Even if you try your best, some days are just tough, and then the mommy guilt takes over. I know you’ve been there. The days of love and laughter and cuddles. And kids misbehaving and the overwhelming feeling of almost loosing it. The days where frustration is mixed with happiness, where pride is mixed with boredom. The days when you might yell at your kids just because you’re tired. And I think that you must be a mother to understand how is it even possible that all of these contradictory emotions can actually exist together. Sometimes at the same time. And how it’s still beautiful even if it isn’t perfect. And yet, you might still feel the mommy guilt.
But life isn’t perfect. There are ups and downs to almost any situation, and parenting is one of them. It’s ok to love your kids and be happy simply by looking at them. And it’s ok to hate their screaming tantrums and their whining moments. To smile at your baby, but to shred at a thought of another night nursing session. It’s fine to miss your kids while they’re in kindergarten, but to be tired and unmotivated while around them. We don’t have to always be motivated and exited about parenting. We don’t have to be always full of energy to play with our kids. It’s ok not to feel the willingness. Nothing and nobody is perfect, and mothers don’t need to be perfect either.
Kids need us to respond to their needs, to love them and cuddle, to nurture, inspire and motivate most of the time. But we don’t have to be always the best parents that a world have seen. We can respond to most (and not all) of their needs and still be very good parents!
The world for which we prepare them, the real-life world, isn’t always waiting with the arms wide opened. In real life, we live through deception, reject and failure. Nobody is always smiling at us and saying “good job!” all the time. And we’re raising our kids to live, prosper and be happy in that real, tough world, not in a fairy tale.
So it’s really fine if sometimes we don’t meet all of their needs. If from time to time we’ll say: not now honey. Go play alone. No, I won’t read to you now. No, I won’t go to park with you, nor cook a healthy, organic and finally cut in cute little shapes meal. It’s ok to serve a frozen pizza, and to let your kids watch Dora. It’s ok to skip bath. And not feel guilty about it.
Of course, I think that we should try our best, because we are raising humans who’ll shape the future of our society. But I don’t believe in perfection.
So here’s what you can do next time you feel the mom guilt overwhelming you:
1. Remind yourself all of the good things that you do for your kids.
You feed them, you cuddle them you love them. That’s good enough.
2. Repeat: good enough not perfect.
Because the world isn’t perfect, and you’re preparing them to live in the real world.
3. Breathe deeply and think about what are you grateful for.
Both can really help you with calming. And concentrating on the things that we are grateful for diminishes stress.
4. Think about your kids perspective.
They don’t know what’s your perfect ideal. They love you because you’re their parent, and whatever you’ll do, they’ll still love you. Even when you’ll raise your voice, they’ll forgive you. All they need is your smile and a hug.
5. Give yourself the right to make mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes. We’re human. So instead of living the guilt, try to shred it off, and think that tomorrow is a new day.
6. Assume that not everyday needs to be perfect.
Somedays you’ll be an amazing mom, and somedays a good-enough mom. And that’s fine.
I think that a lot of times the feeling mom-guilt comes from our unrealistic expectations. So if we could only treat ourselves with more kindness and gentleness, then I believe it would be best for both us, and our kids!