.” Damnit! Looks like I am going to have to stare at that pile of laundry and continue to let my to do list grow, gimme another car kid!
After driving about 20 little matchbox cars off the edge of my coffee table (how very symbolic), I had an “ah ha” moment. Why do we as mamas let these mom-guilt inducing scenarios get to us? I was not giving my tiny human my all. While I was physically present, I was far from engaged. I was too busy stressing about the things I needed to get done. Yes, the article I’d reflected on made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I first read it. And yes, ideally, I’d love to be able to “forget the laundry” and “leave the dishes.” More often times than not, this is exactly what I do. I get so wrapped up in my kids that I don’t do those other mundane chores. But, the reality is, sometimes those things also need to be done! Does that make me less of a mother? No and neither does the fact that I threw a towel on the sheets that my kid peed on at 1:30am- we all need our sleep (no judging, they were washed the next morning).
Picture this: The above mentioned toddler has taken his box of art supplies, dumped it all over the living room, colored for .5 seconds, watched me clean it up only to dump the box out all over again 50 times. Finally, after trying the “let’s help mommy clean” or singing a glorious rendition of “the clean up song,” Mommy. Loses. Her. Shit. Cue the tears as I’ve upset the tiny human, and I instantly feel guilty. I’d just pinned a pin on pinterest “When little people show big emotions it is our job to share our calm not join their chaos.” Whomp whomp. I joined the chaos and most likely destroyed my kid’s emotional well-being for life. Shit.
How about this one? I’m driving (I hate driving and riding in cars, for the record) and I’m being seriously tailgated down a one lane road, with no shoulder to save me… “Get off my tail you jack ass, I have kids in the back seat, damnit.” Tiny toddler human immediately says “tail jack ass damnit.” Enter mom guilt (mixed with a little pride-I mean a 4 word sentence is something to brag about at 2 years old!), after all – “Our children pick up a great deal from how we embrace them each morning, how we react when they break our favorite vase, how we handle ourselves in a traffic accident, etc.” I have done it again, lost my cool and damaged the innocent, now foul-mouthed, 2 year old.
In an ideal world, we would all be able to spend our Saturday’s laughing and genuinely playing with our kids. We would never curse, never lose our shit, and always soak up the little miraculous moments of their childhood. However, most of us mamas work full time, keep up with a home along with the hopeful help from hubbys (shot out to the mamas doing this solo-you are true super heros!), maintain friendships, attend yoga class, AND keep the tiny humans alive and happy. It is beautifully exhausting. Whatever happened to kids learning to entertain themselves? When did it become so damaging to firmly redirect our offspring? Why are we so afraid to show our kids real emotions (I was really pissed at that tailgater-its OK to get mad at times!)? After all, sometimes we really do need to fold laundry or curse at the douche bag. Enough with the mom guilt. Let’s all agree that we love those gremlins more than we ever imagined possible. We’ve all sat awake in the middle of the night listening to them breathe. We’ve all shed a tear when packing up the newborn clothes or when “funfuns” are correctly pronounced as muffins for the first time. Our children are the most incredible tiny people and we are doing our very best to savor each breath they take. So forgive me, while I curse like a sailor over the ginormous pile of laundry that I’m folding. It certainly isn’t going to fold itself. I love my children so much that I can physically feel my heart beat for them- emptying my dishwasher while they play will not change that. Can I get an Amen?!