Guilt is one of those feelings that's hard to shake. Mom guilt can be so overwhelming that you either want to quit your job on a whim to spend more time with your kids -- or the reverse -- consider ANY type of work to get away from them.
While mom guilt is unavoidable on some level, I believe it is controllable, meaning we can spend more time thanking ourselves for what's going splendidly in the realm of parenting versus cursing our names in the mirror on what's going awry.
Out with mom guilt, and IN with mom grace.
Instead of berating ourselves for giving in to our toddler's tantrum with a lure of a cupcake, recognize toddlers can be demon children for no reason whatsoever and try a different disciplinary action next time he throws a truck at your head.
Because at the end of the day, what does stewing over what we did wrong do? It usually leads to a shitty night's sleep, which then parlays into reliving your "mistakes" the next day, making you feel crummier by the minute. We need to cut ourselves some slack.
Mom grace, in stark contrast to mom guilt, is looking at everything you do right, really acknowledging it, and being proud of it.
I'll go first...
I love that I have taught Cy to be well-mannered. I don't have to tell him to say please and thank you to strangers, or put his plate in the sink when he's done with his sandwich, or worry he's going to cause a scene in public if I don't give him a toy at the supermarket. His ingrained politeness is the main thing other people compliment me on, and I don't shrug it off like it's nothing. Because that didn't just happen one day. It's been four years of consistent patience and discipline.
With so many different parenting sites and daycare centers and after school programs and random Internet moms all claiming to "know what's best," we all really are just winging it. And the sooner we accept that, the better.
Furthermore, every child has different needs that parents cater to. One style of parenting might be more effective for your sister's kid, but terrible for yours. Once you recognize there is no one-size-fits-all for parenting a young child, you feel the outside pressure come off completely.
My advice? Don't adhere to any style of parenting. Come up with your own, and make (and break) the rules as you go.
We love our kids. We don't need to justify that every time we go out with our girlfriends or say yes to a work promotion or leave them with a new sitter so we can have one interrupted hour of conversation with our partner.
Remember, we are hardest on ourselves, and sometimes it takes an outsider to point that out for us.
Break up with your mom guilt. Tap into mom grace. And go buy yourself a flouncy Spring dress. IT'S MARCH!