Promising Myself to Drop these Selected “Mom Guilts”

June 12, 2017

I woke up tired, but grateful today. After a full five days of company we are working our way back into our nomadic routine. As much as we thoroughly enjoyed taking a bit of a break from everything with some familiar faces we’re genuinely excited to get back into the swing of things this morning. I always find this sort of thing encouraging when you’re trying something new in life – you know when you’re coming home from a vacation and it just feels good? That’s exactly how we’re feeling. All of which gives me butterflies to type out, because it feels like we’ve found home despite our lack there of.

All of that being said it was so heartwarming to be surrounded by people we love, who love us. It’s always nice to have an extra set of hands with Owen, someone to chat with outside of your immediate family and new perspective on your city and just life in general. In the last week we walked almost 40 miles around Berlin, tried countless delicious restaurants, drank way too many beers and kept Owen out past his bedtime more than we probably should have, but went to bed with full hearts and bellies. Which led me back to the same question over and over, “What is it about vacation/visitors that makes bending the rules more acceptable?”.

What I’m learning through our travels is that the willingness to go with the flow is always positive for all three of us. Sure, we kept Owen out late, but he crashed comfortably in his stroller and we got time with our family and friends which leads to more refreshed parents come morning. So why do we generally feel like we have to be so boxed in when we’re living our every day lives? Of course there’s the work element, but even with that in the mix for us, it seems like we’ve had the ability while traveling to establish a working routine that doesn’t overshadow our off time.

I am well aware that I am not the perfect mother, and to be totally honest I don’t think anyone has ever expected me to be besides myself. There’s a lot that I have previously given myself a hard time about when it comes to motherhood (cue the inevitable mom guilt we all experience), that I’m working on letting go of. I thought I’d share them with you guys here on the off chance that you’ve been feeling the need to let go of some mom guilt too.

1. Development. I am obviously aware of how ridiculous it is to feel guilty about this when it’s completely out of my control. All kids develop at different speeds and so long as you’re doing what you can as a parent to give them the opportunity to grow there’s nothing to feel guilty about in my opinion. Owen was a little behind when it came to walking, and our doctors told us he’s slightly behind in his speech. Of course when you hear news like this you immediately believe it’s your fault and that you’re an awful mother, but we all know that’s wrong. Some kids start speaking really early, and others are quiet for a long time and suddenly speak in full sentences. There’s not one right way to teach your kids these things, they come at their own time.

2. Occasional screen time. The most sound advice I feel like I’ve received when it comes to the iPad or any other screen is that it’s just a phase and to enjoy it while you can because soon enough they won’t care about it at all. Rather than enjoying a meal out and having to lean on the iPad for 15 minutes or so in order to make it happen, I’ve sat there guilty, feeling like other parents are judging and silently I’ve been judging myself. Whatever works is what has always been our motto and it’s time I accept that at all levels.

3. Picky eating phases. I had such high hopes when I was pregnant that Owen wouldn’t be a picky eater. I honestly believe he’s not the pickiest kid out there, but he is still a toddler and can’t get enough peanut butter, bread and fruit. I’m working on sharing something that dives into this a little more, but all in all Owen is healthy and is getting a good mix of foods so I’m making an effort to stop stressing about it. I know he will eventually eat more than peanut butter sandwiches. We will continue to offer and realize there’s only so much you can force.

4. Bad days. It’s hard to be on 120% of the time which is what is required when you’re a parent. You’re bound to have bad days, and I certainly have them consistently. Every time my patience wears thin or I’m feeling overwhelmed for whatever reason I seem to make it ten times worse on myself by then beating my self up for having a bad day and the affects that will have on Owen. Of course I strive to handle life’s challenges with as much grace as possible, but sometimes it’s just not possible. Here’s what helps me put it in perspective – you’re preparing them for the inevitable imperfections they will encounter in their friendships and other relationships in life. No one is perfect!

5. Work. We are really lucky to both work from home and travel with Owen. That being said, Zack and I both work without any childcare or additional help. We do a great job of alternating our working hours, but since we’re both working full time there are absolutely times that there’s overlap and we’re having to work while Owen is awake. Some days are heavier on this than others, but I tend to let myself feel particularly guilty when he’s stuck playing independently more than I feel is ideal. Reminding myself that he’s so lucky to have both of his parents around is ultra helpful and ultimately makes me feel better about it, but it takes a level of consciousness (everyday) to keep things in perspective.

What’s something you’ve been feeling guilty about you want to get off your shoulders? Or maybe something you’ve recently let go and feel tremendously better because of?

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