I have a best friend in Michigan that hasn’t been able to physically help me during this rough pregnancy. But in addition to our weekly phone chats where she always makes me feel better because she can relate to extreme pregnancy sickness, she sent me a heartfelt email several weeks ago that meant more to me emotionally than any meal or clean counter did at the time.I was going through a round of what I like to call “mom guilt,” because obviously I’m not the world’s greatest mom right now. Our boys are barely getting their basic needs met.Her words helped me out so much to relieve some of the mom guilt I had been feeling, so I asked for her permission to share it with you. As moms, we all get hung up on perfection. Sometimes we need to lower the bar a bit, especially when things are out of our control.
So I hope that this helps anyone who is feeling tinges of “mom guilt.” Or at least helps you to see why I am so blessed to have a best friend like her 🙂
1. You might feel lame because your kids will be spending a lot of time at home these days. But…at least your kids live in a nice home. And regardless of its current state because you don’t feel well enough to clean, I know that it does not look like it will be aired on the next episode of Hoarders, and does not reek like cigarette smoke. (Can you guess what kind of home I visited tonight?)
2. You feel lame because your kids will be watching a lot of television for the next couple of months. That’s like apologizing because your kids get Christmas presents this year, and it isn’t good for them to be spoiled. Let’s face it. Watching unlimited television is pretty much like Christmas morning to a kid. Maybe you would be lame if it was forever. But if it’s just for a few months, you’re not lame. You’re Santa Claus.
3. You feel guilty because you’re not feeling excited about being pregnant. You’re not excited because you feel like crap and you feel like you can’t be a good mom to your other two children. Let me tell you what kinds of moms should feel guilty; moms that do drugs while they’re pregnant, moms that don’t know who the dad is, moms who are pregnant because they are prostitutes, moms that can’t afford to take care of their baby, moms that beat and neglect their children, and moms that don’t know how to show love to their children. Sadly, this is the majority of the kinds of moms I associate with in my job. You should not feel guilty because you’re not excited about being pregnant. You will be. And your child will be luckier than 90% of the children around him/her. Also, try as I might, I can’t remember a darn thing from when I was a fetus.
4. Even some of the worst days that you have experienced lately illustrate what a good mom you are. For instance, the soccer game from you know where. Just think of all the children who never even get a chance to be enrolled in soccer, because their parents can’t afford it, or their parents don’t ever put their children first or give them enough thought to think it might be good for them to try different activities. Most people in your shoes would have said “Screw soccer. I’m staying home in my pajamas, and you can watch cartoons for the rest of the day.” But you went out and endured a soccer game, full of crying, snot flinging, and a barf taste in your throat. Lame Mom? I think not.
5. Last but not least, (and on a more serious note), you are a good mom because you care, and are so worried that you are NOT being a good mom. If you weren’t such a great mom, you wouldn’t care. Period. I know we’ve had lots of talks along this subject over the years, but the bottom line is, we put too much pressure on ourselves these days. There are not very many moms out there that put the time and energy into their kids that you do, and definitely not when they’re puking their guts out. You are trying to keep yourself to a very high standard, which you have already set by being such a great mom. Lower the bar Linds. It’s just not going to happen right now. You have the rest of their childhoods to make it up to them. And in the meantime, they are safe, happy, loved, and in seventh heaven-watching unlimited television. No more mom guilt Linds. No more. Keep the boys alive, pamper yourself, and in a few months, life is going to look a whole lot better.
thank you. I stumbled across this, and I so needed to hear it. I'm in the middle of my own awful "morning" sickness, and mom/wife guilt. One day I'll cook and clean and take my kid outside again…right?
Ahhh…I remember being pregnant with my youngest. My hubs was out of town for several weeks (in London with some of his Air Force ROTC students having an awesome time…getting to see all the sights like Big Ben, the London Eye), and I would pick up my oldest son, come home, nuke him something for dinner, put it on a plate, set it on our coffee table, turn on the TV, and go to sleep. I can sympathize with your pregnancy guilt for sure. Hoping and praying this all passes quickly…~Cindi
Love it! Thanks!
I so needed to read this. I've had major cases of mom guilt lately with my six loads of unfolded laundry sitting in my living room and the stack of library DVDs to keep the toddlers entertained while I try to take care of the newborn and myself. It's hard. I'm grateful for the reminder that this is just a season and my motherhood isn't graded on just these months. We're all alive and healthy and safe. Please thank your friend (and you) for reminding me to not be too hard on myself.
Your friend is a very insightful writer. Coming from someone who made it through five pregnancies and (almost) five teenagers, I can tell you she's got it right. The long, long road of motherhood still lies ahead, and you'll find PLENTY of places along the way to be the kind of killer mom your heart wants to be but your body won't let you be right now. Hang in there, Lindsey!