Being a mother is undoubtedly, the hardest job ever. And, even though most days are insanely rewarding, some days are, in fact, a job. However, it seems as I talk with other moms, that I am not alone when I say, that we all seem to battle the same illness... the guilt syndrome. For whatever reason, men do not seem to suffer from this as strongly. (I'm not saying men don't feel guilty for decisions they make for their family, but I truly believe they do not carry the same weight on their shoulders as we mothers do.)
It starts as immediate as conception. You are so excited to be pregnant, but then the questions start. Are you going to stay at home? Are you going to breastfeed? Did your doctor say you could eat that because mine didn't? You aren't going to put a 6 week old in daycare, are you?
And the delight of being pregnant has suddenly been overtaken by the G word- guilt. You feel guilty if you do not stay at home with your children, you feel guilty if you use formula, you feel guilty if you have a c-section, you feel guilty if you drink pop while pregnant...and the list continues.
I battled with this syndrome terribly after my first daughter was born. I felt like I had to be supermom and do everything as "they" say. But really, who exactly is they?
I mean, I know they say nursing is proven to be better, but has anyone suffered drastic side effects from formula? Like I'm at the grocery store and a man is backing his car out of the parking spot without even looking, and almost hits my daughter and I. Do I say wow he must have been fed formula as a child?? NO!
Don't get me wrong, I am a total supporter of breast feeding your child; I'm just saying if you choose not to, don't feel guilty. I'm not a psychologist by any means, but I think that we ourselves are the biggest critics of ourselves. I'm not speaking for anyone, but I know I am guilty of putting the most pressure on myself. Isn't that just crazy?
Since I've had another child, I feel like I have treated my guilt syndrome better. When I'm feeling that obnoxious G-word, I try to take a step back and realize that I am doing a fine job. Sure, my kids act up in Target from time to time, and yes I have been that mom who shoves a sugary sucker in her 14 month old daughter's screaming mouth to get her grocery shopping done. And I'm the first to admit that I swore I would NEVER do that, but I am guilty of it (that nasty G word again).
The biggest battle I still struggle with is who am I. Am I a mother first? A wife first? Somedays the kids are so time consuming that I have neglected any quality interaction with my husband. I am so exhausted by dinner time, that I have honestly forgot to ask him how his day was. I value being a mother as one of the most precious responsibilities, but I also value my marriage. My husband is my best friend and my rock. Our marriage is the foundation for our family, so that too is just as important. For us, we try to reconnect by having a date night once every few weeks. That too, can be a battle with finding a babysitter, but it is very important to make the effort. Otherwise, in all the blissful chaos you start to lose the strong connection with each other.
So, this post is just for all the moms who can relate. Take it easy on yourself. We are all doing the best we can for our children and families. No doubt, we all have our crazy moments. No one is perfect, but our kids think we are and that's all that matters.