Posts Tagged ‘mommy guilt’

Overcoming Mommy Guilt with the Second Child

Monday, June 27th, 2016

mommy guiltLast August, I was so excited to spend just over a month enjoying every last minute that my older daughter (L) was an only child.  We were going to go downtown and ride the free shuttle bus. Zoo and museum trips were planned.  These last few weeks were going to be awesome, even if she wouldn’t remember them.  I needed these weeks to make peace with the fact that her little world would never be the same, and she no longer would have my undivided attention.

All my plans went out the window when my water broke at 35 weeks and 5 days.  Despite my best efforts to convince myself I was just accidently peeing, my younger daughter (J) was born early the following morning.  While I was overjoyed to meet J and that she was healthy, I had an enormous amount of guilt hanging over my head.

During the following couple of months, I struggled and worked through my guilt while adjusting to being mommy to two.  Here are a few things that helped me to get through this difficult time.

  1. Carving out time solely devoted to my older child: Bedtime routine was the part of each day that I can devote exclusively to L.  On more than one occasion, when she requested five more minutes of cuddles, I gladly gave in, because I needed the extra time just as much as she did.  The more time I could arrange to spend with just L, the less guilt I felt.
  2. Taking time to myself:  While this sounds counterproductive, because there is only so much time during the day, taking a half an hour to walk or run by myself, helped me to reset and improve the quality of time I spent with both my daughters and husband.
  3. Returning to our normal routine as soon as possible: When J was 2 months old, I enrolled L in her weekly mommy-and-me swim lessons and gym class again.  I managed to find times that corresponded with the baby’s naps.  Returning to our routines helped L burn off some of her toddler energy, and, again, carved out some time during the day for one on one time with her.
  4. Prioritizing tasks:  Taking care of my toddler’s emotional needs, establishing breast feeding, taking care of my newborn’s other needs, and keeping us all fed were my priorities early on.  I let everything else slide for a bit.  Doing a few things well (including spending time with L), gave me assurance that I was doing the best I could for my family.

 

 

At eight months out, much of my mommy guilt has dissipated with time (and lots of coffee).  My daughters now spend time playing together, and L seems to genuinely enjoy being a big sister.  I look back at the newborn months, and see that while it was tough and adjustment for all of us, L was not harmed or neglected and is still a happy, spirited toddler, and I am incredibly content with our expanded family.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to an energetic, spirited toddler and a happy, easy going baby from Denver, Colorado.  She enjoys running, hiking, and cooking with her two girls.

Let’s Ditch the Mom Guilt

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

ditching the mom guiltFirst of all, let me just tell you that I’ve always been a person who struggles with feeling guilty. As a teenager and young adult, I can remember agonizing over someone being upset with me or hurting someone’s feelings. I once went through a break-up that I knew was the right thing, but I still felt so guilty choosing happiness for myself. Since becoming a mom, this guilty feeling has only grown. I often call my best friend, Ali, and tell her I have “guilt gut.” This is a term we have coined for that feeling when you just feel guilty.

Here are some things I have felt guilty for today:

  • Not being the boss of my 3-year-old when she’s up for the day before dawn
  • Feeding my young toddler a pop tart- with frosting
  • Letting my kids eat salty snacks at 10 a.m.
  • Not fixing my hair better so I look more attractive for my husband
  • Going through the car wash with my kids even when I know someone is terrified

Sadly, I could go on. Anyone relate? When we become mothers, we are blessed with a new responsibility. We are in charge of young life. When our kids are young, we are literally the ones who keep them living. This is a big responsibility. Sadly, we don’t always measure up to our expectations. Why? I think it’s because we set the bar way too high.

So, moms, I want to encourage you today to ditch the mommy guilt. Let’s get rid of the “guilt gut” that plagues our days. Let’s spend our time being joyful, not pitiful.

I’ve decided I want to try to embrace mommy grace. Yes, I’m going to screw up. I’m going to yell. I will probably feed my kids pop tarts again this week, but I want to embrace grace. There is no reason to condemn ourselves for not measuring up. We are doing the best we can, and we are all in this together.

In order to ditch the mommy guilt, I am going to have to be proactive in embracing joy. When things go crazy, I am going to have to laugh. When snacks and milk fall to the ground, I want to spend the time teaching not scolding. Other mom friends are vital to ditching mommy guilt. I have five ladies who I love dearly who I know I could vent to any day about my mommy guilt. No shame. They’ve been there.  They are there to lift me up and encourage me. Do you have these amazing women in your life, too? If not, find them. Go to moms groups, foster friendships at preschool, church, work, wherever life takes you.

Let’s be real, though. There will always be the supermom persona. I know I will see a mom feeding her kids organic, beautifully dressed, and her kids may be way ahead of mine academically. And, that’s okay. My kids are okay. I’m okay. We are all doing the best we can. So let’s be the best, beautiful version of ourselves and not feel guilty about it.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana where she lives, writes, and loves her kids.