For the last few hours, I’ve been throwing myself a pity party. There’s been no cake, no guests, and lots of crazy mom guilt. Sound fun? Probably not, but I’ll bet you’ve been there too. My daughter’s kindergarten class is taking their last field trip of the year today…..and I’m here….at home. While I understand how important my role is at home today, and that I am here to meet the needs of my three other children, there is a huge part of me that feels incredibly guilty for not being there for her too. I am literally mad at myself for not having the ability to be in two places at once. Welcome to Crazy Town….population: ME!
This is silly. As mothers, we can’t expect the world of ourselves and allow guilt to eat away at us when we fail to meet our outlandish expectations.We also have to come to grips with the fact that we simply cannot do everything. We won’t be able to go on every field trip. Our children will need to eat the hot lunch sometimes. We can’t be on every committee at the school our kids attend. Our children won’t be able to do every extra-curricular activity they’re interested in. Every week won’t be full of playdates, outings, and magical experiences. We only have so much to give. You may feel yourself saying internally, “But SHE goes on every field trip!” “But HER kids do ten different after school activities!” (You know what I mean….I know you do.) We have to stop comparing ourselves to other mothers. We each have unique life circumstances that allow us to participate in our families in different ways. We can’t allow ourselves to feel guilty about that which we cannot change. We’re doing our best, and that is the best we can do.
One of my favorite bands has a song called “Everything to Everyone.” Here are a few lyrics that I think apply here…”You always try to be everything to everyone. Spin around and fall down, do it again. You stumble and you fall. Yeah, why don’t you ever learn?” How true is it that we keep hurting ourselves with our crazy expectations and then get right up and do it again the next day. We let mom guilt eat away at our spirit day in and day out….never stopping to see the folly of our thinking. Here are a few things I’d like for us to keep in mind as we go through the week:
1. Ditch the mom guilt! Guilt is usually just a manifestation of our own insecurities, and NOT a justified feeling . We’re doing the very best we can!
2. Comparison is the root of all inferiority! Remember that we each have a unique set of circumstances that allow us to serve, participate, attend, and meet needs differently.You don’t have to do what SHE is doing to be a good mom.
3. You don’t have to be everything for everyone! It’s okay to say no and prevent yourself from being spread so thin that you don’t have the desire or ability to help anyone!
4. Let others play a part! It’s hard for me to let my mom, or even my husband have those special experiences with my kids. I want to be the one to give them the special outings….create the memories…and it’s really a struggle for me to share my kids. However, God gave us FAMILY for a reason. Allowing my kids to have special time with others that love them doesn’t diminish or take away from our relationship.
(David (my husband) and Hannah on the bus to her field trip. She may not be with me, but she is with someone that loves her, and ya know what? When she gets home, she won’t love me any less for having gone with her Daddy instead of me.)
5. Your kids don’t love you because you DO things. They love you because you’re YOU.
To read more about releasing our guilt, check out the following posts!
Making Ourselves CRAZY: Fondant Deficiency and Sweatpants
Oh Bekki – this was so good! I am ashamed to admit that I do #4 so often. I read something recently that one of my facebook friends posted about kids not caring about what you are doing or how good you’re doing it…they just want YOU. That is so true…but it’s not just true for you, the mom; it’s dad’s and the rest of the family too! Kid’s just want to know they are relevant and valid to the people that claim to love them. I can spend all my time making the best snacks and coming up with the greatest projects and working on helping my kids excel, but in the end…what they love the most is for me to turn and look, with full concentration and attention, when they say “Mom!” and show me something that they are excited about.
I will defeat the guilt beast even if I have to work my entire life to do it. And hopefully, I’ll learn to share along the way 🙂
I know it’s hard, it was hard for me too, but Thank you, for letting me, as their Grandma, have some of those special memory making times too! And while we have fun doing those things, at the end of the day YOU are still the Mom, and I’m just the Grandma. I know I am incredibly biased, but you are probably the best Mommy I know, and my grandchildren are blessed to have you.