Ah, Mommy Guilt. That insidious feeling mothers experience which has no basis in reality, yet prevents us from enjoying such activities as Girls Night Out, uninterrupted showers, and kid-free vacations.
Recently, my son asked me to play a game of Simpsons Monopoly with him. I was taking a much-needed break after waking early and spending several hours at our church. I told him that I would take a rain check because I was exhausted. He pulled out that old Mom Guilt chestnut, “You never play with me!”
The Mommy Guilt flared, even though my reasoning was air-tight. I wasn’t turning him down to chain-smoke Marlboro Reds and play the slots, I just needed a breather before heading back to our church that night for a concert. A concert in which I was a featured soloist. I needed a moment to collect myself and push down the debilitating stage fright that has been my lifelong companion.
As my husband tells me often, the boy is eight. The idea of resting is foreign to him. Empathy is a brand-new concept. I am not scarring him for life by telling him no. Intellectually, I know this, but my rest was still troubled that day. Mommy Guilt.
My daughter went on her first field trip last week. A few days before, a chaperone sign up sheet appeared outside her classroom door. I eyed it warily, waiting for it to fill up so I could apologetically tell the teacher, “Oh darn! It looks like all of the slots are filled. Maybe next time.”
My daughter is a genial, easy-going girl. But she likes her mommy. A lot. We spend most of our time together, and she can be a Stage 5 Clinger. Her older brother is more independent. I enjoy volunteering at his school to connect and share experiences with him. Logically, I know that they have different needs. It is beneficial for my daughter to have experiences that I am not a part of, but Mommy Guilt thumbs it’s nose at logic.
Moms need someone in their life to tell them that it is okay. It’s okay to have something for themselves – be it a hobby, career, or just a weekly bath to decompress. I get so caught up in the mindset that only I can parent my children properly and forget that my kids have other amazing people in their lives. It is okay to let them step up. I don’t want to be the photobomb in the scrapbook of my children’s lives.
Mom Guilt tricks you into thinking that you have to be everything to everyone all of the time. It’s okay to be honest with your kids. Sometimes Mom is sick, sometimes Mom is sad, and sometimes Mom really wants to watch the season finale of Dallas that has been in her DVR for the past month.
It is okay to NOT be perfect.
Now repeat it back to me and maybe we will both start to believe it.
The above images can be found on Katie’s words board at Pinterest.