Monday, June 17, 2013

The Guilt of Motherhood

The pressures, expectations, self-judgment and outward comparisons of being a mom are enormous. Enormous I tell you! The things I find myself feeling bad about, or guilty about like I've dropped the ball are truly ridiculous. But it feels like the nature of parenting and motherhood has these crazy notches on the measuring stick, and because some kids can do certain things or some moms do certain things, then my lack of doing those things means I have somehow let my kid down. Which if I try, for just a moment, to be a rational human being I may be able acknowledge that my worries are unreasonable. But I am unreasonable, so the whole rational thinking thing doesn't equate to much. Here are a few examples of what seem to be worthy of questioning my mom skills.  

Henry is almost 11 months old and doesn't know a bit of sign language. He cannot sign to tell us if he's hungry, full, tired, or would like a puppy.  But he does whisper something that sounds very close to "poop" while he is pooping, which to me, is pretty extraordinary. 

I'm not big into music but about a month ago, James played some music while he was hanging out with Henry, and he immediately responded. He calmed down, he was listening and thinking, and he was bobbing up and down. Great, right? Except that I felt terrible that I had wasted 10 months of his life without surrounding him with music, and maybe, just maybe, I had already set back his brain development, because we all know music helps tiny human's brains develop and become more active. So I'll have you know that every day since we make sure we have music on while we play or eat. Hopefully I can undo the effects of my failure to have music playing for 10 whole months. 

My kid has worn socks maybe a dozen times in the 300+  days he's been alive. Apparently people expect babies to have socks on? This guilt is only momentary, and then I think, my kid hasn't ever been sick. Which I also attribute to the fact that he, on numerous occasions, has chewed on grocery carts, restaurant tables, and playground equipment. My lack of concern has lead to an impenetrable immune system. For this I am confident. 

I can probably spill out some meaningful statement about not judging our parenting and mom skills and that comparing ourselves to others isn't fair, but the fact is, I do it. Constantly. I think on one hand, it keeps me striving to be an awesome mom, on the other hand it keeps me questioning if I am doing enough and on the last hand -- because moms have three hands, thats how we get some much done -- the bitterness reaffirms that I am happy with how I am showing up as a mom, even if it's not the most "proper" way. 
Because we have fun. We laugh and smile and sneak up on eachother with kisses. We make huge messes, and loud noises. We blow bubbles in our water cup and bite eachothers feet. We sit on the floor and eat snacks and sometimes leave the house without being all put together. We try our absolute best. This is the good stuff, we don't make it serious. 

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