The mom guilt is so real right now. It has rained 17 out of the last 20 days here in SC, or it’s been too cold and windy to send the kids out to play. We’ve done crafts, emptied every bin in the toy room, and built more forts than I know what to do with. But when my energy is gone and I’m over it – I resort to screen time, and oh if there hasn’t been an overload of screen time in our house because of the weather.
I was talking with some other mom’s who verbalized exactly what I was feeling, and we all shared this collective sigh of relief that “it’s not just me.” We hugged, we promised to check in with each other this week, and then we walked out into the rain and went home.
Here’s what hit me when I got in the car – Why did I feel like everyone around me wasn’t struggling with the same guilt I was? Why did I feel alone? Because all the moms I saw online were doing these crafts and games, but that’s only what I was allowed to see through the lens of social media. And that is one of the inerrant dangers of social media – it’s not real, it’s not authentic, and we’re all expected to have these Pinterest perfect children and lives or feel guilty that we don’t.
We eat organic because there’s round up on all our food. We don’t give them screens because it rots their brains.
So when did I start feeling guilty for giving my kids Mac n Cheese and pizza? Why do I feel guilty for letting them watch a movie or a few episodes of PJ Masks? Why is the bar of expectation perfection? My children aren’t neglected, they’re not malnourished or over fed, they’re well adjusted and have friends… so why the guilt trip? Because the world we live in begs you to compare the life you have to the life someone else is living and you constantly come up short. We don’t share our failures, because the standard is perfection – when really, we’re all struggling just in our own way.
Here’s my solution: grace. Give yourself some grace, give your mom friend some grace, and let’s all come to the table of Motherhood together and help each other through it. We are all struggling in one aspect or another. There are times we all feel scatterbrained, unorganized, and a mess. Please know – you’re not alone. I do not have it all together, but I’m trying. There is so much freedom in realizing that it’s not just you. We’re all drinking way too much coffee and riding in the back of the struggle bus. You just haven’t seen us yet because the more kids you have the further back you have to ride.
Friday night is movie and pizza night at our house, the kids love it. Recently we rented Ralph Breaks the Internet (spoiler alert), and there’s a scene with all the Disney princesses that made me cry. At the end of the movie all of the princesses used their unique powers to work together to save Ralph. It was such a picture to me of how these powerful women could come together, use what was already inside of them and create something truly amazing to save someone. Community over competition.
We all have collective experiences that we can share to bring calm to another woman’s storm. We thrive in community, but finding a judgmental free zone where no question is off limits and no subject is taboo is harder than it should be. There is so much freedom in realizing that you’re not alone, and if you have the courage to be vulnerable – you find a point of authenticity with other mom’s that are right where you are too. And there’s freedom in that. Freedom to be your whole self without the expectation of perfection.
Tell your guilt trip to re-route to grace, we’re here waiting for you when you do… mom buns and coffee in hand.