Perhaps your are well aware of this particular pitfall of motherhood so if my recent epiphany is old news to you, bear with me.
Certainly mom guilt is not a new concept. Motherhood is riddled with guilt. To combat that guilt I went into mom overdrive. I actually felt proud that I hadn’t spent a night away from my 3-year-old daughter or 1-year-old son since their birth.
Somehow, I thought that my constant, unrelenting presence made their lives better. This feeling can likely be traced to my own childhood during which my single mother was never home. However, I recently realized that I lost myself to motherhood. I was no longer there. I was just the robot who put fish sticks in the oven and tucked kids in at night.
Today I wrote about it on my personal blog and thought I’d share my insight with you here:
If I can impart any single most important bit of advice to a new mom it would be this: Don’t forget about yourself! Motherhood is all consuming. Every moment of your day, even if you work full-time, is consumed by thoughts of your child. Guilt, unfortunately, is a mom’s best friend. Always has, probably always will be. Guilt over everything. Too much TV. Not enough mom time. Didn’t read them any stories today. Didn’t brush their teeth. Chicken nuggets for dinner three times in a row. Chocolate milk again. Too many cookies. Yelled at your kid for whining. Ignoring your kid for an hour so you can surf the internet – all guilt-inducing! Basically, every move you make in life now causes you guilt, right? And chances are, you were probably screwed up by your parents so you want so badly to do it right and so you slam the gear into overdrive and just keep on truckin’ even when you get a flat tire.
Stop and fix the flat! Recharge yourself! Maintain your interests. Get a trusted babysitter and go out of the house on your own, even if it’s just to grab a coffee and browse the book aisle at Barnes & Noble. A couple hours here and there throughout the week is crucial.
And there it is. The mistake most moms make is that while trying so hard to be good moms they forget about themselves. As someone commented on my blog, “funny how something so important to survival of your entire family (you having your own life) is seen by so many women as being so selfish that they willingly abandon themselves.
Don’t abandon yourself! Check in with yourself regularly and if you feel like you’re floating, find yourself at all costs. It’s the best thing you can do for your children.