The Mom-Guilt Pandemic
The struggle is real.
The pandemic, which has resulted in lock downs, children home-schooled, parents working from home and the entire shut down of major economies has also left entire nations of mothers riddled with guilt. Sure, Mom-Guilt is not new but the severity of this pandemic has escalated. And no-one is talking about it.
We are mothers first and foremost. What does that mean?
It means we are there to care for, nurture, develop and spend time with our children. Parents are not teachers… sure we teach our children but the nature of society as we know it means that children and parents have become accustomed to children being taught in particular environments (schools) by special people (teachers) who have been trained and qualified to teach .
Dropping a child back into their home environment and then expecting them to do the learning that they have always associated with another establishment, location and person is disarming to say the least.
Now throw in an unqualified parent to do the lessons and tutoring, instead of the playing and nurturing, and you have a recipe for chaos.
Stir that mess up with a frustrated mother who is also required to work from home while miraculously keeping children, not only occupied, but actually doing something learning oriented and you have a mission impossible.
What we are asking of ourselves is simply not possible.
Now cue the unrealistic expectations.
As mothers we have expectations of ourselves – that image of the ideal mother we strive to be. Perhaps it is a fun loving, energetic, always-up-for-a-laugh, spontaneous mom you wish to be. perhaps you strive to be kinder, quieter, calmer, more peaceful. Perhaps you, like me, wish to be all the things…
The perfect mom.
So you read the articles on how to keep children off their devices. You read about child directed play activities. You see the beautiful instagram photos of other moms managing to create the most amazing displays of craft activities that you never imagined possible by an esteemed artist, let alone a 6 year old.
But you’re working and that means you don’t have the time to play Barbies for an hour, or create origami spectaculars. You cannot sit for the 4 hours of school learning time to assist your child in working out today’s math problem.
You have two Zoom meetings and a report to write.
So what do you do?
You bribe with sugar.
Then you place devices in front of children while you attend Zoom meetings and sit through the entire meeting with a half-cocked ear to listen for any major calamity that may have befallen your unattended child. You fuel your anxiety with thoughts of being interrupted during the meeting and feeling embarrassed that you aren’t able to attend to your meeting with the same professional capacity that you have become familiar with in the past.
And you say “not now, honey, mommy is busy” a million more times than you ever dreamed you would.
And with each of these survival tactics employed while you try to run a career, be a classroom teacher AND parent your children, that little voice that tells you you’re failing dismally at this gets louder and louder.
Because somehow we believe that too much sugar, too much T.V., and not enough “mom-time” is the only thing our children are experiencing right now and that we are damaging them beyond repair.
Let’s get real.
But mama, did you give your child a cuddle today? Perhaps you had a conversation with them while you ate lunch together? Or you had 5 minutes to look at the lego creation they made? Did you kiss them good-night?
Too much screen time may cause ratty children with altered sleep patterns and too much sugar will likely result in hyperactive, over-emotional children in half an hour… But none of these are irreparable. And all of this is temporary.
And you gave them a cuddle today.
What is the side effect of mom-guilt?
A mother who feels like sh#!. And a mother who feels this way is not a mother being her best self. Happy moms are good moms. And good-enough expectations create happy moms.
Mom-guilt only leaves you feeling heavy and depleted (or defeated). It stops you from viewing the wins and the positives that you and your children experience every day (like the cuddle and the giggle you shared earlier). Mom-guilt doesn’t leave room for spontaneity, fun, or energy. It doesn’t make much of a calm and peaceful parent, either.
In fact – all those ideals you have for yourself as a mother… Not one of them are achievable when you are feeling sh#! about yourself. So your mom-guilt is perpetuating itself, nasty little beast!
Give yourself a break. Adjust those expectations of yourself AND your kids right now. Good-enough is better than perfect… It is also far more possible and leaves breathing room for spontaneity and connection.
You are not a teacher. You are a mom. Your job is to cuddle, to nurture, to develop and to be the best version of yourself for your children. You can only do that when you are kind to yourself and to them
Hang in there.
P.s. Have you seen my latest guide introducing the T.P.M. Method? It is, hands down, the most effective way to find more time and become more present so that you can ditch Mom Guilt and gain confidence to truly thrive in business AND in motherhood.
Interested? – click here – to get your free copy!