You’ve heard the phrase “mom guilt” — right? Articles are flooding parenting and lifestyle magazines that “mom guilt” is a very bad, no good, horrible thing. Sure, it can be — if it gets out of hand. But take a few minutes and re-think this mom guilt issue. Can it be a good thing?
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I don’t know about you, sweet mom, but I tend to feel the “mom guilt” when I begin the comparison game.
Just think of this scenario.
You’re doing your weekly grocery shopping when you run into another friend from high school. She has four kids — but still looks amazing. She still wears a size 8, and you are now a size 18. You may start having “I’m not skinny/pretty enough” mom guilt.
Or maybe this scenario fits you better.
Your best friend’s five-year-old comes over and picks up a children’s book from your child’s room and starts reading — and doing it quite well. Your five-year-old is still learning phonics! Immediately enters mom guilt.
Before we dive into the good things about mom guilt, let me clarify that comparing ourselves is never good. We all are living in different circumstances. We have different families, live in different areas, and have different responsibilities and so on. The bottom line is this: we are all different. Duh — right?
But sometimes we forget that simple truth and dig ourselves into a pity party that can suck all life-stirring motivation from the depths of our mommy souls.
Or, we can be motivated.
When I see my high school friend who still looks amazing after four kids, I could let her healthy, fit lifestyle motivate me to make healthier choices.
When I hear my friend’s child devouring books so masterfully, I can let that inspire me to spend more time building my child’s reading skills.
When I taste the amazing pie my friend dropped off at our house, I could enjoy it with my family and ask her for the recipe later.
There is such a thin line between guilt, comparison and motivation. But, it’s up to us to take mommy guilt and turn it into a good thing.
So many of us look at another mom who has it “all together” in one area and we plunge into a depressions mode.
Just a few months ago, my son innocently asked, “Mommy, why is Mrs. So-and-so skinnier than you?”
I had to purposely calm down and breathe.
But, I didn’t have time to respond. My female companions (daughters) jumped in.
“Because mommy has had SIX kids!!” Then the shameless hen-pecking began. My son was in utter confusion at all this female rage that was taken out on him for one simple question.
I quickly calmed my girls down and answered his question.
“No, it’s not because mommy has had six kids. It’s because Mrs. So-and-so works out six days a week and I don’t.”
The girls were still in hyper-defense mode and my son learned quickly you don’t question a woman about her weight — wink, wink!
I do admit I was a little hurt, but my son was being honest, and I took the opportunity to praise the other mom to my kids. I think it’s great that she’s dedicated to staying fit and healthy!
So, I want to ask a question to you moms who have felt mommy guilt: why not be happy for those moms that are excelling in an area in their life? In fact, we can be happy for them and ask them for tips and try to improve in that area as well. I’m sure she could use the encouragement. Sometimes moms can be jealous and mean, when you’ve done nothing at all except work hard in an area of your life!
Now, I have a friend who crochets the most beautiful creations this side of heaven. However, it does not motivate me to crochet. I don’t feel “mom guilt” because I don’t crochet. Nor do I think that every mom should chase every skill in order to feel accomplished. Some moms are skillful at the piano, some can bake pies that are crazy amazing. Still, other moms can decorate like Martha Stewart and other moms seem to never run out of crafty, fun ideas to do with their kiddos. Don’t let another mom’s talent tear you down. Find something your great at, invest your time in it and take joy in other mom’s talents.
Next time you see a mom whose house is sparkly clean, don’t go home and pout about it. Grab your swiffer, a few dusting cloths and roll up your sleeves. Your house my not sparkle as much as hers, but you can at least improve it! If you feel “mom guilt” coming on, make the best of it! It really can be a good thing!
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