Friday, September 3, 2010
I have a serious problem with guilt. Not just any guilt, but possibly the worst kind of guilt. Mama Guilt.
I'm sure you know the kind, where you feel inadequate as a mom and you compare yourself and your children's behaviour to the other families that surround you.
The other day I was talking to a mama friend of mine who commented that she only allows her children 30 minutes of television per day. 30 minutes!?! In the back of my mind all I could think of was a few weeks ago when I was laid up on the couch with cramps and it was all I could do to get a few moments of peace to sit Gage down in front of the television for awhile to watch enough television to make those other supermoms shake their heads in disgust. Or better yet all of the times when I had to trek down to the basement to do a load of laundry or out to the mailbox, tasks that are much easier without a child hanging on my leg, where I stuck my boys in front of the television in order to get things done.
Brayden, my oldest child, casually mentioned to me that one of his new friends at school only packs his lunch because he is an organic vegan.... at age 7. The last time Brayden asked if he could pack his lunch it was thrown together last minute and consisted of a pb&j, an applesauce cup, some fruit snacks, and a boxed kids drink that I'm sure had enough sugar in it to make any mom scoff in disapproval.
When Gage goes into the nursery at our church he's often lined up with other kids his age who are all wearing their Sunday best clothes complete with creased dockers and sweater vests. The last time I dropped him off there, Gage was wearing torn jean shorts that showed off his poor scrapped knees paired with an old tee shirt with juice stains on the collar.
All of these factors add up to Mama Guilt, and those who have it carry it around with them everywhere they go, always sizing up the competition and feeling inadequate in their role as a mother.
Now there is nothing wrong with taking a few tips here and there on how to better improve things in your household, but on what scale are you using to deam yourself as an unfit mom? The fact is, there is no scale and every mom and every household is different as they do what works for their family dynamic.
Sometimes I feed my kids cereal for dinner because I'm too exhausted to cook a nutritious meal that night.
Sometimes I let my kids skip their nightly bath/shower and be smelly the next day just to get them into bed that much sooner because this mama needs to rest.
Sometimes I only read every other page of the bedtime story books because after a long day wrangling two rambunctious boys I'm exhausted.
And really, a little high fructose corn syrup never hurt anyone.