We all have Mommy guilt whether we are working Moms or stay at home Moms. Most of this guilt, we bring upon ourselves and it stems from our unconditional love for our children.
However, I am not here to talk about that kind of Mommy guilt. That kind of Mommy guilt, in a way, can almost be worn as a badge of honor because ultimately the guilt we feel comes from a good place – a place of love; a place of devotion. This guilt occurs because we, as Moms, want to do more for our children but we only have so much time, so much money, and so much energy to do so. Outside factors, beyond our control, contribute and cause this kind of Mom guilt.
But this different kind of Mommy guilt that I am referring to is the guilt that we may feel at the end of the day after we tuck our babies into bed. Working Moms attempt to meet unattainable expectations both at work and at home. More often than not we are the rope in a nonstop game of tug of war as our work lives and our home lives pull at us in completely opposite directions. We never actually win at this game but just play hard enough to stay in it somehow.
I’ve heard stay at home moms say that day after day of caring for their kids with little to no adult interaction while wearing sweats and having messy hair makes them feel isolated and alone; almost forgetting the women that they once were.
Working Moms often count the minutes until it’s time to go home, yet when we finally get there, we have a laundry list to get through – that may or may not include laundry. Who am I kidding? It always includes laundry! We have to make dinner, feed our children, give them baths, and get them ready for bed; making the strongest of attempts to fit into two hours all of the love and hugs that we weren’t able to give them during the day.
But during our nightly chores, there’s a part of us looking at the clock and thinking… just a half hour left until bedtime. And as that thought comes into our head, we smile to ourselves and feel a sense of relief, which helps us to push ourselves to finish our unending list of chores. I know stay at home moms must do the same; craving a couple hours of freedom each evening before passing out from utter exhaustion.
As I sit watching my children drift off into dreamland I feel a sense of accomplishment that I’ve made it through another day and a sense of gratitude that I’m about to get my coveted “me” time. Then, that different type of Mommy guilt that I mentioned earlier begins to creep in. How can I be excited to be getting time to myself when there is nowhere I’d rather be than with my kids? Am I living only for this downtime? Am I wishing their childhood away? Am I missing it all by just going through the motions? Am I a bad Mother? And as a working Mom who just spent the day away from her kids, how can I be craving time away from them? This is the guilt that eats away at us in a different way than the more noble kind of Mommy guilt.
The way that I get over this type of Mommy guilt is twofold. First, I realize that my kids know without a shadow of a doubt that they are my entire world; because they are. They never question that I want to be with them every second that I get. Second, I know that I’m a good Mom – no – I know that I’m a great Mom. But I’m only human and it is totally and completely exhausting to give 100% of yourself away – every single minute of every single day – up until that point that our kids fall asleep.
Whether it be to our company at work or our family at home, Moms are givers. And those couple of hours of downtime before we go to bed allow us to somehow keep our sanity and recharge; giving us the strength to be able do it all again the next day and the next day after that. And yes, time does pass by quickly but if you are working hard for your family, loving your kids, and making sure they know you are there for them totally and completely, you aren’t missing anything. You are living and Mommying exactly how you should be. You are doing your best and your best turns good kids into good people which is our biggest goal in all of this. At the end of the day, before you close your eyes, peel away the layers of the day that don’t truly matter – work, chores, frustration, exhaustion, etc. and what do you have? If the answer is a grateful heart then you are living right and there is nothing to ever feel guilty about.