Don’t Let Me Get Me: Mom Guilt

November 09, 2018

Vanessa mickey ears

What’s purple, stretched thin and has food splashed all over? Basically every mom. Purple from those dark circles under her eyes, stretched thin both mentally and physically (hello, pregnancy mementos) and food all over because, well, #toddlerlife. Whether she stays at home, works from home, or punches in every morning, each and every mama is exhausted in her own unique way. Not just because of the different ways her kids, partner, or work challenge her each day. A year and a half into this whole motherhood thing myself, I have come to personally know and recognize that so much of the tiredness of a mom comes from within herself, because there is no level of mental anguish as great as that of a mother’s.
You may have heard it said before that there are several innate differences between men and women, and probably my favorite illustration I’ve heard to date is that a man’s mind is like a drawer organizer, where everything has its own compartment and stays separate from everything else, where a woman’s mind is like a bowl of spaghetti, with everything mixed together and happening at the same time. I love this illustration because it rings so true in my family. While my husband is at work, the things we need to accomplish at home are the furthest from his mind. Meanwhile, I so relate to that bowl of spaghetti. As summer comes to a close, and I begin to gear up for another new school year teaching preschoolers with special needs, I jump on Pinterest for fresh new ideas, stop to feed my toddler a snack, remember that blog post I started working on and add a sentence to it before I remember there’s a load of wet laundry in the washer that needs to be transferred, at which point I’m reminded to schedule a visit for my dog to see her vet, which I should probably set for the same day I have to take the vehicle in for service, and try not to forget to start dinner soon... you get the picture. And I’m not even working right now.
I will admit that before becoming a parent myself, I always thought the stay at home mom had such a good life, but honestly, any and all mothers have it so hard, and it’s mostly due to the fact that we put it all on ourselves. As a working mom who has the privilege to stay home a few months of the year and experience the best of both worlds, I have to truly say that not one of us has it easy, and we have mom guilt to thank for that. The mental work it takes to balance everything that I listed above alone is enough to drive anyone insane, but we mothers take it one step further, because if you’re anything like me, when just one of those 6 dozen items on your checklist rolls over one day, you can’t help but feel even the tiniest bit like a failure. You forgot to book an appointment, you missed an ingredient on the grocery list, you showed up late for practice, and lo and behold, a little grey cloud so quickly forms above your head and showers down self-loathing and defeat.
So allow me to be your daily reminder that you are more than your to-do list, mama. You are more than you give yourself credit for. You are the only one who can care for your kids with the love and fervor of a mother, because you’re the only one they’ve got. You brought them into the world, and got them this far (with some help, of course). You do your best with what you’re given each day, every day. You put smiles on their faces, food in their bellies, and you keep your
family and yourself trudging forward into whatever challenges life brings your way. And you are to be praised for that. You are more than enough for them. Be enough for yourself. You are your harshest critic, but look at yourself through their eyes and who you see may just surprise you.
There are a million and one posts out there just like this one, and that’s because as a mother you need a million and one reminders... often to remember to return the overdue library books, but not as frequent and far more necessary, that you are doing an incredible job at loving your kids, nurturing them, and just in general being the best mama you can be! So hug your babies, feel those tiny little arms squeezing you, and mentally squeeze yourself as you breathe in that snuggle. The more you focus on that, the faster those clouds forming will just dissipate. You’ve got this, girl.
P.S. If you caught that P!nk reference in the title, you’re just a little extra awesome.

Vanessa s a South Florida native, avid music aficionado and a proud Walt Disney World annual pass holder. She is wife to a technical director/sound engineer husband, mother to one sweet but strong-willed little boy and one furry, spunky girl. She has been teaching for over five years, predominantly working with preschool students with special needs. Vanessa has been blogging for a little over a year at Dumpy Diapers, where she writes about various motherhood and lifestyle topics and offers guidance with a humorous spin to moms, first-timers or veterans alike.
Instagram: @dumpydiapers
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