I was one of those girls growing up that always wanted to be a mom. It was just a natural desire for me, something strong and innate inside of me. Trouble is, that like most things that I idealized growing up, being a mother was completely different than what I imagined.
Yes, I was unaware of all the responsibilities and sacrifices and how deeply it would change my way of looking at the world. But more-so, I was unaware of the deep shame and guilt I would face in my journey of motherhood.
I hear it from every mother I meet, in some way or another, that she too has faced this same paralyzing, evil “mom guilt.”
In my life I feel it for not being more patient with my children when they disobey, for not having it in me to be a stay-at-home-mom, for not buying only organic foods, and even for taking time for myself. At least once a day I feel it. On a bad day, I could stack up the guilt a mile high! The truth is, in reality, it's much more like shame than guilt.
Guilt in its very nature is our healthy conscious, requesting us to change unhealthy, poor behaviors. Shame in comparison leaves you feeling like a failure that will never measure up, never get it right, always be less than. Shame keeps us beating ourselves up over and over again, keeping us from logically looking at ourselves, with the compassion and grace that is necessary for any human.
I can only speak for myself, but that shame makes me worse of a mother! It keeps me focused on comparing to other mothers, comparing to some ideal I have created in my mind of what a mom “should be.” When I am in that mindset, I am not thinking about how to best love my kids, or even how to correct the character defects I am seeing in myself.
Feeling guilty for taking time for myself, keeps me from doing that very thing. It’s a vicious, dangerous cycle. When I am outside of these moments of shame, my vision becomes clearer and I can logically see the goodness of motherhood being strangled by evil.
I do not want this to be my story! Nor do I desire for it to be any of yours. I think it's time we let go of the shame and guilt and just give ourselves a nice big hug for being everything to our children in the best way we possibly can! And our best may look very different than another mom's best, but that’s the whole damn thing, our best has NOTHING to do with another mom’s best!
I hope you find a resting place here at A Mama Collective. A place to be yourself! A place to let go of any expectation you or society has placed on you! A place to just be the best mama you can be!
Welcome to a guilt/shame-free zone!!