It's good to feel guilty about some things.
Like if I ever forget my kid in a car, at a store, or anywhere for that matter, Nature's going to help me feel guilty about that to ensure my son's survival. I'm happy about that. I will thank Nature for her services.
Like last week, when I was jogging to go pick up my son from daycare, I heard a cry. I was certain it was my baby's cry, even though I was still a few blocks away, it was out of place, and made little sense. I followed the sound with the tracking abilities of a hunting dog. And sure enough, I found my son our for a walk with his teachers, tears streaming down his little cheeks. This is an amazing feature of the Mom Chip.
But unfortunately, that same chip seems to also shut down the piece of a mother that accurately perceives her imperfections and believes that she still have needs.
I knew that having a baby meant an impending identity shift, but as with marriage, parts of it were instant and others weren’t. My way of momming. My preferences, wants, desires, mantras, my heart. Who did I want to be? How could I give to everything I wanted to be? I had an idea built up in my mind. She was a Pinteresty, at-home, super fit, cooking, cleaning, working mom. Like a super mom.
Every mom must have a super mom running around inside her head, taunting her with some ridiculous and unattainable ideal. As modern-day mothers we’re challenged to put a foot in both worlds, motherhood and an occupation, house work and bacon bringer (figuratively speaking, I don't eat meat). As kids we were taught that we could be whatever we wanted to be, the world at our fingertips!
But it's a lie. We can't be whatever we want to be.
We can't be everything.
We can't be everything.
Unaware of it early on, Mom Guilt prevented me from, oh, I don't know, being a person.
I've been known to be against myself, to engage in the cruelest of mommy wars. I think a lot of my Mom Guilt has had to do with the resulting discomfort from the imperfect person I found myself to be in my attempt to be someone’s mom. From who I found myself to be in not being everything. Becoming a mother was so painful in part because it revealed to me what I truly believed. About God, about life.
Most often, this guilt is a result of conflicting desires, coming to know our imperfections, and acknowledging our limitations.
But I will not feel guilty about dropping my son off at daycare.
I will not feel guilty about feeling bored about rolling around on the floor.
Most importantly, I will not feel guilty about not being able to be 100% everything. There's only so much of me to go around.
I have to remind myself of this most days. It doesn't come naturally. But I think the more I can harness the guilt, trap it, throw it away, the more I'll be able to be a better mom. And that's the paradox. The guilt does nothing except serve as yet another obstacle, preventing us from being the kind of moms we want to be.