Advance warning, this post is coming from a heavy place in my heart & it’s probably going to be long…
All mom’s can relate to ‘mom guilt’ on some level, we’ve all felt a twinge of it at some point or another, but what is a woman supposed to do when mom guilt starts to take over her life & affect her relationship with her kids? (Other than feeling worse than she already does of course)
Here’s my ugly confession of the year, I’ve been feeling like the worst mom ever for the last month or so, and rather than try to get to the root of the problem, I’ve been wallowing in self pity and missing out on the opportunity to talk to my kids about my feelings. As with many things in my life, the issue started to manifest itself as writer’s block two weeks ago. No matter how many times I sat down to write a DIY post, or a new recipe, my fingers just wouldn’t move – straight up, in your face resistance.
I pretty much knew what it was all along, but I kept trying to convince myself it was just fatigue, writers block, or maybe even my thyroid. Nope, it was my same old cycle of self-sabotage. You see, things have been freaking awesome for me on the career front lately, and that is usually about the time that mom guilt takes over my life, and I let it stop me in my in tracks.
Shouldn’t I feel guilty for all the events I’ve been attending? The evenings spent sneaking in extra work, or even the weekend mornings when I need to catch up on my sleep? Wouldn’t a good mom devote all her time and energy to her kids? Especially when her kids are constantly reminding her how busy she always is and never has time to play with them? And then the straw that broke the camel’s back; I got asked to go to Puerta Vallarta for 4 days on a press trip. Ah-mazing! Just what this tired, run down mom needs right? This is what my 6 year old daughter said when I told her (and I quote); When I grow up and have kids, if I have to go on a trip for work, I’m going to ask if I can take my kids. Cue the ugly cry.
So that’s the feeling I woke up with this morning; being a complete failure as a mother. I’ve always said I would do anything for my kids, I could go to any extreme for their health and safety, yet I can’t let go of some crazy dreams I have of running a national social media firm, and being a little bit famous for my work as a writer? Really, is my rockstar complex more important than my kids?
Then (thank you Universe) someone shared this video by Jada Pinkett Smith on Facebook today, and I had another ugly cry. Except this time it was a cleansing cry – almost healing.
I really recommend you watch the whole thing, but here are the two big take-aways for me; mothers need to receive the message that we must take care of ourselves in order to have the power to take care of others at the capacity that we do, and we must not look to our husbands and children to make us happy. We need to make ourselves happy.
Here’s my second ugly confession (and I can’t believe I’m actually typing this) for the last little while I haven’t been happy in my role as a mom. That’s not because I don’t love my children and wouldn’t put myself in front of a bullet train for them – it’s because in this season of my life I want to be a mom and so much more.
For me happiness isn’t about spa days, and me time; it’s about feeling successful in my career. Spending a few evenings a week chasing my business goals gives me the same high that some people get from shopping or a movie night.
I’m in a season of my life where being a successful businesswoman is really important to me. Does that make me a horrible mom? Not unless I let myself believe it does. And that my friends is the decision I made today – never again will I call myself a bad mom. When I wrestle with mom guilt I will focus on the all the moments I’ve spent cuddling, wiping tears, and singing lullabies, and the memories of family outings, games night, and road trips; because that is the mom that I really am. It won’t be easy, but I’m putting my foot down; mom guilt will not rule my heart any more.
I can almost feel the weight of the ‘writers block’ lifting off my chest as I write these words. Now my only hope is that years from now I’ll see my daughter tell my future granddaughter; I’m going on trip by myself because it’s going to make me happy, and I hope you’ll do the same one day.