Yall know that I love (and sometimes hate) Facebook Mommy groups. Sure they cause my to roll my eyes 8500 times a day, but I’ve also learned a lot and gotten some good tips from fellow mothers in these groups, so I stick around. And everyday in these groups, I see some form of Mom guilt rearing its ugly head.
What’s Mom guilt? It’s rooted in the twisted idea that mothers cease to be independent people, and instead should spend every waking moment with their children giving them the absolute best things on Earth, so that they grow up to be the next Einsteins. Thus when a mother does anything counter to that idea, like go to work, take time for herself, or spend money on herself, she’s assaulted with intense feelings of guilt. Sometimes this Mom guilt also comes in the form of judgmental comments from other people - the guilt is multiplied if the comments come from a family member or close friend. Basically, it’s a constant feeling of “oh shit, I’m screwing up my child because I’m not with them 24/7 giving them organic foods and enriching activities”.
Yeah…Mom guilt is bullshit. And so it’s cousin, Mom shaming. I’m over both of them.
I have a lot that I could feel guilty about, as a Mom:
I dumped my daughter into daycare when she was only 12 weeks old, so i could selfishly go back to work.
I regularly go do things without my daughter, like Target runs, get mani-pedis and attend happy hour.
I dared to leave my daughter with her father multiple times while I traveled, including leaving her twice for international trips.
I sometimes buy things for myself without buying her anything.
I mean, what kind of mother does that?!? /s
I read posts from mothers almost everyday that reflects some type of mom guilt - the most common topic is around going back to work. I have never felt any guilt about going back to work; in fact, I couldn’t wait for my maternity leave to be over. I love my daughter, she is the joy of my life and my entire heart, but I knew (and know) that staying home with her was not the wave. So I made it my mission to find her the best environment while she was away from us, and her Montessori daycare has proven to be an excellent choice (and a key part of our village). Other mom guilt topics? Breastfeeding or formula; purees or baby-led weaning; when to potty train; doing anything that deviates from the parenting “rules” (like cosleeping); doing anything fun that requires you leave your child’s side or spend money on yourself. Basically if you can make a choice, you can feel guilty about it, yay! Doesn’t this make parenting sound like fun?
While I reject mom guilt and haven’t experience much of it, I did have to conquer my hesitancy to be away from Josephine, in the infant stage. I remember the first time I went to the movies alone, or a I went to get a much needed pedicure - both times William had to practically force me out of the house, and I missed my baby, but it was so worth it. Now that we’re in the throws of the Terrible Twos, I am more than willing to run out of the house for some time alone, LOL. I did not know how much fun it could be to run errands, until I had a toddler.
I really think more mothers would feel so much better if they simply told Mom guilt to get lost. It serves no purpose! All it does it make you feel bad about every possible choice you could make regarding your child, and it doesn’t actually make you a better parent. Your kid will be fine whether they breastfeed for 2 years or get formula. Daycare could actually be a good thing for your kid, but you aren’t terrible if you decide to stay home with them. Basically, this parenting this is a crap shoot, so all you can do is make what looks like the best choice in the moment. As long as they are clothed and fed and have relatively decent manners, that’s all we can ask for, right? So don’t stress if they spend the week eating chicken fingers and grapes, they will be fine.