Hi, my name is Courtney Fidell, and I have a problem. I struggle from time to time (read: multiple times a week) with bad cases of mom guilt. Whew. I said it. First step is admitting it, right? But seriously, this is something I have battled with the last 14 months and am nowhere near conquering, but I am putting forth an effort towards it!
Here's just the smallest glimpse into my crazy brain.
I accidentally bumped Anniston's head on something when she was three months old. She bounced back in a matter of seconds. I cried for a solid five minutes and couldn't believe I was so reckless.
We left Anniston for a couple of hours to go on a date when she was a few months old. Anniston REFUSED to take a bottle while we were gone. My peaceful and easy going child was BESIDE herself when we returned because she was starving. I vowed to never leave her again after that.
It took me 13 months to put her in the gym daycare while I got in a quick workout. The workers are great and Anniston did great her first visit. Her second visit she was pretty sad and wanted me the whole time. I haven't been back since that visit.
I see other moms post on social media where they are dominating the mom game. Trips to the park, making homemade play dough, playing with edible paint. What am I doing? I'm just over here waiting for the clock to move so we can make it to nap time.
I finally get Anniston down for the night and think through our day together. Was I intentional enough? Was I a good example? Does she feel loved? And the list goes on and on.
Obviously with some of those scenarios I had a right to feel sad and was right to comfort her. Thankfully I have grown in a lot of areas and eventually left her again and she ate and did wonderful. We have had a few other "uh-ohs" where she got hurt, but we quickly move on and she is just fine. Being a first time mom has a learning curve to it and we have to learn to give ourselves grace. We're not going to be perfect and we don't have to strive to be. Thankfully our little ones are quick to forgive and always abounding in love. Something we should definitely learn from them!
But in other areas, I continue to struggle.
I have only left Anniston with a couple of people, but she now adores them so it is easier for me to let her go. But the gym? I don't know these people and neither does Anniston. I feel her nails digging into my arm as we walk in and I try to set her down. She's not happy so I'm not happy. So naturally I should bring her home and keep her in our safe little bubble for all of time, right? Wrong. So very wrong.
The gym is a safe place and I need to leave her there so we BOTH can learn to thrive with some space away from one another. Those working are more than capable to do their job and are beyond kind. If I never put her in those situations, how can I ever expect her to succeed in them? No matter how much I have to fight my natural instincts, I REFUSE to be a helicopter mom. I'm not going to be able to sit with her everyday when she goes off to Kindergarten nor am I going to get to be her roommate when she goes off to college. Those older and wiser than me continue to tell me that I have let her fly to see her thrive and that starts TODAY.
And then there is the comparison game. Oh the dreaded comparison game. I despise it! I see other moms doing so many things better than me and I am so quick to base my self worth off what I am NOT doing in comparison. So naturally I should up my mom game just to keep up and post all about it on social media, right? No no no!
If I want to do something fun and exciting with my girl then that is great, but I should never feel guilted into it because of what I see others doing. We may practice writing our alphabet in yogurt on Monday, but Tuesday we just be lucky to get out of our pajamas. BOTH days are okay because I am still loving and caring for Anniston with all I have. Even if our activity isn't Instagram worthy, I must remember my self worth doesn't come from that and only from the One that can truly fill me and sustain me longer than the likes I get on social media.
I have to remember we will have hard days. I have to know she will get hurt sometimes. I have to choose to trust that the One who made her is watching her when I am not. I have to choose to know that His plans for her as far better than mine. I have to choose to give up control.
So new goal for 2018. I am deciding to loosen up my firm mom grip so I can let go of my nagging mom guilt. I am letting go of the worry and fear and am ready to experience more freedom and more JOY in parenting. Oh the joy. She is full of it and it is so much more fun to go to sleep thinking about the JOY than the regrets of the day!
So here's to joy and grace and all the fun had between. Let's sit and soak up all of that!