It started day 1 and seemed endless. The first was when they asked if I wanted to send her to the nursery for the night. I said yes because I hadn't slept in 2 days (and I don't regret that decision), but I immediately felt guilty. Then I thought about asking them to come back with her instead and the thought of having her with me and not getting sleep made me feel guilty. The moments of guilt only got worse once we got home.
No matter what decision you make as a mother you end up feeling guilty about it. Working mom? Guilty because you aren't home enough. Stay at home mom? Guilty because you put your career on the back burner. Work from home mom? Guilty because even though you are home you can't focus as much on your child/home.
Guilty because you chose to breastfeed your baby and it isn't easy. Guilty because your milk didn't come in and you had to supplement with formula. Guilty because your baby needed extra attention that day and now the house is a wreck. Guilty because you didn't give your baby as much attention so you could get the house clean. Guilty because you left your baby with family so you could get some things done. Guilty because you kept your baby all day and couldn't get anything done. Guilty because by the end of the day when your husband gets home you are too physically and emotionally exhausted to do anything together. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
Guilty because sometimes self-care means a little less house-care, work-care, husband-care, or child-care.
And don't even get me started on the guilt created by mom-shaming.
It got to the point where I just felt overwhelmed all the time and like I was never good enough. Because even when I was the best I could be there was still guilt for what I couldn't do. Society pressures us to perform like an employee who has no children while simultaneously performing like a mom who has no job. Oh, and keep a house and be a good wife on top of that. And working out and eating healthy. And having Instagram worthy hobbies. (I could go on). It's just simply not possible. But as moms we are guilted by others and [mostly] ourselves for not fulfilling this impossible idea of what we should be.
Start by giving yourself a break and being realistic. The sink is full of dishes? Yes. But your baby has had excellent care all day and you made precious memories with them. Went to work? Yes. Providing for your child financially IS in fact taking care of them, and is very important. You can't do it all, and that's okay.
Realize that everyone else is in the same boat that you are. No one is watching you and thinking "Wow, I can't believe she can't do it all," Plus if they are, they totally aren't worth your time and are most likely hypocrites (or don't have any children). I don't expect my mom friends to do it all, so I'm sure they aren't judging me either.
Learn to ask for help (and don't guilt yourself for asking for help). You aren't less of a wife because you ask your husband to do the dishes/change the diaper/watch the baby while you nap. You aren't a bad mom because you leave your baby with someone while you get some things done. You aren't less of a homemaker because you pay someone to clean your house sometimes. You aren't less of an employee if you have to take breaks to pump.
Lastly, remember who God says you are and that He is there for you: "God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day," (Psalms 46:5), "She is worth far more than rubies," (Proverbs 31:10), "You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you," (sol. 4:7).
Just because you aren't perfect doesn't mean you aren't good - it means you're human.
What are some things you do to rid yourself of the mom guilt? Let me know by commenting below, or on social media @DanielleVUpshaw