I felt guilty when I was a working mom and couldn't stay home with Brantley.
After Grayson was born and I was staying home with both girls, I felt guilty that I couldn't give them both the attention I thought they deserved.
I felt guilty that Grayson didn't get a lot of one on one time with me before Bennett was born.
Now, I feel guilty when I don't feel like playing outside on every pretty day. I feel guilty when I oversleep and get the kids to school late. I feel guilty when I have to get some work done on the computer, and I sit the kids in front of the TV for a few hours. I feel guilty for making hot dogs for the 3000th lunch straight. I feel guilty when I tell the kids "no" and they get upset and cry. I feel guilty pretty much constantly, every single day, for one reason or another. And why?? I have insecurities as a mother sometimes, and I place unrealistic expectations on myself. I have decided though, that bottom line, I need to give myself a break.
I am honestly doing the very best I can.
I love this Proud Mother's Oath that I saw on Facebook the other day (thanks for posting, Krystin!), and it rang pretty true for me. I have decided to be very intentional about letting go of my guilt, and instead of being obsessed with what I am doing wrong, or what I think I ought to be doing, I want to focus on the things I am doing right, and the things I can continue to promise to my children as their mom.
It is okay, in fact, it is important to say no sometimes. My kids are my world. No doubt. But there are other things going on in that world too, and they need to know that though they are the most important things, they are not the only important things. If I have to say no sometimes to give attention to other important things I am involved in, then that is OKAY. It's important for them to learn that mama will do anything for you, but I will not stop any and everything at every single request. And neither will the rest of the world, when you grow up.
I will be the mom my child needs me to be. Brantley is very sensitive, and needy. She needs to be hugged, reassured, talked to and complimented regularly, and though she can be clingy at times, I try to not turn her away when she needs extra cuddles. Grayson needs her space. She likes to sleep alone, she likes to play by herself. I love to encourage all the kids to play together, but I separate them and encourage them to play by themselves too, so Grayson can get her alone time. :) And Ben, my typical boy. He is so curious, and loves to run, loves adventure and being active, so I have to give him room to run and explore, and step outside of my comfort zone and let him get dirty, and make good ole boy messes. I think it is so important as a mom, to learn what my kids need from me, and be that for them, instead of painting them all with the same brush, and missing out on what they really need me to be.
I don't think I am a "helicopter mom." I let them (in fact, I encourage them) to play on their own, or in the playroom by themselves. Thankfully, they are all wonderful independent learners, and the three of them can play together by themselves for good, long stretches of time. I watch them regularly and unless, of course, they are in danger, I let them make their own mistakes. I try not to rush out to them until they make it very clear that they need me, and then, of course, I am right there to help them. I want them to learn that's it's okay to make mistakes, but if they get into a jam and need their mama, that I will be there faster than they can imagine, and willing to do any and everything to get them back on their feet and playing again.
I am by no means, in any way, shape or form, the perfect mom. I stay up too late and don't get up early. I lose my patience and yell far more often than I'd like to admit. We eat breakfast in the car pretty regularly (read: A LOT). But I do the best I can. Like the old Bryan Addams song, everything I do, I do it for them! Sure, I have a girls night every once in a while, and I run Goat & Lulu as a creative outlet for myself, but doing those things and having that time for me also makes me a better mom. I love my children as much as I am physically, emotionally and mentally capable of, and even then, I try to learn as much as I can and improve the way I parent at every opportunity. I love them as much as I possibly can.
And oh, mommy comparison. This could be a blog post in and of itself. So much time can be wasted away comparing ourselves to other moms, what they do with their kids, what they don't do, and what they think about the kind of mother I am. And honestly, I have given up on trying to keep up in the mommy wars. I am me. I am not you, I am not my neighbor, my friend, or any other mom. I have my own way of parenting, which is FAR from perfect, but I try my best to engage my children within my capabilities, and make sure they are happy, well taken care of, and are developing and learning properly. There are 10,000 decisions you make in motherhood that you can be judged on, but I am learning to have confidence in my abilities, my decisions and my actions, and know that I have only my children's best interests at heart. So, while some type of worrying, as a mother, accompanies me in every day and every situation I am involved in, I try not to worry about what other's may think, when it comes to my role as a mother. I know what is best for myself, my children, and my family, and I am giving my children what they need to grow. I don't have to worry about how others may feel about that, and if they agree with me or not.
I intend on focusing on these five things, and work on growing as a mother, right along with my children. Hopefully that mommy guilt will fall out of the forefront of my mind, and will be replaced with gratitude that I am blessed with these three beautiful children, and confidence that I am doing the best I can as their mother, and just not messing it all up too badly. :)