I have an unpopular opinion. I might get some flak for this one but I kind of don’t care. That’s what I’m here for.
I’m tired of this “mom guilt” business. In my opinion, guilt should be reserved for those who committed crimes or wrong doings; maybe someone who didn’t do enough or contribute enough. I don’t feel any guilt at all as a mom- for taking breaks, asking for help, doing things my own way.
I do understand why moms tend to fall into this entrapment because, quite honestly, the overall messaging we receive constantly is that we should feel guilty (directly and indirectly). We are made to feel like what we do is never enough, never good enough and there’s always a better way to do something. Even if you’re doing everything perfectly, feeling good about that is also not enough. No, we must always feel like we could have done better. And because we could have done better, guilt should come naturally.
Moms are eternally held to an impossibly high standard. Moms get judged by new moms, old moms, non-moms, husbands, dads, etc. Very rarely are men held to the same standards, I find. Even the term “mom guilt” is evidence of the societal trappings of this mindset. Why doesn’t “dad guilt” exist? Why isn’t it called “parental guilt?” No one ever talks about that. In fact, we tend to praise dads for just showing up (they get a slow clap from me). Why is it that when dads do something required of them they get standing ovations but moms usually get:
Why’d you do it that way?
You couldn’t have done more?
I have no doubt men are held to different standards elsewhere but rarely are they held to the same yardstick in the realm of parenting and that’s what I’m tired of.
I love my kid. I love her to the moon and back. I love her so much I believe no other parent loves their child as much as I love her. Of course, this is not true but that’s how much I love her. I think she’s quirky, funny, unique, beautiful, witty and smart. But I also think she’s nuts most days. Could she be unstable between the hours of 7:30pm and 8:00pm? YES! Is my soul the happiest when I close her bedroom door at the end of the night? Also, YES!! And I think that’s perfectly acceptable! She won’t be like that forever. She’s a wild toddler; it’s kind of her job to test the waters and drive her parents crazy. We don’t have to magically be in love with our children 24/7. I want this to be normalized. I don’t want to feel guilty that I countdown to her naps or bedtime and that I wake up feeling relieved on Mondays because she goes to daycare and I get to go to work for 8 hours (seriously, I wake up happy most Mondays because of this).
I know I’m a dedicated mother and a wonderful homemaker but that’s not all that I am. I have a right to live outside this box. I feel like our culture makes it taboo for mothers to have alternate identities. We need to allow moms the freedom and space to be passionate about other things too. Men are rarely asked how they’re able to balance family life and work life, or what their strategies for work-life balance are. They are just asked how work is. Can we start mixing it up a bit? Let’s start asking women about their passions and asking men how fatherhood is treating them.
So, this game of guilt, are there any real winners?
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