All moms feel it. Am I doing enough? Are they happy? Have I screwed up their lives?
I have felt this guilt every day since they were at least 1 year old. It was worse once I started healing my addictions, my mental illnesses, and my traumas. There's nothing worst than hurting people and then "waking up" remembering what you did while under the influence of darkness. The guilt that consumed me and still consumes me sometimes blinds me to the fact that being a mom is not all that I am so trying to be just that, takes away from all the other parts that I am. Depression soon follows because I am not feeding my soul with the things that bring me pure joy. I am not focusing on self-care and self-healing. I am giving and giving without refilling my cup. This isn't sustainable.
Eventually, you get consumed by this darkness and it spills onto your children. You need to be healthy to raise healthy children and that means staying connected to your individualism.
It is okay to need other things to be happy. It is okay to need other things to feel joy. To feel peace. Your children cannot fill your every need just like you cannot fill their every need. The sooner they learn this, the better their future relationships will be.
I am also slowly learning to let go of my guilt for past mistakes. I am forgiving myself. I am learning that it's okay to want to make up for my mistakes but "killing" myself in the process is not healthy. Overcompensating for the guilt that is eating me up is not healthy. I realize now that if I don't heal the guilt and truly know that I did my best with what I knew, anything I do to replace the guilt will never be enough.
If you are struggling with mom's guilt, heal it, and do better next time. Don't replace one unhealthy addiction with another. Forgive yourself and make a vow to make all your next moments with your kids, healthy ones.
Remember: You're not just a mom and you don't need to spend time with your kids 24/7.
I am not just a mom
When I became a mom, I always heard things like you're a mom now. Your life is over. You're raising kids. That is your job now. Your life revolves around the kids.
These thoughts have haunted me for most of motherhood. It never sat right with me, but I constantly criticized myself for not giving myself to them every day. I became depressed because I was just a mom and nothing else.
That is not right. This is such an unhealthy mindset and I really wish people would stop giving this advice.
You are not JUST a mom.
It's okay to want to take a walk without the kids. It's okay to take a bath; read a book; take a nap; do a workout; listen to music; work all day; watch tv; DO NOTHING. You are a person who has feelings, emotions, and needs that don't include children or other people.
"But the kids are always telling me they're bored and want me to spend time with them so I do but then I am exhausted." I feel guilty too when I need to say no to my kids because I feel like them being bored is a bad thing. I feel like I need to entertain them tirelessly. I need to prevent their boredom. Do you know what happens when you parent this way? You become a soulless body and they grow up to be adults who cannot be alone resulting in unhealthy relationships with themselves and others.
Yep, I said it. Your time alone is beneficial to the future of your children.
Boredom is a good thing
Boredom forces you to spend time with yourself without all the distractions of entertainment. It allows you to determine what you like and don't like. It triggers your imagination. It makes you resourceful in the sense of figuring out how to spend your time. It teaches you how to create your own happiness without relying on another person.
As a kid, I was independent. I loved spending time with myself. I could do what I wanted as long as I wanted. I didn't have to answer anyone else. When I got my first boyfriend, we spent every minute together for a year. Spending so much time with other people changes you. Relying on other people for your happiness turns you into a co-dependent. You forget how to be your own company and still be happy resulting in depression. There is not one other person out there who can make you happy all the time other than yourself. Nobody has that kind of time and energy to give. This is an important lesson we should be teaching our kids minus the neglect and disconnection some parents project.
I love my kids and I make sure to tell them as well as show them. Sometimes we cuddle, go for ice cream, bake together, or go for a bike ride. Other times, I pop into the bedroom to show that I haven't forgotten them while I am focusing on work. At times, I bring them to the park and play with them or relax on the bench. Often, I am reminding them that there won't always be someone around to play with them and entertain them so they need to entertain themselves. At first, it was hard on me and them. They would cry and complain about not knowing what to do. Now, they still don't like it but they go and find something to do. They play on their tablet, watch tv, play ball outside, draw, paint, or play with their dolls. Part of me feels bad that I have my own things to do and can't ALWAYS spend time with them, but this is healthy.
This is normal.
Getting to know who I am
When you become a mom, your world is all about the baby. You don't choose it to be this way, it just is. You stay home from work to take care of the baby all day. From morning to... well morning, you're a mom. In this schedule, there's not much space for [enter name here]. You have to make this space yourself. You have to take that space. People will try to make you feel guilty because you're a mom now and all your time should be spent on the baby. This is not true. You don't stop being a person when you become a mom. It's kind of like when you get into relationships. You don't stop being individuals just because you become two.
As humans, we need space. We need solitude. We need passions and projects that will feed our souls. We need time to spend on ourselves, groom ourselves, reflect on ourselves, recharge, and realign ourselves. These needs don't magically disappear when a baby comes out of our vagina!
It took me a hell of a long time to understand this and not feel guilty for wanting to just be Michelle.
You're mom, but you're also an individual and I think it's time you start honouring that <3
I am mom but also Michelle
© 2021 Michelle Brady