Isn't mom guilt the worst?! I am pretty laid-back most of the time in parenting - but every so often I run into the version of me that wants to be like the vision of another mom, and I find myself not measuring up. And then I feel bad and am tempted to hate myself!
I follow mostly money-saving blogs written by moms I don't know and then only 2 others that are written by friends, one is a pregnant first-time mom, and the other is in the exact spot I am in in motherhood... Well, almost... She has been a stay-at-home mom since her first was born, while I am just starting my SHM (is that the right acronym?) journey with my toddler diva daughter and newborn son. So I read a lot of tips, dreams, plans, and reflections of other moms often! I read a lot while I nurse my son every day, so I am pretty well-read online!
The money-saving blogs mostly give tips on how to save money by spending your time - you know, like clipping coupons, shopping around for better deals, cooking from scratch, homemade gifts, DIY stuff, etc!
And each time I read a post, I can feel the guilt rising in me! My thoughts always go in this order in response to their tips and projects:
1) 'How smart! I'll have to try that!'
2) 'But... When will I have two hands to do that?
3) 'It takes me three times longer to do anything when I have half the hands as other people' (I know that math doesn't seem accurate, but it is! If you don't believe me, come spend a day with my almost 6-week old and my toddler).
4) 'Why does it take me so long? Something must be wrong with me!'
5) 'Maybe I could get up earlier in the mornings...'
6) 'Are you kidding me?! I am already getting up 1-3 times a night to nurse Keegan! I would be a zombie if I got up early as well!'
7) 'If this kid would just sleep through the night, I could get up earlier and get something accomplished!'
8) 'This kid is never going to sleep through the night!'
9) 'Why doesn't he sleep longer? He weighs the same his sister did when she slept all night! Am I doing something wrong?'
10) 'Keisha (yes, I am talking to myself), don't compare your children. That isn't good for anybody!'
11) 'I know, I'm sorry! See, I never get anything done but things I shouldn't do!'
You get the idea! It is a slow process that quickly turns into a downward spiral of thinking I do nothing right and never will!
But thankfully my usual laid-back self comes in with some reason -
'Keisha, Keegan is not even 6 weeks old yet! And you had major surgery to get him here! And everyone you've talked to said their son ate at night until about 4 months old! This is normal! Several people have told you they didn't get anything done with a newborn in the house either! Even your midwife said that you would need to let the toddler watch a lot of tv so you could feel like you can get some of life done while recovering, nursing, and figuring having 2 kids out - and you don't even let her watch that much tv in order to get by!'
Then I remember that we also just moved homes only 5 weeks after having a baby, and I congratulate myself for already having my living room, playroom, kitchen, and main bathroom unpacked and organized completely after only being here 4 days! I also have both kids' rooms and ours mostly unpacked and organized! I also remind myself that I painted the rooms (with help) before we even moved in with a 4-week old!
I remind myself that I won't always be spending 20 minutes to look for a pair of pants because I had to check all the boxes and bags for them! I won't always be tired because I was up 3 times last night with a crying infant! I won't always only have one hand available while the other hand holds a baby, burps, pats, cleans noses, dresses little bodies, fixes big curly hair, and picks up a million tiny toys!
It only FEELS like it will be forever!
Then I remember how much I felt like this with one child when Emersyn was born! And I realize how independent and capable she is now - at 2 1/2 years old she is potty-trained, can feed herself, can drink from an open cup, can put on her own slip-on shoes, can speak in full sentences (even if I am the only one who understands them), can work the phone and DVD player on her own, knows words to songs, can count in order to 12, knows all her colors, etc...
And it seems like yesterday I was crying on the couch while she had colicky screaming fits, and I tried everything, but nothing worked to calm her... That wasn't 5 minutes ago?! That was 2 1/2 years ago!
So I need to kill the mom guilt before it even begins! Why do I even feel the need to measure up to these other women?! Just because they have 5 kids under 6, or save $100 on groceries from their all-around town couponing and multiple-stores tour?! That "if they can do it, I should be able to as well" thing?!
I am only me. I am only in my situation. Comparing myself to other moms only makes me less of the mom I already am, just as me, because it makes me tense, depressed, and self-centered!
No, I am not getting done as much each day as I keep hoping I will, but as my daughter says so often "babies grow up". Someday Emersyn and Keegan (and whoever else may join our clan someday) will read, ride bikes, wash dishes (well they better), drive, graduate, and then only visit every once in a while...
And I am going to wish I hadn't spent all my time rocking my sweet baby boy with thoughts like 'When am I going to be able to put him down so I can do another load of laundry?'
God made me a mom to these kids, and it will only be a short time where they depend SO MUCH on me. Who am I to wish they depended upon me less?! God designed humans to start out this needy; who am I to question and complain about His design?!
I should spend my time thinking about how dependent I am upon the Lord, and that His desire is for me to need Him! Perhaps that is why he made babies the way they are - to remind the adults that we are to come to Him "like children". We are helpless spiritually without Him.
Oh how I want to treasure these times, and merely just laugh at myself when I am tempted to think 'I got nothing done today!'
Um, hello! I got to be a mom today! I got to smooch on, hug, read to, sing to/with, play with, feed, clothe, calm and comfort, and protect 2 beautiful children that God gave me!
I got a lot done today! Maybe I got it all done today, because God had a different to-do list than I did.
And His is always the best - much better than any money-saving moms typing their worldly wisdom for me to read.
At the end of the day, if my kids are healthy and loved, and I have tried to point them to Christ with my words and actions... Then the only thought I should have as my head hits the pillow (yes, however many times that is for however short of a time it is) is...