Mom Guilt: When Being Mediocre Doesn't Feel Good Enough
When I tell people I have two toddlers, I usually get the obligatory, “You must be busy!” And if they are a mama, they will usually give me some sort of slow nod, giving what I just said the gravity it truly deserves.
As I lay in bed at night, I usually go over my day in my head with my kids. Did I say the right thing? Did the consequence fit the “crime”? Did I kiss them enough, or hug them enough? Did I tell them how much I loved them? Did I yell a little too loud? Is their diet healthy and what it should be? Did anything happen today that they will bring up in some Freudian therapy session later in their forties?
And despite these inner conversations and play-by-play of the day, the pressure to just be MEDIOCRE in motherhood can feel daunting in a world full of organic food, fine motor skill development, and perfect Instagram squares. How do you know if you are even doing an average job?
There is not ONE mama I know, NOTTA-ONE, that when asked about whether they are perfect, they say Yes. 100% I am perfect. Most of them kind of look away, or down to their glasses of wine (these are my kind of people) and they say something along the lines of, Well, no, I kind of suck. or, I’m trying my best. Or, I have actually no idea. Or, I just take it day by day.
Sometimes I think that there is a sort of shame talking about how hard it actually is. I feel guilty complaining about my kids because I logically know that I am so lucky to have them, that they are healthy and alive, and that I am fortunate enough to be able to have children at all.
But that doesn’t make it any less hard when you have to wake up in the morning earlier than expected because one of them pooped their pants, or go to sleep later than usual after a particularly exhausting day.
That does not mean that if your child throws their dinner across the kitchen floor, you should be any less irritated.
That does not mean if your child refuses to sleep in their bed, you should be any less exhausted.
That doesn’t mean that if your tiny torturer had an embarrassingly long temper tantrum somewhere out in public, you should cry any less when you finally get them strapped in the car seat.
Or that even if you are running on empty and can barely keep your eyes open, you instead feel an immense amount of pressure be #Blessed.
IT IS HARD and sometimes it absolutely SUCKS. And I think that we need to feel ok saying that and alleviate the perpetual Mom Guilt of trying to make everything perfect. Perspective should not mean that pain should be diminished, or that being a mom should feel any easier.
Motherhood is magical in a million different ways. But for every moment of magic, there IS a moment where you anxiously look at what time it is and begin to count down to bedtime (and then look at all the cute photos of your kids later that night on your phone).
Talking to those that have been “in it” for awhile does help and can give hope.
“You are in the weeds!” they say. “It gets better!” “It gets easier!” But I have to tell you, if changing my 2 year old daughter’s pull-up after Taco Tuesday is the worst part of my evening, I honestly would take that right now over worrying about her being bullied on social media without my knowing. Hands. Down.
There’s that power of perspective again.
So the next time you are giving yourself a hard time about giving them chicken nuggets for dinner one too many times, or that you decided to put them to bed a little earlier than usual to give yourself a few extra moments of peace before The Bachelor comes on, or that there are actually 100 photos you took before choosing the “perfect” one to share, know there is another mama out there just like you, just trying her best, taking it one day at a time.