Mom-guilt is an actual thing and I hate it.
I am constantly wondering if I am doing enough or if I need to do more or if the kids are happy enough or not. And any other plethora of worries that may or may not make anyone happier if followed up on. Often included in this barrage is guilt about pursuing anything that even hints of being selfish.
- Writing? Clean the kitchen.
- Running? Go play a game with your kids.
- Reading? You should really teach your children to read.
- Crocheting? You hear them fighting. Fix it.
You get the picture. The voice in my head gets a little mean and a little bossy. Sometimes it feels like I’m supposed to focus completely and only on my kids when they’re awake.
Sometimes I wonder why it even matters if I do anything else.
Why does it matter if I write, or read too much, or create beauty, or worry about social justice, right alongside being a mom? Why can’t I just watch Netflix, do the dishes and laundry, mom all the time, and call the normal every day things required of me enough? Why add extra complication even if it’s stuff I enjoy? Shouldn’t I get parenting figured out before I add more?
But cutting out everything is not the answer to a life that feels off-kilter or at odds.
We are not short-changing our kids by being ourselves. Kids are not intruders in our lives, and we are not intruders in our kids lives. We are not giving them less than they need by choosing to, at times, prioritize a hobby, a calling, a dream, or work. Our kids will be fine.
We, as we are, are our kids moms. This is who they got, God set it up. He has it all figured out. These “extra” things might fuel our ability to be the mother we want to be – giving us more joy, clarity, creativity, and energy to connect with our kids.
And: Our kids are watching.
Eventually they might see a mom who is whole and free, who is showing up for the life that she wants to make and the life she has, who is caring and careful of how she is living within the life God has given her. They won’t see a mom who is trapped, stuck or angry in the life she’s been given. They will see the wide open opportunities.
For now, they might just see the fun things we make or the times we’re working on something, but even if they don’t, maybe they’ll feel the difference of having a happier mom. But even if they don’t register it in a logical way, when we are busy creating life in our own unique ways, our kids will see opportunity after opportunity to create life in their own unique ways. When we are fully and freely ourselves and including them in the ways we can, family becomes a place for everyone to grow more fully and freely into themselves.
We don’t have to wait to be free of our family responsibilities to be ourselves. We don’t have to wait until they go to college. They don’t have to wait until they get outta here. We get to be ourselves right here. And that is good for everyone. Not just us.
And, of course, while I love being an idealist, it’s going to be a little messier than it seems.
This month I am joining the #write31days community to explore the idea of the Whole Together Family because I believe we get be who God created us to be – together. Find the whole list posts here or click on the image.