Mamas, hands up if you have any kind of guilty mommy feelings throughout your days? Yup, that is what I thought. I did a little unofficial poll last week after a chat on twitter about a mama wanting to have a glass of wine and feeling guilty about it because she is also breastfeeding. The results are in, and "Mommy Guilt" is rampant and it looks like we may have an epidemic going on!
And it is about EVERYTHING!
Here are a few examples from my polling:
To much KD for dinner/lunch (this particular one was mentioned a lot??).
Not being a stay-at-home mom.
BEING a SAHM, but not wanting to play princess for the 500th time.
Too much TV (this is a big one too it seems).
Not being present in the moment with the kids all the time.
Not spending enough time with Kid 1 when Kid 2 comes along.
Not finding time to clean the house.
Neglecting the fur-baby.
Spending time with friends away from the family.
Spending too much time on the computer/laptop/iPad/etc...
Yelling at the kids.
...and the list goes on and on and on.
Why do we put such pressure on ourselves? And who are we trying to impress? Last time I checked there was no Gold medal for being the perfect mother.
And even if there was, who defines the criteria for this coveted award? Who is it that is setting these ridiculous expectations?
Often it is ourselves. We think that we have to DO everything and BE everything to everyone because we are the mom. The reality is, that this is just not the case.
So the kids ate Kraft Dinner two times this week, it is still FOOD and they did eat ALL of it right? In my books, that is a win.
Do I really want to watch Toy Story 3 AGAIN or do the same puzzle for the 17th time today? Probably not and that is OK, because I am not a toddler trying to learn a new skill or a preschooler trying to figure out a storyline. I am NOT going to feel guilty about being a grown-up (and I am probably still going to do those things).
My kids watch TV. I monitor the programs and choose the ones that I think offer them the most educational value (I prefer PBS Kids to Treehouse and I will take Sid the Science Kid over a screaming Dora any day!!). The television is not a 'babysitter' for my kids anymore than it is for me. It is a form of entertainment and education and I would feel more like a hypocrite than anything else, if I told them they could not watch TV and then proceeded to plunk myself on the couch for hours at a time to watch "my shows"!
Guilt about having a glass of wine because you are also breastfeeding? Breastfeeding does not exclude FUN! And if you have had a hard day and need a glass of wine or a beer than GO FOR IT! Alcohol is metabolized in your breast milk exactly as it is in your blood and this is what Dr. Jack Newman himself has to say about it,
Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers. (Dr. Jack Newman, member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, excerpt from his handout “More Breastfeeding Myths”)
Feeling guilty about working full-time? Why? You are providing for your family. This is an act of love and you should feel proud of what you are doing. Especially if it is a job and career that you worked hard for and really love!
Going out with your friends and taking some time for you? Really? This one should be the least of your guilty feelings.
You know the saying "Happy Wife, Happy Life"? Well, I have a new one....
Happy Mama, NO MORE Drama!!
Really. Think about it.
A Mama who knows when she needs to take time for herself, whether that is shoe shopping at the mall BY HERSELF or going to get her hair done, or sweating out all her stresses in a Bikram Yoga Class (that one is me BTW), or going for a run, or having a weekly girls night out, or doing WHATEVER it is that makes her happy, is a Mama who is likely to feel good about herself. A Mama who feels good about herself is not going to constantly focus on what she (thinks she) is doing wrong all the time and will be one who can say NO to all that guilt and drama. Hence Happy Mama, No More Drama!!
Now if you will excuse me, I have a glass of wine waiting to make me happy! ;) I suggest you too find your proverbial 'happy place' and make regular visits to it and let go of your mommy guilt!!