Guilt is a wasted emotion. I thank my own mom, my best friend to this day, for teaching me this early on in life. Guilt wastes time. Guilt wastes energy. Guilt wastes your youth away.
Guilt will NOT make you a good mother… it will only distract you, push you down, question your own confidence and annoy you so that you take it out on your family.
And that’s not fabulous at all.
So when cable news network HLN (my old stomping grounds for about 5 months in 2011, after LadyP and during LilMiss’ early incubation period) put out a call to Raising America with Kyra Phillips fans to take the “Confessions of American Moms” challenge with Parenting Magazine… of course I was all over it. The survey asks all kinds of juicy questions about resenting your spouse, yelling at your kids, sex, nursing, you name it (ones that really make you think, mind you!), but the one about MOM-GUILT resonated with me the most. Mostly because of how I feel about it. Raising America aired a short soundbite about how I don’t give in to guilt, but here’s my full vid if you’re curious:
And just to prove that what I said in the video above was the truth and only the truth, I’ll tell ya this: I was able to shoot this video only because I plopped my 2.5 year old and 1 year old in front of the TV to watch their fave song-and-dance video so that I could have 5 minutes to shoot my video in a quiet space. Worth it? Sure. A little TV never hurt anybody (with any luck they’ll follow in their mom’s footsteps and pass me up). And, I may be a new mom, but I’m finding these kids are just like us, folks. They like up-time. They like down-time. They like mommy-time. They like alone-time. They like chocolate sometimes. And they like TV time too. Everything in moderation. I didn’t feel “guilty” for letting the tube babysit them for a while. It all balances out in the wash. Had I bogged myself down with “I feel guilty for putting them in front of the TV” that would’ve done me no good (and you wouldn’t have a semi-entertaining video to watch). Right?
The truth is: I don’t have time for guilt. NO ONE DOES. I repeat: Guilt will not make you a good mom. It will only make you doubt yourself and possibly lead to….
Failure. I can’t bear to hear yet another mom say “I feel so guilty… like I’m failing all the time.” Stop it. Now. Because you shouldn’t and you’re not… and it’s kinda offending me. If you love your kids and are making choices everyday for the greater good of your family, YOU’RE NOT FAILING AND YOU DON’T NEED TO FEEL GUILTY. If you offer your best that you can each day to day, then you are NOT failing and have NOTHING to feel guilty for. All we can do is our best… and it IS good enough whether or not we brainwash ourselves saying that it isn’t. Guilt sucks the life out of you, doesn’t give anything in return, challenges your confidence and know-how…. and nobody has time for nags like that.
Yes, moms are stretched too thin. Yes, moms are tired. Yes, moms have to be everything for everyone. Some of us wish we worked less, some of us wish we worked more. But women are the superior gender, remember? (wink wink) On the times that you need to, accept that you’re beat, stretched too thin, exhausted and then move on… without the guilt of wishing you’d done something differently, spent more time with someone, made a better dinner… whatever. Tomorrow, you get another chance for a do-over. Of course, I’d be lying if I said I never had thoughts of “Gee, maybe I should try to spend less time checking emails at the playground next time.” Of course I do. So, I do it next time. But I make the choice to not dwell and overanalyze every single move I make.
I’m finding that choosing to SAY NO to the “I feel guilty” tendencies puts my mind in the right place and sets me up for success. Think of it this way: If someone constantly told themselves that they felt like they “felt guilty” at their job/profession (outside the home), chances are their quality of work and productivity would downward-spiral and cut their chances of getting that promotion to zilch. Guilt leads to worry, which leads to doubt, which leads to possible failure. (I suppose that working in an industry that constantly blows smoke up your butt – only to kick you in that same tushy later – has made me somewhat resilient. Even when I have an off-day on a job, or don’t get a job, or don’t meet someone’s expectations I have no choice but to tell myself that “I am fabulous” regardless. I’m taking this attitude into my own mom-dom to make sure that I’m the best I can be for my girls.
The best you can do is to give the best you have every single day. Some days will be better than others, but it’s the big picture that counts. It all evens out (at least, that’s what my mom tells me). Make your choices, do your thing, don’t look back and that is that. That is successful. Bye-bye guilt. Maybe I’ll be a big wad of guilt when my girls get older and the balance of all our schedules gets more complicated with their wants and needs, but for now I’m swatting away any guilt that flies my way for the pest that it is.
Moral of the tale? I just wish we’d all stop with the self-imposed guilt and instead spend more time congratulating ourselves (in our own heads) for the bang-up successes we ARE pulling off as moms on a day-to-day basis. It’s time we start giving ourselves “F’s” for fabulous… and not feel guilty about it.
DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH MOM GUILT?