Mommy guilt. It’s patiently lurking around every corner. And it doesn’t miss any opportunity to pounce at you. There are too many opportunities to feel mommy guilt. Lets name a few:
- You’re pregnant. And you have to talk down your conscience because you’re choosing to have a doughnut instead of a salad just this once.
- You are considering going to finally get your hair done instead of rushing home to your child after work.
- It’s the middle of the night and the baby is crying in her/his crib. You want to wait for your husband to attend to them at least once!
- You’re considering mixed feeding or simply formula feeding your baby.
Talking down your conscience. Sound familiar? I never understood why my mom, or aunties, or friends with kids always felt the need to explain themselves (very defensively) when they choose to do something for themselves. Now I do. Its like, “You’re a mom. You’re having a selfish thought? You might as well crucify yourself now because you are being judged!”
The worst thing is that you know your baby will be fine but you not only have to deal with your own guilty feelings, you also have to deal with people’s sometimes thoughtless need to share their inadvertently judgmental opinions about your mothering skills (or lack thereof). “Ah ahn! You are not going home after work? Is your baby not at home? Who is with them?”. I want to say in response: “Erm…the baby has 2 parents and I’ve also hired a nanny. Have you called the baby’s father to ask his whereabouts?” I’m sure some of this is well intentioned, but it doesn’t take away its sting. Is it only the mother that has to be available for the child?
They say that this is the reason why there is only a “sweet mother” song, and not a “sweet father” song. I guess that is supposed to be our consolation. But hey, what I would actually like is an appreciation of this constant turmoil. If people simply remember “Gosh, I know she is a great mom. Will what I say make her feel inadequate?” And then you rethink that mildly thought out opinion about to flop from your lips, that would be great. Now that’s what I would like. I don’t need guilt from you. I can do guilt all by myself.
Moms that relate to this, your internal turmoil is valid because its yours and it doesn’t make you a crazy person. Remember to be kind to yourself now and then. Its allowed.
Photocredit: The Corner View blog