Mom guilt is a beast. It is the ominous haze that lingers in the back of our minds, making us second-guess ourselves, inflating our flaws, and tarnishing our strengths. It feeds on our insecurities and rattles our anxieties. It’s deafening and inescapable. No mom is absolved, but rarely do we discuss the plague.
Sometimes the guilt is predictable, such as five minutes after you’ve sat down in a — FINALLY — quiet home at the end of a year’s-long day rife with tantrums, misbehavior, mean mommy voice, and a drawn-out bedtime. Other times it’s illogical, such as when you lament your inability to express your undying love through butterfly-shaped lunch sculptures, or your failure to mold your trashcan-lickers into geniuses by way of upcycled sensory tables. Then there are the minute perceived failures escalated into life-changing monstrosities, like when you let your littlest eat who-knows-how-old Puffs from carseat crevices, or when your child’s dinner plate resembled less of of a food rainbow and more of a beige paint sample card. Yet still, there are the reasonable triggers that instigate an onslaught of mom guilt because, let’s be honest, we’re humans parenting humans all day, every day — so help us — and that leaves immense room for screw-ups.
So, what do I say to mom guilt? Don’t ignore it, don’t embrace it, just let it keep you humble. Let it fuel your growth towards becoming the kind of parent you strive to be. Let it enhance your self-awareness, not paralyze you with fear of failure or self-doubt. It’s always going to be there because it stems from love. You love your child(ren) so much, you self-flagellate because you believe your offspring deserve the very best.
In the end, do your best, know you’re human, and try again tomorrow. You’ve got this!