This post comes after a very busy hot mom summer that ended last week with my “Louisiana tour” (2 separate trips to Louisiana in 1 week). I missed my babies like I always do when I’m away and usually can’t wait to get back home to shower them with lots of love, which you’ll see a lot more in my IG stories. You’ll also see me rushing from work to the gym, open houses, muffins with mom, and basketball games as well as making sure the little ladybug gets in some fun time too. Having said that, it’s no secret that I’m a supporter of a good girls night out, mom-cations, bae-cations, and lots of self-care. While I was on a recent vacay, someone inboxed me and asked if I ever had mom guilt. I paused and really had to stop and think for a minute. Actually, I took a lot of time to think about it and I eventually came up with my answer.
As I pondered the question, I thought about Serena Williams, the greatest tennis player alive, winning match after match but stating how she felt guilty for missing her daughter’s first steps. Moms all around, especially us working mothers, have felt guilty for one thing or another. Getting news of milestones second hand. Or through videos and FaceTime. Missing an appointment. Not making the baby food from scratch. Not breast-feeding. Giving them one too many pop tarts or happy meals. Late nights at work. Maybe you’ve given them too much screen time or you haven’t been able to be in the drop-off or pick-up line (I struggled with this one for a long time). Even not taking time to care for self. Y’all, I read about a mom who felt so guilty she waited almost 2 years before she went to get her hair done. Girl! 2 years!?! Whew, Chile! That’s some serious guilt!
Photo :: Kim Thomas
See, I don’t believe that caring for myself (mentally or physically) equals neglecting my babies. As a matter of fact, it’s better for us all. Mom-ing ain’t easy, but I know I’m a much better mom when I have the time to feel refreshed and refueled. My care is not effective if I’m overwhelmed and feeling stressed, unfulfilled, or empty. Yes, being a mother is great, but it is only one purpose I fulfill daily. When I go to work, I know that I’m fulfilling another one of my purposes. The hubs/bae is also another. I’ve grown to discover that motherhood is a part of me, one of the best parts of me, but it’s not the only part. So my answer: NO! I don’t have mom guilt when I leave my children. Because I know that if I’m not my best self, I can’t be the best mother to them.
So what do you do when those feelings start to creep in?
GRACE : Give yourself a little grace to mess up because at some point you will. We all will. No one is perfect, and perfect motherhood is a myth! There’s no manual to go by and what works for one mom and her family may not work for you/me and yours/mine. Stay at home moms are the real MVPs, however, I don’t think I’m about that life. I know there will be times when I’ll miss things, get stuff mixed up, or just plain fall short. I’ve grown to be ok with that because it is ok. But you can bet any amount of money that I will try my best to be at every game being their #1 fan, school function, and anything else when it comes to my two.
VILLAGE : A good village is priceless and I’m beyond grateful for mine. Contrary to what is believed, you don’t have to do it all alone. Some of us come with ready and willing village mates. Some of us don’t. You might have to create that network with best sister-friends or extended family you trust because it truly takes a village. It will help dismantle those guilty feelings because you know you’ve left your angels in capable and loving hands. And another thing, let these daddies pitch in. They want to. Trust me. But you can’t micromanage it. They don’t do things like we would. Duh! But what I do know is they will do. It baffles me that some moms just won’t let the daddies do. What are you afraid of ma’am?? He made the baby too, remember?
PRESENCE : In the age where there are so many daily distractions, I try my very best to be present when I’m with my children/family, which is why my IG stories often stop in the evenings. Sure I’ll pull my phone out to capture a sweet moment or two, but when I’m with them, they have my full attention. The little one is going to take it whether I want to give it or not. The teen is way more laid back, but when he’s ready to talk and engage, I’m all his. Knowing I’ve given them all of me when I’m with them helps when I can’t be in their presence. And thank God for technology advances like FaceTime. It makes the time away so much easier to bear.
According to Q, mom guilt is a pretty big deal to all moms, especially working mothers. Just know that time away for whatever reason doesn’t make you inadequate. It’s all about perspective. Think about the time away as a chance for you to recharge your batteries so that you can operate at your fullest potential as a mother. This way you’ll always give them your best.
I hope this helps someone.
Cheers to motherhood! Ain’t no hood like it!
Photo :: Latoya Nash