I’ve been wanting to write this post for a really long time but I just couldn’t find the words. I want to start by saying, please don’t judge me or laugh at me for anything I am putting out in this because I am honestly and genuinely sharing a little piece of my soul here. While being authentic every day is so important to me, there is always a part of me that stays locked away because I feel guilt or shame in having certain feelings.
By nature, I am a people pleaser. I want everyone to be happy and I want to make the lives of those around me easier. I feel like in the past I have always given so much of myself in order to make others happy. In the past few years, I’ve learned that I just have to care less what people think of me. For the most part, I give zero f*cks about most things, but when it comes to wanting those around me to be happy…that part of me hasn’t changed. Becoming a wife and mother has only magnified that aspect of my personality. Sometimes to the point of anxiety.
Having Teagan has been by far the best and most fulfilling part of my life but it’s also created this sense of guilt I haven’t been able to shake since she was born. I am completely convinced that when you become a mother that the part of your brain turns off that acknowledges your needs outside of the essentials of air, food, water, sleep…well minimal sleep at best.
Breastfeeding was a huge trigger in all of this for me. I knew I wanted to breastfeed and built up this image of what that looked like in my head. None of those images involved a bad latch and exclusively pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock for months. While a few months in, Teagan finally latched and breastfeeding has gone well for us; that guilt and anxiety hasn’t gone away. I wanted to stop every day and prayed that I would dry up so I didn’t have to consciously make that choice. I knew switching to formula would make my life easier, it would lower my stress level and she would still be healthy but my mom guilt just wouldn’t let me because I knew how great it is for her health. Here we are at 13 months old and I still can’t fully wean her because I feel guilty. WHY? Why do I feel guilty? I’ve given her this amazing gift for 13 months and I still can’t figure out why I feel guilty stopping. Let’s be serious, she won’t feel guilty for making my boobs look like a bunch of *not* fluffy pancakes.
In many ways, I think as moms we want to convince ourselves that our passion is just our children and family. That we can be completely fulfilled by watching them grow, experiencing those milestones side by side and making sure our husbands are taken care of. I wouldn’t have time to take part in any of my other passions because I’m so consumed by my family, right? That’s what I thought for the first few months but then I realized that for me that wasn’t it at all. It’s that I felt like that’s how I should feel and if I didn’t then I wasn’t a good wife or a good mother. My mom guilt is all consuming.
I have spent two nights away overnight from Teagan since she was born and I felt terrible about it. I wanted to go visit my friends and enjoy that time with them but getting my mind to a place where that was okay was so hard. I want a break, no… I need a break from being a mom and wife sometimes but saying that out loud and taking that break just feels so wrong. My life is amazing and I feel so blessed to live it so why do I need a break?
I constantly joke to Cary about needing a break and just being so tired and he will say ‘well, go take a break, I’ll take Teagan’. What I don’t think a lot of men understand or just people without children is that it is so unbelievably hard to just go upstairs while you hear your husband and baby play downstairs or to let them go run errands without you. I love being a part of that family unit and doing things together is a blast so when I am missing out I feel guilty.
Do I have this guilt because I feel like something is missing? Do I have this dissatisfaction because I’d rather be doing something else? No, I had all of these feelings when I was working full time and missing all of these moments while Teagan was at daycare so I’m fully convinced that mom guilt is alive and well and living within all of us no matter our working status. Does it go away as they get older and more independent? Does it go away from simply putting “me time” on the calendar once a month? Does it go away when your husband just goes ahead and plans something for you so you don’t have enough time to let the mom guilt set in and say no? These are all real questions I would like to know the answers to.
I think that we all define what makes us fulfilled a little bit different and it’s about finding that passion that makes us feel a little bit better every day. If I’m being 100% honest, there have been days where I’ve cried by myself because I didn’t know what was missing. And then cried more because I felt guilty for feeling like there was anything missing when I live a wonderful life and get to stay home with my daughter. You see the vicious cycle that is happening here? Mentally…it’s so brutal.
Finding a way to nurture a passion while also being completely involved with my baby is all I was really looking for. Hence, this little blog. A few years ago, my best friend and I had a blog together and it was amazing. I loved every minute of it but then I got pregnant and life turned upside down fast and it just kind of died. When I decided to quit my job, it seemed like a good time to start up a new one, this time focus on motherhood, this beautiful journey called life, and all the fun that goes along with it. For a while there, I think I was consumed by the idea that being a mother meant I could only be passionate about my children. In reality, for me…that’s the mental death sentence.
I still really struggle with mom guilt and making time for myself without feeling like a complete and total a**hole but having this little piece of the internet that is just mine to bare my soul has been really therapeutic. That and some occasional dates out with my friends and no baby bring me back to reality that you can juggle both and still be a great mom.
My house isn’t always the cleanest; dinner isn’t always ready; I forget laundry in the washer way more times than I’d like to admit; I don’t blog every day. Then there are the days that I spend too much time looking at my phone, get the idea to deep clean everything, get a blog post written, wash and fold all the laundry and have a really great dinner prepared. All examples of things I feel guilty about on a daily basis. What I’m learning is, it’s okay. The first half isn’t done because I’m giving all my attention to Teagan; the second half isn’t done because I’m fulfilling what makes me feel better. I need to give myself some grace every now and then and remind myself every day will be different and I’m doing my best to find balance.
If you struggle with mom guilt or feeling like something is missing, you are not alone. I think it’s completely normal and I wish I had more insight on when that changes but frankly, I’m looking for that answer myself. What I will say is find that passion. If you’ve wanted to start a blog or YouTube channel, just do it. People will make fun and judge you no matter what you do in your life, sometimes it even includes people you think are your friends…but who cares. I’m sure a lot of my friends and family make fun of me and how much I share on social media but whatever. We only have one life to live and you have to do what makes you happy and give into those things that serve as an outlet. As my friend Sarah would say… “one life. one chance.” So go find your passion mamas and don’t let that mom guilt become all consuming. You are doing a great job!