Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Mommy Guilt"


"Google Image" search yielded over 2 million pics!
I've been a mother for such a short amount of time, but I still already feel familiar with "mommy guilt." And even worse "mommy judgment."

Why is it that we feel the need to compare ourselves to other moms? And why does this bring more guilt than other things? It's not like I've ever (or often) felt "wife guilt." And I HAVE had "teacher guilt," but rarely. I just feel so bad every time I do something "wrong."

Alright, enough with the quotation marks. But, I do think there's this horrible comparing and judging that goes on between moms. I feel judged for things like my choice of diapers, our scheduling system, what we feed him (donated breastmilk),the public places we bring (or don't) bring him. Some say we waited too long to bring him to church, others say we should have waited longer. Some think I should let N cry it out when it's time for a nap, and others say you shouldn't schedule a baby at all. And these are not from my books, but from the looks and suggestions from others. And when you have an adoption agency checking in on you and making suggestions and judgments on your parenting choices, it just adds even more pressure. Am I the only one here? Surely not! I even hate that my post about his schedule could have caused mommy guilt/judgment since I told you how well he was sleeping (which of course he defied last night needing to be soothed on several occasions... haha).

Here's a HUGE example- going back to work. When people ask me if I'm going back to teaching in the fall and I say "yes," I can definitely tell if people support working moms or stay-at-home moms. I feel incredibly blessed that I have a job I LOVE (teaching K-4 Spanish at a local private school) and I feel even MORE blessed that the administration is so supportive of me that they are allowing me to cut down my hours and do more prep work at home so I can spend time with N this year. It's a VERY great situation for us and I 100% feel like it's the right choice for our family right now. However, I still have the "mommy guilt" about it. Guilty that I will be missing out on special moments with him and won't be with him every day. But, also annoyed with those that judge me as not being as "good" of a mom for not staying home. :/


I'm convinced that there's so much "mommy judgment" because of our own inadequacies. Kind of like why a group of middle school girls need to pick on one specific person so that the rest of them feel better about themselves. I'm convinced that we judge other moms and their decisions because we want to validate our own. The problem is, I already notice it in myself too. As much as I don't want others to judge my own parenting choices, in my head I determine what others do that I disagree or agree with. There's no need! Wouldn't we all feel so much less pressure and judgment if we all just acknowledged if we're all different people, creating different families and needing to make different choices?! And being more accepting of what others do? Truly, belittling others' choices does NOT make my own choice any better, right? Unless someone is doing something truly dangerous we should probably just encourage ALL parents because we could all use a little encouragement, right? And us first timers are already totally paranoid about all the choices we make as it is and need all the encouragement we can get! (Thanks mom!)


Sorry to get on my soapbox. I obviously haven't solved any big problems here, just thought I'd share this discovery that I was completely unprepared for! =)
This is not mommy guilt. Just mommy love. =)

4 comments:

  1. What a great post! So well said! I struggle with this SO much. Social media does not help this situation any, either... with everyone putting every intimate detail of their parenting on the internet (myself included! Ha.) But this blog does help! We should all be more honest about it and make each other feel better. Thanks for being so honest. :)

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  2. I think, too, that much of mommy guilt comes from there being no perfect situation. I like working, but I'd also like to be home fulltime with my boys. I'm not sure that I could emotionally handle that (ha!), but I hate that some days I feel like other people are raising them. All this, though, comes from my own insecurities. I find that when I'm confident in the choices I've made, I don't really notice the looks or whispers other may be directing towards us.

    I try not to judge other parents, though I admit there are times I do. But, again, those seem to be times that it's related to a decision I've made and perhaps am not quite as confident in or comfortable with as I'd like to be - does that make sense? We're certianly all works in progres, aren't we? ;)

    Also, love, LOVE that mommy love pic!!!

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  3. Ugh, I'm guilty of that now before I even have kids. I keep hearing about this, so I'm a little nervous about when we do have kids. Because of that pressure, I tend to think that when we have kids, I will probably severely limit Facebook simply for my own peace of mind.

    I admit, my first reaction is to assume that while there may be a variety of right ways to do something, there are also definitely wrong ways. But in reality, the only wrong ways are the ones that are dangerous or devoid of love. As long as the parent is involved and making decisions out of love, it is okay. And wouldn't it be better if we just encouraged parents, period? Our children would probably be happier because parents would be happier.

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  4. I struggled with deciding whether or not to go back to work. Either decision leaves me feeling guilty!

    There are so many decisions in parenting, and it is hard not to play the comparison game. I read a couple of these articles and they were encouraging to me- http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/mommy-wars. Here is one quote:

    "The gospel of Christ holds no place for comparison. We are all equally in need of grace, and we all equally receive it as a gift from God. In regards to mothering, the gospel clearly applies:

    -None of us are good enough mothers.
    -Through Christ, God offers us grace in our mothering. He takes our meager efforts and produces spiritual fruit in us and our children. He is enough.
    -He has given us principles in Scripture as a framework for mothering.
    -He has also given us the Holy Spirit to individually lead and guide us in mothering our unique children."

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