As the summer is beginning to wind down, I’ve already started reminiscing about the past few months with my little one. We’ve done so much this season and I am blown away by how she has grown into a capable, fearless little girl. My dreams came true as I watched her learn to climb a ladder by herself, jump into the water, play with sand, eat her first ice cream cone, draw with chalk on the driveway, dance in the sprinkler, go raspberry picking, enjoy long bike rides, jump on the trampoline, swim in the lake and meet many friends along the way. When I think back at moments I was excited to experience as a first time mom, those moments were definitely lived out this summer.
But then insert…Mom Guilt. Yup. That real, somewhat irrational thought that every great mom has at some point. Why has my nostalgia suddenly provoked the questions, “Have I done enough? Did she experience enough? Could I have done better?“. These thoughts exist now for a couple reasons; one being because I know I only have so much time before that first snowfall and we’re bound to the house until at least March (hello Chicago winters). But these thoughts don’t just end there. With my second child on the way, Mom Guilt has forced me to apply the same questions to all of Callie’s life. “Have I done enough? Did she experience enough? Could I have done better?” and even, “Did I spend enough time with just her as my only?“.
Why does the word “enough” exist so much in our vocabulary, but not in a positive way? As much as we do for our children, why do we always feel like we’re not doing enough? I’d like to think it’s because we are great moms, since we even have the ability to question ourselves in that light. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Jodi Picoult; “The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you already are one.” This notion allows me to ease a little, but there will always be a feeling of insufficiency.
Before I started my sleep consulting business, Mom Guilt was still there, but in a different form. I still asked myself those questions as if I wasn’t doing enough for my family outside of even being a mom. Some other questions were, “Am I doing enough to support my family? What else am I doing to contribute besides being a mom? Will my daughter admire me someday?” Although I certainly didn’t launch my business solely out of Mom Guilt, I admit it was a factor in introducing this rather big change into my life.
Furthermore, being a sleep consultant has given me a further peak into other forms of Mom Guilt through my own clients. Many parents feel a lot of guilt and fear around the idea of sleep training and don’t feel confident enough to go through the process. Others feel the guilt by seeing the sleeping habits they have already created that led them to contacting me in the first place. It’s with this career that I’ve realized it’s purely out of the love for our children that we have these intense feelings of guilt for any reason whatsoever; and I think it’s actually a beautiful thing.
As I sit here and expose my own thoughts and feelings, which I don’t often do through any platform, I feel comforted by the fact that I am not the only one who struggles with the feelings of Mom Guilt. And more importantly, this brief moment of reflection has reminded me that it’s, perhaps, more important to look forward and continue to be the best mom I can be, rather than being burdened about what I have or have not done.
Feel free to share your stories or feelings on this subject by contacting me anytime!