I (Quitter) am no in mood to sugar coat things these days. Being a mother is HARD, especially when you carry the dreaded “Anvil of Guilt.” (It may be figurative, but the heaviness is real.)
Specifically “mother guilt.”
It’s something Bossy and I talk about…A LOT.
Are the decisions we make affecting our kids in a negative way? (Sometimes.)
Should we volunteer more at their schools and activities? (Bossy says “yes.” I say “hells no.”)
Do we need to do more to make our children amazing global citizens who contribute in a way that will change this world for the better? (Probably, but that sounds exhausting.)
Should we just chuck it all and create a tiny house village for worn out mothers with a sign that says “No kids or husbands allowed!” (YES! At this point we usually just give up and break out ukuleles, fizzy beverages and gummy worms.)
And now for some harsh mother guilt truths…
*Disclaimer: If you’re about to start a family or are a new mom full of hope you may want to avert your gaze, because shit’s about to get real.
It Doesn’t Get Better
Sorry to be the barer of bad news, but after thirteen years in the motherhood trenches I can honestly tell you that my feelings of guilt and worry that I am monumentally fucking up my children’s lives have not subsided. What has changed is my acceptance of these feelings. They used to keep me up at night, but they don’t any more. Now I just say “Hey guilt what’s up?” and “Yo worry, you here again?” And carry on with my life. I acknowledge and move on. Apparently that’s what healthy people do.
You Feel Like You’re Failing in Every Other Part of Your Life
Being a mom is full of awesomeness. It really is. The hugs alone are worth the price of admission. But no one warns you about the toll it will take on every other aspect of your life.
That career that you once cared so much about? Now it barely rates as use every last vacation, sick and personal day to care for your kids. So you feel guilty about the money you wasted on school.
Your friends? You mean those people you haven’t seen in months, maybe years. Sure you might “like,” one of their pictures on social media or send them a random text here and there, but the connection you once had is gone. Which makes you feel guilty about being a shitty friend.
And your partner? You know, that person you were so crazy about in the beginning and couldn’t wait to start a family with. Now you’re “teammates,” if you’re one of the lucky ones. You trade off parenting duties and run in separate directions to make sure everything gets done, which ends up making you feel like strangers. More guilt.
And now for the harshest of the truths…
Sometimes You Wish You’d Taken a Different Path
One of the things Bossy and I promised each other before undertaking this blog experiment was that we would force ourselves to be painfully real. So here it goes… Sometimes I don’t want to be a mother. Sometimes I am so very tired of giving myself to my children that I just want to run away and never look back. I wonder what my life would have looked like if “mother,” wasn’t my primary identifier. And I get angry and resentful and empty and filled to the brim all at once and it’s more then I think I can take. And on those days I don’t think the word “guilt,” is big enough to encompass the weight and remorse and fear I am feeling. And then it goes away. And I carry on.
Because that’s what mother’s do. We feel the guilt but we carry on.