Mom Guilt

I’m a sucky mom.

Well, realistically, I’m probably not all that bad.  But I still think I suck at parenting.

Please don’t give me that stupid “you’re a GREAT mom!” spiel that people deliver whenever you whine about your mom guilt.  I don’t need to hear it.  It doesn’t make anyone feel better and we both know it.

You’re probably a sucky mom too.  I’m guessing that’s why you’re reading this right now.   Well, you know what?  Your best friend also sucks.  So does your sister, and your cousin, and so do your coworkers, and your neighbors, and every single stranger you pass on the street.

We all honestly believe we suck at this mom thing.

Mom guilt is one of the shittiest feelings you will ever know, and it NEVER goes away.  Once you have kids, you’re a victim of mom guilt for the rest of your life.  You are destined to spend the remainder of your days on this earth second guessing every decision you’ve ever made when it comes to your kids, comparing yourself to every other mom you know, criticizing your parenting skills (or lack thereof), and regretting your choices before you’ve even made them.

Today my daughter asked me to read her a book, but I was in the middle of folding two million loads of laundry so I quickly put the book away and turned her attention to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Awesome parenting right there.  “Sorry baby, The Very Hungry Caterpillar can wait until later.  Ooh look at the TV! It’s a special DOUBLE EPISODE! Woohoo! Now please go take your zero-nutritional-value fruit snacks to the couch and watch your show.  Folding Daddy’s underwear is slightly more important than your growing literacy skills right now.”

So then I stood there like a jerk, folding away, feeling all crappy because it wasn’t the first time I did that to her and it surely wouldn’t be the last.  I almost felt bad enough to change my mind, but by then she was so engrossed in Mickey that shutting the TV might have caused a meltdown that neither of us were in the mood for.

Stupid social media doesn’t help with the mom guilt either.  Because people don’t exactly Instagram pictures of their kids parked on the couch watching Nicktoons on a warm spring day.  No freaking way.   And when it comes to old Facebrag, EVERYONE is mom of the year.  They’re all taking their kids to parks and museums and libraries and freaking Disney World, and all of their kids are reading way above grade level and getting straight A’s and joining NASA’s space program, right on track to becoming the first preschoolers to land on the moon.

Just once, I want see someone post: “The school called today.  Junior farted in someone’s face at lunch and landed detention for a week.”  It would be a refreshing change, donchathink?

Some pictures don't make the Facebook cut.

Some not-so-shining moments fail to make the Facebook cut. Why do you hate Mommy?

Social media antics aside (because as you probably know, I could go on all day about that topic), when it feels like everyone else is raising the perfect kid, it’s hard not to feel like you’re doing everything wrong.

But I have a secret.  And no, it isn’t that everyone is a wonderful parent – because that’s just not true. Some parents really do suck, like in real life and not just their head.  You do know that, right?  That you aren’t the worst mom in the world?  ‘Cuz I’m pretty sure Casey Anthony grabbed that title a few years ago.

My secret is that there is NOTHING you can do about the never-ending mom guilt. Nothing! It will always be there, hanging over your head like a poison-filled rain cloud. Okay, maybe that’s not such a big secret, but it sure makes me feel better.

You can practically bust your ass trying to be the MOST AMAZING MOM EVER, planning enough activities, outings, and educational moments to fill every waking minute of every day, but it will never be enough.  In your mind, you are still going to scar your children for life somehow, and you’re going to give yourself a nervous breakdown in the process.  Stop trying to be perfect.

No one is perfect.  There is no such thing as the perfect parent.  Some parents appear perfect, and I don’t know what the hell is the deal with those people, but they aren’t perfect either.  They probably just put on a good show and we’re all buying it.  Behind the smoke and mirrors of those so-called perfect parents you will find regular old people, like you and me, who feed their kids chicken nuggets and let them watch all the Spongebob they want.

I think the trick with mom guilt is to channel the guilt.  Embrace it.  Learn from it.  Pinpoint exactly what you feel shittiest about and use it to motivate the hell out of yourself.

I’m not telling you to do it every day.  Hell, I’m not parent of the year and neither are you (right?).  But once in a while, when you get those days where you are just feeling like one big steaming pile of mom garbage, and you are literally on your hands and knees praying that your kid doesn’t turn out to be a giant asshole because you suck so badly as a parent, you’re going to have to take action.  Pick your sucky ass up off the floor, grab those crazy kids, and go do something awesome together.  Anything at all.  Whatever will put a smile on their little faces and alleviate the sting of mom guilt for at least a day or two.  Like I said, it will never go away, but at least there can be a temporary fix. And that’s better than wallowing around in self-pity, right?  Hmm, I guess there is something you can do about it after all.

Oh, and don’t forget to post the pictures from your day on Facebook 😉

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10 thoughts on “Mom Guilt

  1. Yep, I’m feeling pretty guilty lately. But like you said, its always there…I felt guilty about stupid stuff when my daughter was an only child and I was rockin’ the mom thing. Current guilts: I talked on the phone, cleaned, packed, grocery shopped my toddler son’s whole morning away today and basically just left him to play and fend for himself. Last night my daughter cried when my husband read my son stories because it meant less playtime for her then had a real look of shock and surprise when I said I would play. But, the best part of guilt is the justification at the end. If you don’t justify your actions sometimes, then you’re missing out on the silver lining. I can justify that while I don’t give 110% to mothering, I am giving at least giving some of myself back to me, and I didn’t do that as a new mom and felt resentment. Also, kids DO need to learn to play on their own. So there ya go, guilt and justification, the cornerstones of mothering 🙂

    • You are so right! It’s a vicious, endless cycle of guilt and justification. One day up, one day down. It’s exhausting. Your morning sounds a lot like mine today, except I can’t even say I did any grocery shopping 😉

  2. I can’t say I ever felt that way but respect those that express those feelings as such. I have always put best foot forward as a parent and that is all you can do, I have never felt guilt or stress to be anything more than what I was or am. Interesting read.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more. No one is perfect, but I think when we see our flaws and then make a conscious effort to work towards change that guilt goes away. Really, the biggest obstacles we face as a parent are the ones in our mind, and once we realize we have more control than we think we do we can begin to move forward. Cheers!

  4. Great blog! Just wanted to tell you that I love posting tales of my own parenting failures and my kids’ meltdowns, as well as photos of all of us looking freaking awful on Facebook… I like to “keep it real”. 😉 It makes me feel insane and alive, and my friends get a huge kick out of it. So far, no one’s followed suit, but I still enjoy it.

    • Ha! I agree! I love how having my blog is a way to “keep it real”. No one has this parenting thing down. No one! And the fails are just a lot more fun to share 🙂 I love your blog too, I think you’re very funny. Thanks for reading!

  5. Pingback: My Good Mom Challenge | Highchairs & Headaches

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