We have all been here. One way or another the creature known as “mom-guilt” has come to hold us captive in our own minds.
To put it simply: it feels like you’re ruining your kids and it sucks.
Shaking free of mom guilt is an incredibly difficult task. Mainly because it is tailored to fit each and everyone of us differently and uniquely.
It sinks its claws in and holds on tight. Our husbands can’t help us with it because they don’t lay in bed toiling over the fact that maybe they yelled a little too loud or “tainted their kids” because you could literally not handle another outing with your kids in a public place. Your bestie can’t help you with it because hers looks and is different from yours.
Well here is the deal babes… Your kids probably won’t remember these things that we lose sleep over. Wanna know why? Because it’s small stuff. Sure one or two memories may stick but you’re not ruining your kids because throwing them an all out Pinterest-worthy birthday party is not going to happen this year (or like ever). Will they remember that YOU the chosen one of fun-planning opted out of some fantastic event? Or that you let them have Tylenol with Red dye #40, OR even allowed them to eat pesticide ridden Goldfish? I’mma say no.
All in all mom-guilt can actually be used as a tool to teach our kids life skills. Stick with me here, mmmk?
Scenario (I am living this guys 100%): my kids want to go to a super cool mega-fun pumpkin patch that costs $12 PER PERSON over the age of two. Sooooo basically everyone in my family…
$12 x 4 = $48 That is almost $50 and that’s not even including buying a freaking pumpkin, okay? That’s A LOT of cash money dolla bills, y’all. Ease your mom guilt with this: if you can’t afford it don’t feel bad saying no. Why? Because you are teaching your children to be frugal with their money.
You can’t spend money you don’t have, period. It’s called a budget and those are really hard to stick to sometimes. Need an alternative? $50 could pay for at least half if not more of a family membership to a museum or aquarium where you can visit all year round instead of a one time experience. You have options and you rule your roost.
But they want to go so bad!
I hear ya, but it’s not a need.
Here is another reality: I know full well that (my) kids are too young to be appreciative of my husband and I dropping a fat stack of cash on a “wonderful experience”. AKA they will be misbehaved before AND probably after this event. Nothing ruins family time like a toddler with a bad attitude or ungrateful heart. #dontbeafunsucker Seriously though, some things are better when you wait for the right time to do them.
Am I telling you to not go to the pumpkin patch? No… I am saying that it’s okay if you just can’t this year. If it is truly that important to your family or it is a tradition not worth passing up, you will find a way to make it work. If you getting through school means leaving your kid at daycare for an extra hour to help you study, they aren’t going to die from not playing with their own toys. You’re teaching them dedication to your goals just talk to them about it so they know what’s up. If surviving a cold from hell that’s been ruling your life for two weeks means the kids live on chicken noodle soup and mac and cheese, that’s okay too. You’re teaching them it’s good to listen to their bodies when they aren’t feeling well and showing them how to take care of themselves even if it means a lil’ junky comfort food.
How about another zinger? I know I am not alone in this… When I hear people advise me on enjoying my small children (you know what I am talking about) those little comments such as, “don’t blink” or “it goes by so fast, you’ll look back one day…” Bluuergghhhhh, YES OKAY Debra I get it, someday I will miss this… Today isn’t that day guys.
I am overwrought with guilt over this because I don’t enjoy every.single.second of my itty bitties. I have days where I can’t wait to miss these days. Because being a parent is freaking hard! I am a human who also has a capacity for how much stimuli I can take. Like how many times in an hour someone can touch, grab, or hit at me. How many times I can listen to my name being screeched across the house, for who knows what reason this time, even though I just sat down on this @#$%&^% couch. I love them always even though it feels impossible to enjoy my small children some days.
In that one, we are teaching our children physical boundaries, communication skills, how to read a room, and (my favorite) forgiveness. Is everyone looking at you all crazy because you’re causing a scene? Read the room and change your behavior. It’s a slow learning curve but our little ones develop their moral compass between 7-12 years of age. Now is the time to impart our wisdom and teach them the right way to lose their temper. It sucks when it happens but the reality is that it does happen and only we have the power to harness it and turn it into something good.
Life lessons are usually learned the hard way our challenges are what shape our character. Parenting is not always fun, but it’s the experience as a whole that matters. Don’t focus so much on the small things. Take it one step at a time and give yourself some grace. No one is perfect so for goodness sake step down from the highlight reel on social media and enjoy the ride that is your chaos.
XOXO – Caarin