*This post is dedicated to my sister. My best friend, my support, my encouragement, and an unbelievably fantastic mother to 3 beautiful children. Sister, you rock. You are awesome and beautiful. You are doing an incredible job, and your children are living proof! When the bad days out weigh the good, I’m always here to split a bottle of wine with you! Love you always Sis!*
I want you to do me a favor.
Go pour yourself a glass a wine.
Okay, you good?
Great, now take a sip.
Tastes good right?
Damn straight it does!
Al ’right lets chit chat. I want to talk about Mommy Guilt. We have all been there. We’ve all felt the pull – The Dichotomy of Motherhood as I like to call it. And here’s the thing, you are doing a great job! You are balancing several things at once; you are juggling schedules, priorities, and other peoples’ needs. So, take another sip of your wine. And relax. Because you are doing a GREAT job! And I want you to know it.
You’re not perfect.
You’re not always right.
You’re not always patient, or understanding, or level headed.
Let me be real with you for a minute as we sip our wine. You are your own worst critic. You are getting in your way of relaxing and letting go. Remember this okay? I’m not saying it’s easy because girl, it’s not. The guilt is real. The pull is real. But you need to level with yourself too and recognize that you rock!
In any given day The Dichotomy of Motherhood can look something like this:
- Yay! Its morning – a new day. I can’t wait to see my baby!
TDOM: God, it’s early. I want to see my bed-head child but I want some sleep. And coffee. Always coffee.
- Girls’ night! Heels, wine, and no bed time for me! Yay!
TDOM: [5 minutes into Girls’ Night] I miss my baby. I wish I was home with him, but I’m having so much fun with the girls.
- Oh sweet heavens the baby is asleep. Now it’s my turn!
TDOM: My arms feel so empty. I just want to snuggle with my sweet baby, but I really want to crawl into my own bed and sleep for days.
The Dichotomy of Motherhood is real. And I think this is the crux of why we experience Mommy Guilt. It’s not because we are doing a bad job. It’s because motherhood is a mix of contradictions, and last I looked, no one has won a Nobel Peace Prize in String Theory proving that life can exist in multiple plans of the universe simultaneously. Damn.
I experienced my first contradiction shortly after Diapers was born. The all-consuming raw emotion of love I felt for this child landed me in tears. But the complete and utter frustration and exhaustion of around the clock nursing had me hesitating, just a split second, every time Diapers cried. This is when I got some sage wisdom from my mom: You have to take the good with the bad. Oh, so true.
This constant life of motherhood-contradictions makes us think we are doing something wrong. But in reality, we’re not. We’re just juggling. So maybe we yelled when we wish we didn’t, maybe we reacted when we should have listened, maybe we forgot something we shouldn’t have, and maybe we stayed in the bathroom a few minutes longer than necessary. You know, all of that is okay because we are not perfect. We are mothers doing the best we can. We are balancing the constant pull of needing alone time and deeply wanting to be with our children. We are navigating our days with our own personal needs and those of our spouse and children.
And the most ironic part of mother hood is that we deeply, intensely, profoundly, and genuinely, want to nurture our children, cater to them, love them, and be with them. But we are also individuals, craving and needing time alone. So we all do the best we can with delicately navigating the opposing feelings of motherhood. It’s a complex, well balanced, and skillfully woven role. It’s beautiful, fulfilling, messy, exhausting, and so so deeply rewarding. It builds us up, inspires us, and opens our heart to the most pure and truest form of love, while simultaneously wanting some time to ourselves.
You are not guilty because you think you are a bad mother. At least this is what I think. You feel guilty because The Dichotomy of Motherhood is a bastard. He’s a loyal friend that always brings us back to our children but he’s also constantly reminding us that we need to balance our needs as well. And for that he’s a friend. It’s a love hate relationship.
So mama, know this – you are doing a marvelous job. Your life is messy, complicated, exhausting, but oh so so beautiful. Full of love, gratitude, and joy. And on the days where the bad out ways the good, well, girlfriend we have wine.
Drink on mamas and know in the deepest part of your heart that you are doing a phenomenal job. You are a great mom, and when you need a girl’s night, or night off from putting the kids to bed, take it guilt free.
Love on my fellow mamas!