In this day and age, with social media everywhere, everyone is finding their voice. It is a platform that allows us to voice how we feel without the fear of being in front of people. Evidence suggests that this is creating a bit of a disconnect in how people socialize, but, in my opinion, it is just opening the door to allow us to communicate differently.
Can you imagine how the generation of moms before us felt as they sat at home with their babies and could only talk to people using a landline? How lonely and limiting that must have felt? At the risk of sounding like a true millennial…. They also did not have access to modern amenities like TV on-demand, digital books, audible, or shopping from home. Now, I do think that that made those parents more creative on how they would spend their day. But, I also believe that the incidence of mental illness and postpartum depression were through the roof. Social media, blogs, and the internet are connecting more people than ever.
All over social media, you will find thousands of posts on Instagram alone with #momguilt, 87.3K, to be exact. The tags are flooded with moms supporting other moms and emotional pictures of us looking our worst talking about how we yelled at our kids, and now we feel bad. Mom’s guilt is real, and it is painful.
I felt less mom guilt when I had 1 kid and felt more wife guilt. I was so hopelessly consumed in my new perfect little baby that I neglected my husband. I worked hard every day to have food on the table, a clean house, and a happy baby, but I didn’t work on us. As he got bigger accommodating, our relationship got easier. I learned how to wear 5 hats at once while juggling with knives (figuratively speaking).
Fast forward 22 months when our second son arrived, and all that new confidence and expertise I had found went out the window, down the street, fell into the river, and got swept away to Mexico. Now I have to figure out how to be a mom of a toddler while accommodating the never-ending needs of my infant, and still want to be touched by something other than my pillow at the end of the day. Let’s also throw in there that the house needs to be kept up, and I have to find a way to feed my husband, myself, and Micah (feeding a toddler is not for the faint of heart). I am not even going to add the other mound of stuff I have on my plate as far as business, work, and school because it gives me a headache even thinking about it.
Cue extreme mom guilt, new anxiety, and really having ZERO idea what I am doing. I sit down to feed Noah feeling guilty that Micah is playing by himself. I lay Noah down and prepare a meal for Micah, and Noah cries the whole time, but I have to feed Micah. I wear Noah to clean the house, so he doesn’t cry or have to be by himself, but I throw my back out, making crazy moves with the vacuum because my body is almost 30 years old and just had a baby.
I want to hide or go sit in the shower and cry, but then I feel guilty for needing a break because there are millions of people out there who want what I have but can’t.
How do we overcome this guilt and realize that we are doing an amazing job even when we feel like we are failing? How do we reach out for help when we are also struggling to maintain relationships with friends and family because we don’t have the time or energy to accommodate anyone else?
This is the power of social media. This is how moms connect with a perfect stranger who tells them that they are doing an amazing job. I hope whatever mom/parent reading this post feels the warm feeling that you are not alone in your insecurities, stressors, anxieties, sadness, etc. We all feel it. We all dream of a beach, with the sun on our face, and a drink that tastes like cake with a little umbrella and helps us forget all our problems.
Don’t let society, your family, or anyone else tell you that you are doing anything wrong. If you are breastfeeding and need coffee to survive, then drink coffee. If you tried breastfeeding but struggled so much that you are switching to formula, then you fill those bottles proudly. Fill them knowing that you are doing what you need to do to keep your baby alive and healthy.
Don’t let anyone put you in a box of “good parenting.” We all need a break to cry in the shower, roam the isles of the grocery store for a bit longer than we need to, or sit on a bench by ourselves drinking coffee, reading a book, perusing the internet, whatever we want. Heck, go to a movie by yourself and enjoy the freedom of sitting where you want, watching what you want, and eating what you want!
So just in case you need to hear/read it. You are a great mom, and you are doing a great job, the kids will grow out of this phase soon.