Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Word On Mom Guilt

I've been hearing a lot of stories lately about the guilt that is associated with motherhood.
I've had conversations about it, overheard discussions on it, and today on Hoda and Kathy Lee, they had guests on to talk about it. It's evident that this is an on-going battle that many moms deal with.

First of all, it's hard enough being a mom and making decisions that effect THE REST OF YOUR CHILD'S LIFE. We don't need your opinion on whether you think I should stay at home or go to work or if I should let her cry or pick her up or if I should breastfeed for 18 months or give her formula of if she should choose when she should start solids or if I puree every frickin thing so she can eat at 5 months or if she sleeps on her belly with a blanket or I strap her on her back or if I'm rigid with a sleep schedule or if I let her do what she wants....unless I ask you for your opinion.

I've been asked countless times (about going to work) "but isn't is so hard leaving your baby? <sad baby whiney frown face>" You know what? No. It's not. I don't know if I'm supposed to feel terrible about leaving her, but I know she's in wonderful care and gets to spend time with Grandma and her cousins. Don't get me wrong, my face sometimes tingles in anticipation of feeling her chubby cheeks smashed up against it. I can't wait to kiss her pouty lips and squish her pudgy thighs, but don't you dare make me feel like I've made some super difficult choice.

Another important point to make is that when you say things like "I know it's hard when mommy has to leave" or "some moms have to go to work" your kid gets the wrong message. Whether you stay home or go to a different job, what you're doing is work. "This is just the way it is" might be a more appropriate message.

Growing up, my mom had to work. She raised my siblings and me on her own (for a majority of the time) and I never questioned why she had to do it. It was the way it was. I don't know if she ever had any amount of guilt, per se, but for her it was just the way it was. No biggie. Now that I am an adult and have a child of my own, I see already how my actions and my response to life directly effects my baby. No need to get her stressed out about my personal guilt. Yes, I am going to deeply miss her when we go on vacation without her next month, but guilt? I don't think so. Traveling internationally across multiple timezones isn't fair to her. I suppose we could just not go, but it's also a possible once in a lifetime trip. I go trying to justify it.

Anyway, I know this might seem like it's sort of all over the place. I should have mapped this out better.
All I want to communicate is that guilt is bullcrap. Do you what you need to do to help your family thrive, and don't worry about it. If that means taking a kid free vacation (I'm talking to myself), or if it means closing the door while your baby blows off some steam at nap time, don't worry about it.

Have you sworn off mom guilt, or are you constantly feeling it creep up?

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