No one told me what a huge role guilt plays in motherhood. You might as well set up a guest room and buy it an extra tooth brush cause it likes to hang around. No matter how hard you work another mother will work harder. No matter how tired you are there’s always more that needs to be done. You’re given precious, innocent babies and told to raise them. You have people’s lives in your hands everyday.
Be careful what you say because you’re teaching your children how to speak.
Be careful what you do because you’re teaching your kids how to behave.
Make sure you feed them well balanced meals because they’re growing.
Make sure you teach them new things and read to them everyday because you don’t want them falling behind.
AND what if you have a job? Now you have the added pressure of performing at work and ALSO coming home and meeting these incredibly high expectations.
No one wants to be a bad mom.
What if you’re a Mom with a dream or goal… like writing and publishing your own books?
Now you have that other word floating around in your mind… selfish. Is it selfish to spend time and energy on your own dreams when you have children that need you? There are toys all over the floor, spilled juice in the kitchen and your kids colored on your walls with crayons… your son still isn’t potty trained and your daughter is struggling to tie her shoes. How can you find time for anything else? How can you put yourself first when your kids so clearly need you?
People don’t say these things to me but I think them. That’s the thing about mothers… we hold responsibility for our children. They’re reflections of ourselves. If they’re doing well we puff out our chests and strut around like a proud lioness. But if they’re struggling, if things aren’t going according to plan, we must have fucked up somewhere. Maybe it was that cup of coffee I had when I was pregnant. I must have let him watch too many cartoons. I didn’t feed her enough carrots.
I struggle with this everyday.
I write when my kids are asleep so they don’t lose any time with me… that should alleviate my guilt but I also have a husband who works long hours and the only time we get alone is when the kids are sleeping. He tells me to go write and not worry about him. (because he’s awesome, supportive and amazing) But that’s not what I hear. I hear “What kind of wife are you? You should be spending time with your husband not writing those silly books.” (Yeah I know, my conscience can be a real bitch.)
It’s funny though because the one thing that keeps me fighting for my dream is my kids.
I know that no matter what I tell my kids, no matter how much time I spend teaching them to chase their dreams and never give up, it would all be wasted if I didn’t follow my own advice. So the best gift I can give them is an example of someone who, despite the odds, despite the guilt, fought to reach their goals. I want my daughter to know that no matter how many kids she has (if she has any) her dreams are still important. And I want my son to know that too.
I’ll never be a perfect mother and I’m okay with that.
Get the fuck out. I’m done with you.