Mom guilt.

You’ve read them. I’ve read them too. Blogs and parenting articles about a so-called battle happening in our very own local playgrounds, public libraries, and splash pads: the “mom war”.

I’ve seen articles posted on Facebook and Twitter – blogs like this one, which defends stay-at-home-moms. Or articles like this one, which defends working moms. Angry parents have penned quite a bit on this topic – angry parents who apparently hang out with some pretty inconsiderate people who say pretty inappropriate things (my question to these authors: why do you hang out with such ignorant, rude people? Please ditch them immediately!)

Frankly, I’m growing tired of hearing about this topic. I’ve been at home with Monk A and Monk B for 17 months now and in all my encounters with friends, family and even strangers, I have yet to come across someone who is rude enough to imply that I don’t work hard every day. Mind you, I don’t get out much or interact with many adults, so that may be the reason. But even so, when it came time to resign from my previous job in public relations, my “working mom” friends were overwhelmingly supportive of my decision and still are.

Here’s the thing: we were all judged by others before we became parents and we were all guilty of judging others before we became parents. So why does it sting so much more post-kids? I’ll tell you why: mom guilt.

Parents, particularly moms, feel guilty all the time about everything – myself included. In fact, as I write this, Monk A and Monk B are watching a second consecutive episode of The Wiggles and I feel guilty because I read that TV will probably damage their brains in some way.

Here are the things I have felt most guilty about since Monk A and Monk B were born:

  1. Letting one baby cry while I attend to the other.

  1. Feeding them only formula from 3.5 months onward because pumping became too tiring and time consuming for me to bear any longer.

  1. Feeding them jarred baby food instead of making my own.

  1. Sleeping training.

  1. Not sleeping training them properly.

  1. The urge I get to throw them across the room at 3:00 a.m. in the morning, after two hours of listening to them scream.

  1. Yelling or speaking unnecessarily harshly at them (most frequently occurs the day after #6). One particularly low point was when I actually swore at a six month old Monk A because he wouldn’t drink his bottle.

  1. The time I accidentally dropped a full jar of Desitin cream on Monk B’s head.

  1. Not talking to them enough during the day “in a constant stream” like the parenting books say I should.

  1. Letting them watch too much television and probably damaging their brain cells. Or, at the very least, preventing new brain cells from forming.

Admittedly, I should feel guilty about some of these things (um, swearing at your baby isn’t cool). But the truth is, I shouldn’t feel guilty about most of the items on this list. And neither should you.

To say parenting is challenging is an understatement. At times, it pushes you to your absolute breaking point and beyond. It’s a 24/7 unrelenting job that you’re often performing in less than ideal conditions (for me, it’s lack of sleep). But it’s the job that you want to succeed at more than anything else in the world.

So this mom war we hear so much about? It’s not really about a battle we have with each other. No, it’s about the battle we wage with ourselves. And I say it’s high time we call a truce.

6 thoughts on “Mom guilt.

  1. Laura – this is a wonderful post. I just love it! It hits home…a little too much at points! It also makes me wish we’d hung out more when I was on mat leave 😉 You’re one of the best/most well adjusted moms out there!

  2. Thanks, Lindsay! You’re too kind. Let’s hang out one weekend soon. I promise to keep the Desitin cream away from your little boy’s head.

  3. Oh god the guilt about everything is terrible! The men feel none of it which is even worse. When I feel this way I think of why I have such expectations in the first place and think of my mom who basically raised 5 of us alone most of the time and then I realize we all turned out just fine. I just lower my standards then feel better haha!

  4. You are human first, mom second. All the frustration, tiredness is natural and “normal”. Guilt however is self-imposed and really self-inflicting, sometimes useless, but other times a good barometer for accessing the need or want for change. You can only do what your body allows you to do, fighting that with mental anguish puts extra stress on your body. Laura, you are a fantastic, yes, I mean fantastic mom. Your boys are not lacking for anything, and you are an awesome mom and woman!

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