Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mom Guilt

Did you know this is a real thing? If you are a mom, you of course said ‘yes’. If you are a dad, you smartly chose to ask the mother of your children if this was a real thing. If you are neither, you have no idea what I am talking about, so I warn you to read at your own risk.

I was chatting with a friend the other day. We both have teenagers nowadays. We were reminiscing about the ‘early years’ of being mom’s. She had a few extra kids on me – I just have the one. Yet, we both remember clearly the first time we turned on the television for our adorable little ones, just so we could take a shower by ourselves!

Ahhh, the ‘early years’ of wishing your children would just stop touching you. Trying to remember what going to the bathroom all by yourself was like. Dreaming of being able to sit down and read one whole page in a book YOU wanted to read. The day you woke up and realized that you might just have a nervous breakdown if you heard the Wiggles theme song one more blasted time.

Of course, you also didn’t tell one single soul that this is what motherhood looked like! You didn’t share your frustration with even your best friends. What would they think? After all, these beautiful little people where what you had hoped for, prayed for, wanted to have on purpose!

So, you lived with what I have deemed ‘Mom Guilt’. Guilt about the television, guilt about locking the bathroom door just to pee, guilt over the stupid lollipop you gave in and bought to stop the tantrum that was going to happen in the middle of the grocery store.

My personal favorite moment, was when the words ‘Because I said so’ came out of my mouth and I realized I honestly did not care one little bit about the ‘teachable moment’. I wanted obedience – and I wanted it right now!

I also had this silly notion, that I was somehow also responsible for ensuring that every Sue, Jane, and Martha (Tom, Dick & Harry never would have noticed…. even when the women told them!) were impressed with the job I was doing as a mom, housewife, business owner, etc… So I was super mom, Martha Stewart, Carol Duvall, and wonder woman all at the same time. And I never told a soul how nuts it made me.

Until now of course.

As we continued to chat, my friend and I realized that as mom’s, we need to start cutting each other some slack! New mom’s need to know that we ALL wanted to go potty by ourselves! (Yes, you will call it the ‘potty’ once you’ve had to train a little one and it will take years to remember it’s actually called a bathroom, and by the time you remember, you don’t even care what it’s called.) We all wanted to throw something through the television at some stupid toddler cartoon our children just adored, simply because that one song just never stopped playing.

Yes, we all wanted to run away from home, the laundry was never done (let alone folded, and never put away – there really was no point) we ate lots of hot dogs (vegetables were reserved for the dinner time fight), bribed our children with pudding, stopped caring if they were cutting the dogs hair (which was made possible by the stupid safety scissors that weren’t supposed to cut), we wrote with crayons (the only writing utensil we could ever seem to find), we stepped around the toys that we were sure we just said needed to be picked up, argued with our husbands over whose turn it was to read the bedtime story (how many times in one day can you read the same story), and spent a ton of time feeling as though we had just entered an alternate world. And no, we never told anyone, because we too were afraid that others would judge us.

I was so excited the day my one-year old began walking! We celebrated, encouraged, got excited, cheered....and then realized that this walking thing led to running, which meant she could get away from me faster! What we were thinking???? And the whole idea of teaching them words? That was just dumb. Once they learn to talk, they can talk! Did you know that once children learn stuff, they tell you stuff...and they don't stop telling you stuff until they become teenager's, which is when you WANT to know stuff? No one thought to warn me or prepare me for these things. 

Here’s what I can tell you many years later…. I now get to go to the bathroom by myself!! I no longer have to bribe anyone, I get eye rolls instead of tantrums, less laundry (although still never folded or put away), and I can sit down without having to watch any toddler television!!! We can even watch programs with a rating higher than "G"!! Life gets so exciting in the later years of momdom!

So, to every young, new(er), overwhelmed mommy - cut yourself some slack! Right now you can't imagine the idea of missing these days. You can't even imagine surviving these days! First of all, no one wants to be Martha Stewart anymore anyway, so there is an unrealistic pressure you can get rid of right now. Secondly, none of us has ever caught up on the dishes or the laundry - still! Even if we do, a glass or a spoon or a towel always seems to appear out of thin air. (Actually, they appear out from under things where they were hiding all along just to torment you!) Third, little people do grow up eventually, and you DO begin to wonder why you thought that would be better. Fourth, eventually, as I am now doing, they begin to prepare to LEAVE your home! Even if you are ready for it, it is a little bit sad because it means a new season of life you forget was coming. 

And lets stop putting so much pressure on each other to have it all together shall we?

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