Friday, January 23, 2009
Google 'mommy guilt' and you'll get nearly a quarter million hits - from books, to news articles, to 'how-to' guides, to other moms pontificating on just why it is we suffer from this plague and how to avoid it.
In case you couldn't tell, I've been suffering from a round of mommy guilt lately. And for no good reason, either. I've been wanting to go and get my hair cut. I have a style I prefer, but I simply don't maintain it (thus a ponytail AGAIN today). It would mean going to the stylist every 6 weeks (which includes leaving Ds home with Dh), and spending $50. I first feel guilty for leaving Ds, even though it's only every 6 weeks and only for an hour. Then I feel guilty for asking Dh to watch Ds alone, even though he gladly does it. And they will both enjoying playing while I am gone, for sure. Then I feel bad for spending $50 on myself. Fifty measly dollars! It's not that we can't afford it, necessarily. But could it be better spent (or saved) on him? And every other time Ds throws a fake fit over something unimportant, even though I know it's all crocodile tears and spilled milk, I still don't like seeing him unhappy. (Don't get me started on real tears! When Ds fell at day care the other week and nearly knocked a tooth out, resulting in a trip to Children's Hospital Urgent Care, even though he was perfectly fine after a dose of Motrin and the tooth tightened right back up after a day, *I* nearly had a nervous breakdown.) So I know all this guilt is simply insanity. So why, then, all the guilt anyways?
Reading through the links from Google, there are all sorts of causes for mommy guilt, from the mundane (I use disposable diapers and am therefore ruining the Earth; I bought my kids McDonald's instead of cooking a meal for them; I am going out for a night with friends; If I have to read that book one more time I will lose my mind, even though it's my child's most favorite book) to the slightly more stressful (I work outside the home and don't spend enough hours each day with my child; My child hasn't met xyz milestone and ALL the other children his/her age are doing that; I yelled at my child, even though they didn't do anything wrong and I am just tired)... the list goes on an on.
As I searched for a nugget of information which really spoke to me (rather than simply parroting things I already know), I came to one simple realization: All the books, articles, tips, tricks, and advice cannot stop mommy guilt. There is no stopping mommy guilt. It comes with the territory. No matter how many times your husband/mother/friend/kids' teachers/priest/random person at the supermarket tell you what a wonderful child you have and what a great job you are doing, there will always be something to stress about. It starts with sleeping and nursing, quickly followed by milestone marks and eating solid food (and still sleeping); then once they are mobile we have 976,542 small heart attacks every day as they bump, fall, and smash themselves around the house (and for some of us, still that pesky sleep problem). Then it's on to school, social behavior, making (and keeping, and losing) friends, dating, car keys, college... Then they are grown up, married, and having children of their own. But you never stop worrying, you never stop thinking you could do more, you could have been better. Never.
And why? Why all the worry? Because we love them, that's why. Because we want them to grow up to be Superman, Wonder Woman, President, The Smartest Doctor Ever, The Most Brilliant (and Compassionate) Lawyer (even if Ghandi already took that job). We want to be there for them always, we want to only shower them with love, we want to provide them with everything their little hearts desire (within reason). But we're not perfect, and so we can't always protect them, and we can't always provide the perfect life for them, and sometimes we need a little time (and, yes, money) to ourselves. So maybe the mommy guilt, even when it's unfounded, makes us better mommies. Because we just want what's best for our children, and isn't that what our job as parents is?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
