Don’t Worry. We All Carry Mom Guilt!

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We live in a world where you can stage your home, your physique, and your children in perfect-looking photos. Scrolling on your phone can be a quick break or check-in with a friend but it also can be one more place to see where we are falling short in our lives.
Friends comment on their perfect clean eating while I just ate the icing off the cake in the kitchen. I can’t help but look at the background of a photo to see what others’ homes are like with small kids. Moms share with pride about homeschooling successes or their child’s achievements at school or on the field. Instead of cheering on my friends, I can immediately compare my world to theirs.
Even without these outside comparisons, my own internal dialogue critiques many of the decisions I make as a woman, and especially as a mom. Did I let him have too much screen time? I think he’s had chicken nuggets three times this week. I feel like a bad mom when I need breaks and moments alone. I often wonder if the way I’m parenting him is sufficient. My guess is that you have a similar conversation in your head from time to time.
Recently, I’ve been thinking more about my own childhood. I honestly don’t have these vivid memories of the specifics of my day to day. It’s more like snapshots and a warm feeling of home. It’s an environment of love, stability, and my parents’ availability that I remember.
As I think about my life as a child, it helps me not to obsess over every decision I make in my life as a mom. Instead of worrying about my mistakes or shortcomings, I’ve been asking my son each day, “Was it a good day, buddy?” So far, each day he’s said, “YES!”
I don’t think when he’s a grown man he’ll remember if I played with trucks with him for ten minutes or for one hour. He likely won’t remember the quick meals I make more than the ones that I labor over for hours. I hope when he thinks of his childhood, he’ll remember the things I carry with me from mine.
Instead of carrying heavy mom guilt around today, I’m going to take a moment to look back at my day and see the love, stability, and my availability to him. If I consider these overall goals, even on the worst of days, full of mom failures, I too will say, “Yes, it has been a good day.”

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