We’ve all done it, right? We’ve had these grand ideas about what kind of mom we will be. The things we will or won’t allow. How long we’re going to stay home and what kind of life we’re going to provide for our babies. Our ideas are well intended but then life happens, kids happen, bills happen, and suddenly all those ideas about being a perfect mom aren’t feasible. That gap between the mom you envisioned yourself to be and the one you are is prime space for mom guilt. I haven’t figured out the formula to completely rid myself of mom guilt (if you have it, holla at me! Lol) but I’ve worked hard to balance it in ways that still allow me to be a present and bomb mom (if I do say so myself) while still acknowledging that life is not perfect and neither am I.
Mom guilt hit me HARD when Cadence was born. Circumstances were drastically different when it was time for me to go back to work with her and the process really shook me up. Even though I worked really hard to balance my schedule, breastfeed, coordinate nap times, and sneak away to give her ample one on one time with me, my mom guilt told me it wasn’t enough. I constantly questioned if she felt slighted, If Carter felt slighted, if I should be doing more. It would eat me up and ultimately it affected how I parented. I began parenting from a place of guilt. I found myself catering to tantrums, overindulging, and over extending myself. Enough was enough.
The most valuable tool I learned in a life coaching course I took (that I’ll tell you more about later) is that I don’t have to accept negative thoughts and judgments as truth. We can challenge the negative thoughts that plague us and speak our truth back to it. A cognitive distortion that I found myself engaging in as a newly single mom was filtering. Filtering is basically the process in which a person magnifies the negative aspects of a situation so large that they filter out all the positive. I was doing so much right. We all do so much right, but the moment we slip up, the moment we exercise our humanness, now we are bad moms, now our kids will be scarred for life. It is crazy when you think about it, but we do it constantly without a second thought. We need to stop that pattern and start telling ourselves the truth. I started reminding myself of the truth in those moments. If I overslept, I reminded myself of the 30 days I woke up on time and managed to get 3 humans out the door before the crack of dawn. If I raised my voice and felt guilty then I would remind myself of the many times I maintained my patience. Nipping those negative thoughts in the bud before they have a chance to take root and then replacing them with the truth is my number one tool as a single mom who is also a flawed human.
The bottom line is this…I will mess up, I will not get it right every single time, But I’m a damn good mom and so are you!
I am surprised there isn’t a connection to your own relationship with your Mom. We both know how much of “flawed human” she can be but that has never stopped us from seeing how much of a rockstar she is. I feel the same will be true with other parents. In the end your children recognize just how much you sacrifice and pour into them as you give everything of your own self. This overshadows the temporary moments of a “flawed human”. You are quite an amazing Mom.
I love this article. Thanks Nikkia!