It’s my habit to go to the gym twice a week and lift weights while my 2-year-old plays in the childcare center. Every time we go, we pass the swimming pool. And every time we walk past the pool, my daughter says excitedly, "Wah-wer!"
"Yes, that’s the water," I always respond, as I hurry her into the childcare area.
And every time I walk by and look into the pool area and see moms and their babies playing in the "wah-wer", I feel a little twinge of the Mommy Guilt . And I think to myself, if I were a really good mom, I would bring our bathing suits and take her swimming when I’m done working out.
But I never do.
The other day when we were leaving the gym, we walked out behind another mother-and-child pair. And I overheard the mom say to her child, "Let’s go swimming and then we’ll get something to eat."
And I felt not a twinge of the Mommy Guilt but a BIG HUGE STAB of the Mommy Guilt. See now, there’s a mom who is truly committed to her child. Unlike myself, a mom who would sooner spend an hour at the grocery store than to put on a suit and go swimming with my daughter.
Who am I kidding, I would rather spend an hour in the dental office than to put on a suit and go swimming.
Why don’t I put my selfishness aside and do something for my daughter every once in a while? Am I so devoted to my own comfort and convenience that I can’t even make the time and effort to do something fun that she might like to do?
Instead I take her to Target and buy her a "mil-lilk-shake" (a Vanilla Milk from Starbucks) to compensate for the Mommy Guilt.
This is just a small example of the myriad of things I feel guilty about when it comes to my kids. Let’s not even talk about the times I say "Just a minute" when my kids ask me to do something for them and then get absorbed in whatever I’m doing and forget all about their request. Or all the times I get impatient and lose my temper when my kids don’t do what I ask quickly enough, or when they make innocent messes.
We all have the Mommy Guilt. I know that. And some of it is purely unavoidable. Sometimes I know I’m doing my best and I just have to ignore the Mommy Guilt.
But sometimes I know I’m NOT doing my best. Maybe the Mommy Guilt is my conscience trying to spur me into action.
At what point do we stop saying, "I’m doing my best" and start saying, "I need to do better."
Please don’t tell me I’m doing a great job and I’m a great mom. I’m not fishing for compliments. We all love our kids and want what’s best for them. But I know there are plenty of times when I’m not giving my kids’ needs their rightful priority. Or when I allow my impatience and frustration to get the best of me. I know I can do better.
What things cause you to have the Mommy Guilt? What are the areas you would like to improve? And what are you going to DO about it?
I’m planning to go to the gym on Friday, and I’m going to put two bathing suits and a swim diaper in my gym bag. And maybe, just MAYBE I’ll get motivated enough to actually use them after I work out.
Of course I’ll probably go to Target and get a "mil-lilk shake" and call it a day.
But I’m hoping for the former.