I am not a perfectionist. I don’t do the Pinterest birthday parties for my kids. There have been years when I almost forgot to buy the cake. (Thank you, Cupcake Blues, for whipping up pink kitty cat cakes at the very last minute.) And yet, even though I’m not shooting for perfection, I still feel guilt about how I’m doing as a mom, and I suspect a lot of you do, too.
I suspect a lot of you live with guilt every day, perfectionists or not. It is a steady murmur, a throb that flares and fades. And it is as familiar to stay-at-home moms as it is to those who work outside the house.
For those three lonely years when I stayed home with my babies, I felt guilty for not being a better stay-at-home mom. We did not go to the zoo very often. We did not do crafts. We mostly hung out at home and went for walks. I puttered around in my robe, the insides of my pockets stained by Peanut M&Ms. I did not breastfeed long enough. I yelled.
Back in the workforce now, I feel guilty for all the time I spend away from the kids. And when I get the day wrong for my 4-year-old’s parent-teacher conference. And when I am the clueless parent who doesn’t bring enough goody bags to school for her birthday because I don’t know how many kids are in the class. And I still yell.
But none of that makes me feel like a failure more than the morning daycare drop-off horror show. The 2-year-old is not a problem. She’s my mini-Apple Blossom Festival princess. She runs into the building high-fiving her toddler friends. They clap when they see her. She usually forgets to say goodbye to me.
The 4-year old is a tougher little cookie. She cries and clings to my leg in the crowded cubby room and I give her kisses and then essentially throw her onto a teacher. It. Is. Awful. Then six minutes later, the guilt flares again at the office when I’m sitting at my desk taking that first glorious sip of coffee in peace.
This is my first real post for the blog, and I think that’s fitting. Guilt is a good place for us to start this conversation about work, kids and finding balance in life. It is such a big part of my life and the lives of a lot of moms I know. And I don’t have any answers. I could use a little help from you all.
So here’s my question for you, fellow moms: Does it ever end? Should I just embrace this feeling of falling short and settle in for the rest of my life? Or will I wake some magic morning and find that the guilt has eased? Moms, how do you deal with guilt? Comments are open!
(photo credit: Metro Creative)