Mom Guilt is REAL.
The ‘mom guilt’ is real.
Since becoming a mother, I have experienced all of the different mom roles—working mom, stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, student mom. What I have come to realize is there is no right answer and until we realize that, the guilt can consume us. If you’re a mom, you already know what guilt I’m referring to. If you’re not a mom, then hold tight because you’re about to get a crash-course on ‘mom guilt’.
As a student mom I struggled with balancing academics and being a mother. How do I be that illusionary perfect mother and still teach my children that academics are most important? While running out of time on a final exam for my MBA, I felt guilty that I had stopped for a few minutes during the exam to give attention to my daughter. Then she began crying, and I was instantly consumed with the ‘mom guilt’ where I felt like an awful mother for trying to focus on my exam. And let me warn you, this was not a one-time thing but a daily thing. Yes, daily.
Working at home seemed like a great idea whether on a full-time or as-needed basis. I can still take care of my children and get work done/supplement my family’s income. Hahahahaha. Sorry, but I had to let out some laughter there. I honestly thought this would be the win-win scenario. However, any mother who has ever worked at home even for one day KNOWS that is not the case. This is definitely a lose-lose scenario. Similar to the student mom, you feel guilty for focusing on your kids and you feel guilty for focusing on your work instead of your kids. It’ all smiles and doing art projects in between emails, right? Wrong again. It’s meltdowns while on mute during a conference call and screaming as your children delete that proposal you just spent hours working on, then guilt about having screamed. It’s downright hard and here, the ‘mom guilt’ is certainly real.
Working at home is rough, so let’s try being a stay-at-home mom. We can cuddle and read books and have play dates. Nope. Wrong yet again. Whether you got any sleep or not last night, you’ll be up at the crack of dawn today. You’ll be exhausted, expected to do most, if not all, of the housework by yourself, meanwhile ‘playing with’ (aka occupying) your children so you can get as much done as possible. All the while, you should be preparing meals, teaching them lessons about life and academics and taking them on adventures and actually playing. By the end of the day, chances are you will have minimal, if any, adult interaction, have been out-numbered by your crib midgets on multiple occasions, and be so exhausted that you just want to go to sleep. But then, you can’t sleep because you feel guilty about what you didn’t get done in the house, and you feel the ‘mom guilt’ about all of the wonderful adventures and Pinterest projects you should have completed since you just stay at home all day.
So then, you become a working mom. You’re using those degrees you worked so hard for. Every morning the kids cry that they’re still tired as you get them up before the sun has risen. You become bitter as you rush through traffic and do the school/daycare drop-offs and finally make it to work. You pray that you won’t get the call your kids are sick and have to go be that mom who needs to work at home… again. You rush home and make sure everyone is fed and bathed and to bed. At the end of the day, you feel guilty that you had no substantial interactions with your children, and you feel that ‘mom guilt’ bury deep inside you. You may even cry yourself to sleep until it’s Friday and you can finally spend some time with your children. But even then you’ll be stressed about the upcoming workweek that you can’t even enjoy the time you have.
At the end of the day, we all feel guilty. So, the next time you’re looking over thinking the grass in greener on the other side, realize that mom is struggling too. The ‘mom guilt’ is real, and no matter what role you take on it will be there, full-strength, and ready to kick your ass. So, keep your mom friends close, your wine even closer, and just know that at the end of the day when that ‘mom guilt’ consumes you, you’re love is consuming your children.