9. People are automatically friendlier to you (although often times this isn't a "perk")
8. Big tax right-off
7. Carpool Lane
6. Now there’s a legitimate reason why you “haven’t lost that belly weight”
5. You get to board airplanes early
4. Can eat “alone” in public without feeling pathetic
3. No more awkward elevator silences
2. You finally have a great reason for being late
1. Fish sticks and grilled cheese sandwiches are back on the menu, baby!
And this has nothing to do with anything, but I just love it. I saw it on a onesie:
Monday, September 29, 2008
When I was growing up I always heard about how women with children are always uptight about the first and lax about the next however many. I always told myself I wasn’t going to be one of those moms, the ones who control every single aspect of their child’s lives. I didn’t want to be the mom that forbade candy until 12 years old or worried over the color of poop. I didn’t want to try to force my child to be the perfect image I made for him/her. I just realized in the last few days that no matter how much I told myself that, I became that mom anyway and I never even saw it coming. In the past 9 months i've controlled EVERYTHING! Maybe that’s why I have anxiety issues; I try to control a child when children cannot be controlled. I worry about every tooth that’s early or late and any developmental issues that aren’t the same as the “average” baby. What is average anyway, and why do first time moms feel like their babies all have to add up to the preconceived notion of “normal”. What is normal? Why do I freak out over every little thing, and how do we as moms learn to let go and let things happen? Do we feel like if our child isn’t “perfect” that other moms will judge us for it as if we had anything to do with it? Why does it matter what other people think or say, why is everything a competition? These are questions i’ve been asking myself but I still haven’t come up with any answers. Maybe there aren’t any answers; maybe this is what it means to be human. I’m trying to learn to let go. If he decides not to finish a meal “oh well”, if he decides that he doesn’t want to sleep and becomes super cranky baby “oh well” if he decides to sit up and fall back and bonk his head “oh well, its not my fault”. Sometimes I think that I can prevent anything and everything that could, would and might hurt him. In reality I know I can’t but knowing something and doing something are two different things. He needs to learn lessons on his own, but I can’t let go long enough to allow it.
Hello my name is Lisa, I am a control freak. I’ve been control free for less than 1 hour.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
1. the state or quality of being kind
2. a kind act; favor
3. kind behavior
4. friendly feeling
1. a manner that is rude and insulting
2. a wild or unrefined state
“Braveness” comes in many colors, shapes, size, and flavors. For someone else being brave might be bungee jumping off a cliff while for me being brave means sucking it up and leaving the house. Every time I venture outside for one thing or the other I have a different experience (usually bad and full of panic and anxiety). Today I put on a brave face and ventured to the supermarket to spend some of the last dollars we have. Due to hurricane Ike and my husband not working for 2 weeks we pulled almost all our funds out of the account so once the bills go through we won’t be totally penniless. So I sucked it up and got to Kroger without a hitch. I grit my teeth and fought my way through the post hurricane crowds and found my way to the checkout lines. While standing there totally minding my own business I get hit from the side by a cart. I look up and this little old lady is standing there staring me down and this was our conversation.
HER: “Excuse me young lady” *in a snotty voice*
ME: *dirty look*
HER: “Excuse me I need by”
*I scoot back so she can pass and she gives me the evil eye*
HER: “I had said excuse me”
ME: “Yah, AFTER you hit me with your cart!”
HER: “OH!? Did I hit you?! Sorry.”
“I DO speak English you know, and i’m not a wetback either”
ME: *dirty look and steps back in line*
WTH?! I could tell she spoke English well and was indeed a little white woman so what was the point in saying that? Also, why the hell was she talking down to ME when I was the one who got hit? If I was any less respectful and knew I wouldn’t feel guilty for hitting an elderly lady I would have knocked her ass out but I have better breeding than that. Now I know I look young, and by some standards I AM considered young but I was taught that you have to give respect in order to get it and she DEFINITELY didn’t give me respect.
Once I went further in line my *very* bad day turned very, very good! My cashier was one of my absolute favorites…i've known her for years. I started talking to her about the money issues and panic attacks and stuff and the lady behind me hands me a card. It’s a business card for a local parenting and resource center. They offer free baby food and other items on a point system if you take parenting classes or whatever. OMG I was so surprised that someone behind me in the supermarket of all places offered to help. Then I go on talking about how I can’t get a hold of my psychiatrist because UTMB is still in disaster recovery mode and is shut down. The same lady behind me told me that she had a close friend who works at UTMB and could have her get in touch with my psych so they can call me! I rarely get kindness from people so it was sooo nice for a change. If only that little old lady from earlier had a little more kindness in her.
Maybe I aught to be brave more often…maybe good things would come of it (then again I could run into more terrible little old ladies)