In the wake of two great articles, Don’t Carpe Diem and Friendly Fire, going viral, we thought it was an appropriate time to publish this guest blog submitted a few weeks ago.
“I’m not one of those mothers.” I hear my conscience saying that often.
As if it would be so bad to have your whole family out in stained pajamas, eating McDonalds?
Remember when McDonald's was a treat and not the devil?
Mother Clucking Guilt. We look around and judge. Ourselves, others, internally, out loud. To anyone who will affirm that we are better moms than those that we judge.
Your friend puts her kids to bed at 9:00 pm, you scoff and think, how could she keep that baby up so late? Yours are blissfully dreaming at 7:00 pm…and then at 10:00 pm and 1:00 am and…now who’s the dummy?
So when you said family bed, you meant it literally.
For the most part we’re just critiquing ourselves by comparing our strategies and philosophies to others. Hell, my writing this post is merely a shot out to the Universe “AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?!”
And what’s right and what’s wrong as a mother? Does anyone have a guidebook to navigating the world of cloth diapers, homemade baby food, paraben free, no pvbs, pvcs, bfps, (what do these acronyms stand for?) Can’t we just stop putting bad shit in our stuff so we do not have to do this song and dance? At least I don’t smoke crack or spank my kids. Right?
And then we go to Target looking for “organic” baby wash products on sale. Doesn’t that defeat the larger purpose by giving money to big corporations?
Can you tell me where the composters are? I swear I'm a hippie.
Man. It’s tough to be a mom. We all compare notes and offer advice and still have guilt.
If you’re a stay at home mom (SAHM) – See, we even have acronyms for different types of moms now. Aren’t we just moms? Period? - you feel guilty for not contributing financially but you’re supposed to feel good that you’re there for your kids “full-time.” You stay home and cater to everyone but yourself and then feel guilty for wanting a life of your own.
"If anyone needs me, Mommy will be anesthetizing herself with vodka in the bathtub..."
If you “work outside of the home” (it’s no longer politically correct to say working mom unless you want a mob of stay at home moms on your door step) you feel guilty for putting your kids in childcare and not spending enough time with them.
"Yes, that's M for Mental Hospital..."
Or you’re one of the “lucky” moms with a work at home job situation. Because it’s so easy to get work done with your two-year old clung to your leg.
"Now wait. Let's think outside the box here...Henry put the blowtorch down."
Mom Guilt is a whore. You feel her with you all of the time. Guilty if you let your kids snack too much, not enough, or not on the right things. Guilty if you don’t cloth diaper, breast feed or feed them 100% organic food. Guilty if you accidentally swear in front of your kids, guilty if you drink in front of your kids, guilty if you yell at your kids. It’s like one big guilt trip train ride and we’re all just fueling the engine with more guilt by looking around and judging. Then that inner critic gets the best of us and we fall into the traps of modern society.
Where did we go wrong and when did this guilt start? Is it just in America or is this happening all over the world? Do these mothers feel guilty? I’d say not. Those bitches have flying saucers hanging from their lips.
Nope. No guilt. Just a tremendous amount of pain.
Why do Moms bear the burden of guilt for the whole family? Did I screw up my kids while I was pregnant, did they inherit my aunt’s crazy gene? Should I baptize, christen or even cover religion given society? We’re creating rounded individuals folks, let’s not for one minute forget to give them faith!
I'm feeling slightly unstable.
I had my eighty-year old grandmother stay with us for a weekend and I knew I was under strict scrutiny. A mother to six kids post World War II era. She has withstood the test of a fifty plus year marriage (how?), has raised kids, fed her kids formula (because it was a women rights issue not to!) and marched right into this century feeling no guilt at all. She observed the ways of the new mom era and told me that she thought that the way we do it is better. We focus more on the kids and less on our husbands, house and other stuff. (Dig.) Although she did tell me my windows were dirty.
"Is this pan just darling!"
She also commended me on how I nursed my baby, on how patient I was with my children, on how I let them run amuck all throughout the house (that never would have flown in her day). And I left the weekend feeling pretty good about myself. After all, I do have good kids. Except for when they pee in public.
I tried to sell my cloth diaper collection the other day and I could not work up the courage to actually part ways. Not because they are better for my baby and not because I think they are absolutely adorable, but because I was worried what others might think. “See she couldn’t do it…I told you.” I could hear the schizophrenic judging all the way to the laundry room so I did my best and gave it another shot. Day two and my kids have done a combined eleven poops. Who’s really winning this battle? And what’s a little bit of chlorine going to do anyway?
Rather than live with all this pent up guilt, I’ll just say it and rid myself of the dead (midriff) weight I’ve been carrying around:
I don’t sterilize the pacifiers every time they fall on the floor.
I don’t brush my kids’ teeth twice daily.
I let my kids watch T.V. (“T.V.! T.V.! T.V.!” That’s all I hear now.)
I don’t spend ALL day playing educational games with the kids.
I don’t always wipe when the kids pee. (They’re boys!) But I do try to wipe when I pee.
I feed my baby formula when I want a night of libations and liberations. What’s the point of exclusively breast feeding if your baby is getting wine in their milk?
I floss once a week.
I eat the rest of my kid’s meals. (Which quite honestly are homemade organic goodies that I make because I’m a chef.)
I literally begged for an epidural. When they told me I couldn’t have one, I acted like a complete baby until they got me one. There were two babies in the room for about 10 minutes. Me and the one inside me.
I take pregnancy tests monthly. Not that we don’t use birth control because we do, er, sometimes. But because I am tremendously scared of having 3 under 3. 2 under 2 is like having twins except one can run and the other can’t.
I get woken up by kids at least 3 times a week.
I had a glass of wine while I was pregnant.
I am never going to be a size 2 again. A normal body will have to do. Oh the humanity.
I have not decided which Catholic Montessori Charter school my kid will go to in 2 years.
And the list goes on and on and on…
But there are a lot of things I do right and someday I will just have to give myself credit for them. Until then, hopefully my daily glass of wine ritual has not screwed my sons up for life.
Let’s all take a chapter from Glennon Melton’s book and put the guns down.