Monday, August 18, 2014

Mommy guilt

I don't know about all of you mommies out there, but I suffer from a major problem that I'll just call "Mommy guilt."

It is a constant black cloud that follows me around, threatening to rain on my parade.

The minute Henry was born, I became afflicted with this disease.  It started when Henry was less than 24 hours old and the lactation consultant was asking me about my nursing plans.  Knowing I was going back to work, and wanting to set a realistic goal, I told her I wanted to commit to breastfeeding for 3 months, and then re-evaluate at that time.  I could see the judgment in her eyes.  The slight pursing of the lips that communicated that she didn't agree with this decision.

It's this same expression that you'll see on every person that has any involvement in your child's life.  The scrunched eyebrows, feigning concern; the slight eye twitch as they force a smile through their condemnation.  Everyone does it.  Fellow mommies, teachers, check out ladies, family, friends.  I've even recognized the expression on my own face when encountering a parenting idea that isn't to my particular liking.
I am plagued with Mommy guilt right now.  Several months ago, I took advantage of the situation when our nanny quit, and decided to rearrange my schedule, go part time and stay home with Henry.  I am with him all day every day Monday through Friday, and half of the weekends.  I roll myself out of bed after 3, 4, maybe 5 hours of sleep so I don't miss out on anything.  Why?  Because of mommy guilt.

We toured a wonderful Christian school in Pearland that has a Mother's Day Out program several weeks ago.  It had everything we wanted.  A Christian education, loving teachers, small classrooms, and it is about 10 minutes from our house.  Winning!

The minute we walked out the door, it started.  That heavy, oppressive feeling that is mommy guilt.

Is it right for me to send my child to Mother's Day Out, so I can have a few hours to myself?

Is it right for me to miss 10 hours of Henry time every week?

What milestones will I miss?  Walking?  Talking?  

Will he know that I've abandoned him?

Y'all these are not rational thoughts.

I can't tell you how to get over these fears and anxieties because I'm not over them myself.  But I know this: we were not created to live this way.  We were made to live a life encouraged, comforted, loved, not judged, guilty and anxious.

So if you are also suffering from Mommy guilt, practice this with me.  Every time those little voices creep in your head, whispering lies to you, practice speaking these small truths to yourself.

"You're a wonderful Mommy."  "You're the exact Mommy he needs."  "He loves you."  "He needs you."  "You were created perfectly to be his Mommy and no one else's."

Take heart, dear friend.  The days are long, the years are short.  Love and be loved.  Don't waste your time on anything else.

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