Mom guilt is something that eventually hits every mom. I’m honestly not sure why, I just know that it does.
When my son was first born, it didn’t bother me emotionally if he cried for whatever reason. Now, don’t misunderstand me. That doesn’t mean I was heartless, or didn’t care about him.
I just knew that newborns cried.
Babies cry…a lot.
I would check and change his diaper, feed him, hold him, whatever I thought he might be needing, and pretty quickly he would calm himself down again.
At first he would cry every time his diaper was changed. For whatever reason he didn’t like it. I would still do it, obviously, but it didn’t bother me if he cried over it because I knew that was just the way it was.
Everything was different for him. Many things were uncomfortable. He spent the first 48 hours or so of his life in the hospital nursery due to an issue with his lung.
For all the talking everyone did about the importance of skin to skin and nursing as soon as possible and that first hour, I never got to do any of those things with him.
I actually only got to hold him for about sixty seconds while the on call pediatrician explained to me that something was wrong with his breathing and they were going to go run some tests on him to figure out what was going on.
And then my epidural didn’t wear off for another seven hours, even though I literally never pushed the button to get more after the anesthesiologist got it going and tested it.
When I finally did get to keep him in my hospital room with me, I think a lot of the time he just wanted to be held because he hadn’t gotten any of that except for the stretches I was able to go to the nursery to see him and work on breastfeeding.
All that to say I never felt guilty about any of that. It just was what it was. He had a problem and it needed to be fixed. He didn’t like some things, so he cried.
Being a mom is hard
Now, eight months later, all of a sudden I get mom guilt over all kinds of stuff.
Sometimes he refuses to take a nap if I’m around and I just have to put him in his bed and let him cry for a minute—and that’s literally all it takes—and I feel guilty over it.
Sometimes I have no clue what it is he wants, and I’m convinced half the time he doesn’t know either. And I feel guilty over not knowing the answer. I’m his mom; I should know, shouldn’t I?
Sometimes I get so tired and worn down that I just don’t want to be a mom anymore.
That one’s probably the worst for me.
It’s not that I don’t want or love him, because I do. It’s just that some days I wake up and I just want to be able to do what I would like to do, to take care of just myself for a day, to not feel like crap and feel guilty every time I have to pry him away from a cord or outlet while he screams at me even though I’m literally keeping him from electrocuting himself.
3 Truths For When the Guilt Hits
I’ll be honest: I don’t have all the answers. Most days I’m pretty sure I don’t have any of the answers. So this is just as much for me as it is for you.
1. You’re doing the best you can
I know sometimes it doesn’t seem like it’s much or enough. I know it doesn’t always feel like it. I get it, honestly.
I’m in the trenches here too.
Learn to let go of this perfect idea you have of what a mom is and just keep doing the best that you can. Your kids will survive. More likely than not, they will even thrive, because your best is better than you give yourself credit for.
Related: To the Mom Who Quit Breastfeeding
2. Take care of yourself
This is one of the hardest things for me right now.
Today I cried first thing in the morning because my son had been up multiple times in the night and then he decided he wanted to get up way earlier than I could pull off.
My husband reminded me that there’s a reason airplanes tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before you help other people. You have to make time for you. No, I have not gotten this one down yet. But it is essential.
3. Babies still cry
Remember how I said it didn’t bother me when my child cried when he was first born because that’s what newborns do?
Well, eight month old babies do it too.
Sometimes it has a reason that you can fix for them, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s because you won’t let them play with the power cord that will kill them if they stick their slobbery finger into it.
Those times you just have to let it go and not let it get to you.
Having babies and raising kids is hard. It really is. And it’s really easy to want to give up some days. Hang in there. Keep plugging along. It will get better. This too shall pass.
Does ‘mom guilt’ hit you? What do you do to overcome it? Let me know in the comments below!