I've been reading a lot about "Mommy Guilt" over the last few days. And through all my reading, I've decided....I've got it. Bad.
But the thing is, mine seems totally unjustified. Not the guilt, I'm totally legit on the guilt. But the cause of the guilt....not so much.
I've been reading about mothers who have "mommy guilt" because they work, and are away from their kids all day. Or those who are in an unhealthy relationship, which their children see every day, but they stay anyway. People with serious issues.
My mommy guilt? It's over me being...well...ridiculous. I get frustrated. A lot. Guilt. I get angry. Sometimes, but more than I should. Guilt. I get overwhelmed. All the time. Guilt. I get preoccupied. Way too often. Guilt. I snap. One time is too many, but it happens frequently. Guilt.
Problem: I get frustrated when I have said "no" five thousand times, and he still looks at me, smiles, and does it anyway. In my head: Enough is enough. Why isn't he listening? Reality: He's 16 months old. He's testing limits. He's learning. He isn't going to understand everything right away. Result: Guilt for getting frustrated.
Problem: I'm showering, and he is destroying the bathroom. Again. This time, he broke my blush. When I get out of the shower, it's ground into the white bedroom carpet. In my head: He is doing this on purpose. He hates me. He wants to see me break. Reality: He's 16 months old. He doesn't know. How was he supposed to know that the blush, that was left on the shelf, in the cabinet, that he can get into, wasn't a toy? Result: Total anger....at MYSELF....for not child proofing my make up better. And then....guilt. Not for being mad at myself, but for getting mad at him.
Problem: The kitchen floor is sticky. The highchair still has remnants of last nights dinner in it. The cat is meowing for NO REASON. He is currently reprogramming my TV because he got a hold of the remote....again. Jeremy has left a list of errands he needs to me to run....it's a mile long. The bathroom hasn't been scrubbed clean in over a week. It's raining, and I am going to have to take him out in it. In my head: I can't do this. There's no way. I need to clean EVERYTHING. Right now. I need to send the cat to live on a farm. I'm just going to have to throw the damn TV out because it's probably going to be useless in two minutes. Doesn't Jeremy ever think that maybe HE could run an errand or two? The bathroom should probably be demolished because it's just crawling with germs and nasties and I can't handle it. Reality: I don't need to clean everything. I can wipe the high chair down in 30 seconds, and I can wash the floor while he naps. The cat isn't going anywhere, she just needs me to stop for two seconds and pet her. He does this to the TV daily. Have we ever had to throw it out? No. Jeremy works a full time job, takes a class for a second masters degree, and coaches soccer two nights a week. When would he find time to run to the dry cleaners? The bathroom is gross, yes, but if I spend a half hour on it, when I get a half hour, it will be fine. And it can wait until then. I should take this time to go sit down and read a book with my kid. Or tickle him. Or kiss him. Or just sit with him. Result: Guilt. Guilt for being such maniac about the germs (Justification: I'm keeping us all healthy). Guilt for even thinking of sending my princess to live with anyone else. Guilt for giving two shits about the TV, he's entertained and honestly, probably knows exactly what he's doing. Guilt for being angry with Jeremy when he works his ass off for us, and so that I can stay home and worry about all the rest of this. Guilt for...well for not cleaning the bathroom sooner. There's really nothing else to say about that.
Problem: I just cleaned one bathroom, so I need to clean the other two. Or....Pinterest just sucked me in. In My Head: What sense does it make to have one clean bathroom, and two dirty ones? None. And besides, he's totally occupied with Dora right now, he doesn't even noticed that I'm pinning the most random shit in the universe and pretending that I'm totally going to make that six layer chocolate cake. Reality: Not all three bathrooms need to be scrubbed within the same hour, on the same day. They just don't. And I'm never going to make that damn cake, so why am I wasting my time sitting here pinning it? Result: Guilt. Guilt for letting Dora watch my kid while I give in to my anxiety and clean like a crazy person. Guilt for thinking it's ok to let him occupy himself for an hour so I can play on the computer. Guilt for not being on the floor, building those blocks as high as we can get them. For not having a book open and reading. For not having a dance party in our pajamas at 9 in the morning.
Problem: He just looked right at me, smiled, and threw ANOTHER handful of food over the side of the high chair. This time it was rice. In sauce. In a pile on my kitchen floor. And, by the way, I'm exhausted because I cleaned the whole house during nap time instead of taking two minutes to sit down and breathe, or maybe close my eyes. In My Head: He just looked right at me, smiled, and did it. He knows whats coming. He asked for it. Reality: He's 16 months old. He thinks it's funny. And he doesn't realize that it doesn't just disappear, that it actually needs to be cleaned. But now he's crying because I just screamed "LANDON WARREN!!!!!!" 20 octaves higher than necessary and scared him. I was mean. Downright mean. Result: Guilt. Guilt for making him cry. Guilt for not taking the time that I needed for myself earlier so that I didn't get to this point, of snapping. Guilt for not letting him just be a boy, and find it funny to throw food on the floor, he's just a baby.
All of these things add up to one huge thing: Guilt for not being a better mommy.
And at the end of the day, that's at the root of ALL moms "Mommy Guilt". We all feel like we could be doing better at any given moment. And maybe sometimes we could be. But other times, we truly are doing the absolute best we can, and just because at the time our "best" means that we have to walk away from the adorable little creatures we created, and sit in another room and just cry for a few minutes....that doesn't mean we're "bad moms". It just means we're "human moms". And kids, I'm as human as it gets. Sometimes with a little psycho added in.
But, let's be honest, even as I sit here and write that, with such conviction, like I tell myself at the end of every day that I'm a "GREAT MOM", I don't. And I don't always believe it. More often than not, I'm hating myself for not doing better. I know, without a doubt, that I was given the right baby for me, I've talked about all the reasons before. But, how do I know he was given the right mom? Doesn't he deserve a mom who is always happy? Always smiling? Always on the floor playing? Always has an immaculate house? Always laughing and never, ever angry, overwhelmed, frustrated, or sad? I know he deserves that mom, and it kills me daily that I can't be her. But, really, does she exist? Is that mom out there? If you're her, please get a hold of me ASAP. I'd like to take classes. And then probably round house kick you in the face. Because if you exist, that's just not fair to the rest of us.
So for now, I'm just going to find contentment and peace with the overflowing basket of laundry in my bedroom. And the pink stains on my carpet from the smashed blush. And in all my pins on Pinterest that I will never, in a million years, do a damn thing with (and also with the ones that I HAVE done, and done WELL). And in the time that I DO spend on the floor, tickling, laughing, building, reading, loving my perfect, adorable, sometimes really, really misbehaved, little guy. Because I think, at least I hope, that he's happy with the mama he got. Despite all my crazy. And that's enough for me. For now.