Is there any escaping the sleepless nights full of coulda shoulda woulda’s about our day?
I should have done that puzzle with him when he asked.
I could have held off on those emails and snuggled with him on the couch.
I would have had more patience if my kids didn’t drive me so insane!!!
I’ve been there. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there.
And then you kiss them good night and see them sleeping, so innocently, so freakin cute….. and it’s the biggest kick in the butt. Ever. Mom guilt hurts. It pains. It keeps us up at night. And then we wake up tired, and cranky, and our kids press our buttons and we do something we shouldn’t, and the mom guilt cycle repeats itself.
Am I right?
But I think I’ve figured it out. I think I’ve figured out how to erase the mom guilt for good. The answer is two fold:
1. Be present with your kids
2. Make time for yourself
And it’s truly a balance between the two.
I am home with my children all day every day. How lucky am I? But there are days that go by and I think to myself, “I just took care of their basic needs. Did I even look them in the eye and connect?” It’s so easy to get consumed in in all the “stuff that has to get done” that we forget about the most important thing. Are we making time to meaningfully connect with each one of our children every day? Maybe it’s 10 minutes, maybe its 30 minutes. But whatever the length, it is so important to give them 100% of you. No phones. This information is really nothing new, but if you think back on your day, did you dedicate any time just to your child?
Making their lunch doesn’t count.
Doing their laundry doesn’t count.
Making sure they did their homework doesn’t count.
Putting them to bed doesn’t count.
Watching them play on the playground while you gab with your girlfriend doesn’t count.
Yes, we are exhausted after all of this, but who ever said parenting was easy?
….. I’m talking one-on-one time here.
Be Present with your Kids:
Maybe it’s a conversation on the couch, or a soccer pass, or a board game, or the ever-popular playing “bears” and going hunting for food, or playing “boat” and fending off dragons (the youngest brother) and scary thunderstorms (a good excuse to hide under a blanket). A memory can be made in an instant. And when you think back on your day, even though you probably didn’t feel like playing bears, you will smile about it and know that it was probably the highlight of your child’s day. And even more of the time, it will be the highlight of yours. If your alternative is folding laundry, or doing dishes, or checking instagram…you made the right choice. And don’t get me wrong. I am not the model of perfect behavior to this regard. No. Sometimes I choose instagram. And then come, oh….. say maybe 11:32… I feel like crap…. #momguilt
So do it. Make time for your kids and some of that mom guilt will slip away.
Obviously your friend will pop in for a minute to say hi and you’ll be embarrassed by the dishes in your sink. But if she’s your friend, she will get it. And if she doesn’t, is being messy really the worst reputation to have?
Make time for yourself:
Doing that first part… being present with your kids….it’s not as easy at it sounds…..because….”But what about MEEE??!!? What about MY life? What about my desires to pee alone?” I get it. You can’t give yourself to your kids if you haven’t had the time to complete a single thought of your own. Kids are needy. They are pests. They will take you every second they can get. But guess what? That’s not good for them and it’s not good for you either. So how do you get time for yourself? This can be tricky. Boundaries are helpful. And no, I’m not talking about a cage. I’m talking about saying, “Mommy needs to get some things done so it’s time for you guys to play with your toys.”
And guess what? You don’t have to feel bad about that for two reason:
1. You just gave them 100% of yourself (and loved every second of it), and…
2. Independent play is uber important.
So while they are playing, then you do your thing. The options are endless. You could pay some bills (boring). You could bake (messy). You could pluck your eye browns (much needed). Just do what YOU want to do. You could get a baby-sitter (ding! ding! ding!) and work out, get your nails did, or even shop online. Whatever you do, just do it and know that your kid is FINE playing by him/her self.
…. because soon enough. Your kid is going to get bored and going to want you again. And that’s ok. Because you had your me-time and now you are not distracted by your desires to have that me-time and are able to focus on your child again. Whole-heartedly.
Yeah. So that’s how I erase my mom guilt. Try it and let me know how it works for you.