I found myself writing “mom guilt is brutal” as a reply today.
Not annoying, not tedious, not nothing. But, instead, the word brutal.
Mom guilt, oh mom guilt. Why so much guilt? Why so much power? And yet, there it is. Threatening to dismantle our pride in what we do. Threatening to discredit the awesome we complete every single day. I know, sister. I know how heavy it can be. I know that feeling, that racing pulse, that holding of one’s breath, of the tears shed behind the bathroom door while they knock needing you, of smiles plastered on faces while your inside shatters, of sitting in principal’s offices, of waiting at the table for their return, of showing up over and over and never feeling like it was enough.
I know that late night whisper of guilt keeping you awake despite exhaustion.
I know that fear of talking about it because once we say we feel it are we in some way admitting that we’ve stumbled?
Oh my friend.
You are not alone.
Stumbling is part of motherhood.
Mom guilt likes to lie to us. It likes to tell us that we are the only ones dealing with this. It likes to make us cower in the shadows for fear of not measuring up. It likes to whisper things like, “you are failing” and “you’re messing up your kids.” It likes to ignore everything that we do well. It likes to minimize our impact.
But sister. Listen. Listen very closely.
You know about mom guilt because you care.
You love. You give. You want the best.
That’s the other side. That part of you. The cheerleader, the reader, the homework helper, the wait of for texts person, the giver despite the tired, the driver here and there and back again, the mom. Their mom.
Our kids will never be perfect. They just won’t. And there will be times where you will find yourself sitting in a room or at a table or behind the steering wheel of your vehicle wondering what on earth is going on and why life is so hard. Life, despite the thirty minute sitcom of bliss, was not designed to be roses and rainbows and glitter. Instead it’s a life of molding little ones into middle ones into teenage ones into adults. And whenever you mold something, whenever you invest in something there is the pain of figuring it out.
Mom guilt looks at the falls and not the triumphs.
Do you see you? Do you see the amazing things you do every day? Or do you brush them under the rug because they are, well, just what a mom does? Well, listen, again – mothering is the farthest thing from ordinary.
So back to this brutal thing about mom guilt.
It’s brutal because you love with the same brutal intensity. You give and give and give. You would die for those kids of yours, right? You march into teacher’s offices and doctor’s clinics for them. You stay up late and get up early and do it over and over again for them. You work exceptionally hard. You deal with slammed doors and toddlers that don’t go to bed or teenagers that think you’re nuts. You don’t give up.
And that is hard. It’s beautiful and brutal.
Years ago Glennon Doyle called life brutiful.
And that’s motherhood, my friend. It is a life filled with ups and downs and moments of triumph and moments of pain. If it wasn’t for one we wouldn’t feel the other.
So mom guilt? Don’t let it define your now.
Look at your story. Look at it with pride. You aren’t a wimp. You aren’t messing up. You aren’t failing.
Sister, you are mothering.
My oldest is 23. I thought I messed up so many times. My next is 21. I felt that too. But they are amazing. And so are the rest of my kids. Not because I am perfect. But rather because I never quit. I took the stumbles and learned from them. I took the hard places and pushed through. Because they stumbled and learned to try. Because instead of perfection we decided to write a story of real. Of a family that loves each other no matter what, that forgives, that gives, that tries.
You can do this.
You are the part of the most beautiful story.
No more guilt. And if you feel it – know that the only reason it is there is because you LOVE deeply. You want the best. You don’t quit. And that? That’s the most beautiful, brutal love story there ever was told.
Thank you sweet mom. Thank you.