Is Mom Guilt Real?

Mom guilt. For all the accidental supermoms out there, it’s real. You feel it and I know I feel it. Where does mom guilt come from?

Well, the best that I can deduce is that as moms, we have a second nature need to take care of people. We want to nurture. We’re the ones kissing boo boo’s and wiping tears. It’s inherent to many women as moms or who someday want to become moms.

So why do we experience mom guilt?

Mom guilt comes for a variety of reasons. Most often because of the above mentioned inherent nature to “fix” things and nurture our young. This need to fix often times carries over into our every day lives. And all of a sudden between the school drop-offs and pick-ups, breakfast, lunch and dinner prep, laundry, carpooling, coaching, mentoring, mediating and loving, we find ourself being pulled in too many directions.

When we’re pulled in too many directions like that, something has to give. Many times it’s something for us. We, as moms, won’t go to the gym. We skip getting our nails done or taking a bubble bath at the end of the day in favor of being completely available to anyone who needs us.

And that’s anyone - it never stops with just the kids. Work becomes a focus and priority, many times we take on our girlfriends’ problems as our own - because we want to fix it. We want to fix everything.

But then, there’s the day when you do decide to go to the gym and leave the kids with your partner.

Show of hands…how many women obsess over the fact that we need to fit the workout in really fast so the kids don’t have to be without you for too long, or that the responsibility of taking care of them doesn’t fall squarely on our partner for more than the hour we have decided to take.

I see hands in the air, come on, I know I am not the only one.

What about when grocery shopping alone becomes our “me-time”? What is THAT crap? Why does our “me-time” still need to be taken whilst doing something for everyone else?

Do you know how many women I see in the grocery store with headphones in and no kids. They have the messy bun, yoga pants mom thing going on (like I do right now while I write this), and they’re in their own world, soaking up the child-free time.

Grocery shopping.

Really? Like really? But, sad to say, things need to get done, so we make the best of however they get done. I do it right along with you. It gets stuff done! I may however, treat myself to a latte while I do it. I know, living on the edge, right? No mom-guilt for that one!

Your body isn’t yours anymore.

Anyone else experience this? As a mom, we are always being touched. ALWAYS. Not that I don’t love it, because I love hugs and snuggles from my kiddos, but after a long day, there are some moments that you just may not want to be touched.

I had a moment while at a sporting event recently, where I was watching the game (we got box seats from work) and instead of standing up and cheering, and giving high-fives when the team scored, I had a child on my lap. Not that there weren’t enough seats, because there were, but because either one wanted to sit with me, or another was being busy and I needed to grab him and calm him down.

Once your oven fires up and you start cooking those little minions, your body won’t feel like yours again for a very long time. Not only is it completely physically different, now it also belongs to your children. A part of their body is in you and a part of yours is in them. Their hearts beat inside you for 9 months while you nurtured them. It’s natural that your body and soul change.

But here’s where the mom guilt really hits for me. It’s when I don’t want them to sit on me, or I don’t want to snuggle on the couch at night while we’re watching our favorite show.

“Can I sit on your lap?” is a very common question in my house. Most time, my answer is “yes, of course”, but sometimes, I just don’t want it. I don’t want to be touched or sat on. It’s not comfortable. My 8yo weighs half of my weight now and since I have such low body fat, she hurts my ribs and collar bones when she sits on me. How can that be comfortable for her. But yet, she is the first one to ask to sit on my lap.

How can you say no to that? Sometimes I do. And while she is accepting of that, this is where my mom guilt kicks in and starts asking me at what age she is going to stop wanting to sit on my lap. Was this the last time she was ever going to ask me? Then I just feel terrible, and generally relent and let her on my lap because, as everyone says, “they’re only young once.”

Prioritize self care

So you have to prioritize self care. If you need to have a significant conversation with your partner and come to an agreement about times of the week that are just for you, then do so. Self care doesn’t always mean pampering yourself and going for a massage or pedicure - though I do love those sessions! It’s about making sure you have time to do something that you WANT to do, not something that you NEED to do.

After all, how can you be everything to someone else, when you are nobody to yourself?