Monday, August 6, 2012

Pack Your Bags! We're Taking a Guilt-Trip

In honor of my upcoming Road Trip with the familia, here is a flashback of a post from the past. I'm in the middle of packing and cleaning and planning and laundering and really didn't have time to write anything brand-spankin new today. I know you don't mind. Besides, I know you (like me) need the reminder that we have a license to imperfection as parents.  It's okay to rest.  It's okay to take a moment. Dust off the annoyances of the day, and get back in there knowing we are doing the best we can.  So here ya go.  A little Monday motivation for ya!

Kids sure have a way of (figuratively) punching you right in the gut when you least expect it, don’t they?  Their unassuming words can wash a blanket of guilt right over you in nothing flat.  And before you know it, you’re feeling like the suckiest parent in the world and saving your pennies for the future therapy that your kid will inevitably need thanks to you.

Yes, sometimes, even when you dedicate over 98% of your day to your children, it’s still apparently not enough.  My son pointed this very fact out to me one night last week while tucking him into bed.  He was beyond tired and cranky and ready for sleep, and he blurted out an accusation so stinging that he might as well have stabbed me right in the heart.  Through a haze of tears and snot, he said, “You like your iphone more than you like me.“  Ugh.  That REALLY hurt.

Given that writing is my passion and that my ultimate goal is, in fact, to write a book some day, I am on my computer and phone a decent amount of the time.  And yeah, I like to hop on my Facebook here and there to keep me in check with the adult world since Phineas and Ferb are swirling around the background of my home 24/7.  And even though I know deep down in my heart that I bend over backwards and forwards to make my kids happy whenever I possibly can, my son’s weepy insinuation totally made me question every single one of my parenting skills.  I couldn’t help but think, “Have I been a bad mom?

I swallowed the ginormous lump that was trying to take over my throat and told Mr. Grouch that I would choose him over my iphone any old day.  Naturally, he drifted off to Dreamland without so much as even a second thought, but I, however, stewed over this guilt all night long.  Why, as parents, do we do this to ourselves??!!  NOBODY is perfect (not even you, June Cleaver!), yet we kick our own butts over not being the perfect mom or the perfect dad.

 I have learned lately that I am the Queen of Guilt-tripping.  I take a new trip everyday, it seems.  I made them eat cereal before daycare instead of eggs and toast. . .Ooops, we left the house before reminding them (a third time) to brush their teeth. . .It's pizza for dinner instead of some homemade casserole concoction. . .I really shouldn't have a Mommy's Day Out today, my stinker has really been clingy lately. . .It's almost never-ending the amount of added stress that we as parents pour on ourselves everyday.  As I lose sleep, yet again over the words of my four-year-old tonight, one important fact spontaneously comes to mind.

On the seventh day, God rested.

Heaven knows His daily To-Do List rivals mine. Creating the sun and moon and stars and whatnot.  (I would like to point out that He did not have laundry to keep up with. . .but I know that issue is a separate post entirely!)  God walked with us everyday, but there were still other things to accomplish. Nothing necessarily more important than us, but the business of provision was still on His mind. And then, on the seventh day HE RESTED.  I need to remember this in those moments that I beat myself up for having a little "me-time" when the toddler duo is banging on the bathroom door full-force. I especially need to remind myself of this when my precious Grouch decides to make mommy (unpurposefully) feel like a complete failure right before bedtime. Who am I to think that I can take on more than God?  I need to embrace His example without guilt.
I never WILL be the perfect mom. But I strive to give them all I have everyday.  I could continue to dwell on ways to sacrifice even more of my sanity and moments of “recovery time” so that I don't have to get guilt-ridden accusations like I did tonight, but at some point, my efforts would be worthless. Because kids will always demand more. And more and more. They are attention-mongers who cannot be satisfied. Especially my precious monsters. So, although I will try harder not to prioritize anything above them, I will resolve to the fact that I'm enough. My kids have the most awesome mom ever. They just don't know it yet.


  1. Praying for the Clark family my friend! Hope you guys have a great getaway.

  2. Thanks Chris! Let's get together when I return!

  3. I don't know if it's a good idea to try to be a "SooperMom"
    One SooperMom I knew, by the time her son and daughter were grown, neither would speak to her! She did a great job of a career and child raising. I can remember when it was our turn to babysit for Parents Without Partners, and riding herd on 30 kids, then tending to many hungover parents in the morning. But anyway, have a good vacation, and don't try too hard!

  4. Wow! I desperately needed this today. I've been running on the guilt trip lately, and it's all been because of my own doing. My little almost two-year old is extremely demanding (going through the famous terrible twos), and because of it, I've been feeling guilty about everything . . . to the point of practically losing my sanity. I just need to realize that I'm not perfect, and he's going to have meltdowns no matter what I do. If I just take each day at a time and love on him as much as I can, then I'm doing all I can do. I just pray that when he grows up, he will appreciate all my husband and I have tried to do for him (through God's grace).

  5. I just wanted to thank you again for your post. Reading that last night gave me a new perspective into this morning, and today has been a wonderful mommy day! Realizing I can't do it all has really taken the pressure off and has allowed me to embrace and enjoy my time with my son.

    1. Lydia, I am so happy that you found encouragement through this during a mommy meltdown time. God brought all this to my attention months ago and it really changed the way I see motherhood. We'll never be the perfect parents. If we try, we'll go plum out of our minds! I know the TWOS are so hard. Mine hit his at THREE (now) and it's a daily struggle. But I'm learning everyday to hug him (at least 10 times), tell him I love him (randomly about 5 times), and take mini mommy breaks in the bathroom (to breathe and peptalk myself. Oh, and wine. at the end of the day, you definitely deserve wine. :)