The Guilt of all Mom Guilt

Wednesday, November 8, 2017



"The joys of motherhood," she commented. "I feel like a failure," I responded. And so commenced my hours-long waterworks. 

When I was pregnant, other moms told me about birth and about maternal instincts.   I read about postpartum depression and about how parenthood changes a marriage. 

What I didn't hear or read much, if anything, about was mom guilt. This feeling of falling short of my motherhood responsibilities. Of failing my child. Of not being good enough or saavy enough, "green" enough, energetic enough. Of not being present enough, of not protecting him enough. 

Recently, the worst guilt of all mom guilt I have yet to feel crept in. (I alluded to this on my Instagram.) I felt badly. I felt sad. I felt disappointment in myself. I felt the most unworthy to be S' mom as I ever have. 
Other moms in my life, and even friends who aren't moms, reassured me I'm still a good mom. Things happen. It wouldn't be a first (though I really hope it is). It wasn't my fault. 

As much as hearing those things helped, it took/takes time to be okay with myself. To forgive myself. 

This might all sound dramatic but it's how I felt. To be frank, I'm hard on myself--probably more than I should be. I always have been. If I didn't get over a 90 on a test, I'd be upset. If I was at risk of not making the Dean's List, I'd panic. When I thought I wouldn't get into law school, I cried. Ultimately, all of those things worked out, though. 

Motherhood has presented challenges I don't always know how to solve and questions I don't always know the answers to. I feel unsure a lot more than I'd like to admit. But I also am much more confident in my ability to be a good mom to my child than I ever thought I would be in such a short amount of time. My son and I have learned so much together over these 16 months -- together with my husband, his dad, we've gotten into our own rhythm and we're figuring everything out. 

Yet even so, sometimes that dreaded mom guilt still appears. And while I know it will probably be back, I am always more than happy when it goes away each time. 

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