Cue the Mommy Guilt

Now I know that I wrote about guilt last week, but this is less of a spinoff from that post and more of a spinoff from Tuesday’s post: All Things to All People.

Guilt that comes from the outside is easy for me to deal with.  Guilt trips are simply a way some people try to manipulate others.  When confronted by someone attempting to manipulate my emotions, it’s easy for me to mentally raise my middle finger in their direction and leave the guilt aside.

When the guilt comes from within as a result of me not living up to my own personal goals and ideals, it’s much more difficult to deal with.

Some things I currently feel mommy guilt about:

  • Feeding the Grasshopper crappy food: Monday-cold leftover pizza and a bowl of honey nut cheerios; Tuesday-A ham, cheese, and mayo sandwich and ice cream; Wednesday-cold leftover pizza
  • Letting the Grasshopper watch way too much TV – TV as babysitter?  Yup.
  • Not getting down and playing interactively with her
  • Parking my butt on the couch and encouraging her to entertain herself
  • Taking her to daycare with her hair uncombed and her teeth unbrushed

Okay, most of these are seriously temporary.  Mr. Grasshopper is travelling for work for a few days this week (comes back today thank god!), and we’re in survival mode.  For the record, he usually cooks nutritious and tasty meals, plays vigorously with her at every opportunity, and makes sure her teeth and hair get brushed in the morning.  Also, for the record, she does have a toothbrush at daycare, so when she arrives, she can run back and brushes her teeth then.

Overall, I know that this is stuff that I can’t really control right now.  At the end of the day, we’re doing well if I can stick food on plates and get the dishes loaded in the dishwasher.  I’m proud of myself each time I have managed to get her bathed this week.  Reaching into the tub is hard.  I’m trying really hard to give myself credit for the little stuff like that.

But we do watch way too much TV.  I try to assuage that guilt by making sure we’re watching the kids channels that don’t show any commercials.  I just wish I could play with her more.  I wish this week could have been fun girlie time with walks/trike rides through the neighborhood with the dog, fun bubble baths, painted toenails, and special activities.

That’s just not in the cards right now.

Right now, we’re doing well to get out the door in the morning and eat food at night.

I can’t wait to not be sick anymore.  I hate the way hyperemesis gravidarum is keeping me from being the mom I want to be.

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11 thoughts on “Cue the Mommy Guilt

  1. You have to keep in mind that this is temporary, and in all liklihood, she will never remember this portion of her life. When she’s much older, and you share your HG stories with her, it will blow her mind that the loving, attentive mother she has could ever have done anything for her with less than 100% of anything.

    Besides, I am of the opinion that kids these days do not spend enough time learning how to entertain themselves, so 15 minutes spent playing by herself is actually a good thing. (Now, give me my cane and get offa my lawn!)

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    1. You are so right Zorro. I remembered this comment last night when we got home, and gave myself permission to turn her loose. She wanted to play with some ABC puzzle cards, and I just let her do her thing. I didn’t try to steer her, I just left her alone to play. I felt bad because we’ve been apart all day and I felt like I should be doing something more interactive with her, but I reminded myself about free-play and just let her do her thing. Thanks. You really helped me last night. I appreciate it.

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  2. Molly, I go through this insane amount of mommy guilt all the time. Last spring I was taking two HEAVY classes, (Baptist History and Christian Theology!) and I had HEAVY papers due for both classes. I was eating, sleeping and breathing research. Not to mention the fact that in April we decided to start our homestudy. So my child was watching way more tv than I ever wanted. I, like you, would make sure the shows were educational in some way, and always stuck to the local education channel with no commercials. However, I still felt like CRAP. I felt horrible when he’d wake up from a nap and immediately request a tv show instead of rushing to the game he was playing before his nap (because there was no game.)

    However, I’ll tell you what Travis told me. He attended an education seminar last year where an expert {at something?} said that the average American child gets two hours of face time with their parents PER WEEK! That’s story time, bath time, meal time, play time, etc. all rolled into one. He said, “Kat, given that information, I KNOW you do better in one day than the average kid probably gets in a week, even on your worst day.” Now, I wasn’t giving my child 2 hours of undivided one on one time a day (although that’s what I strive for when I’m not swamped with class work), but I knew what he was saying. I’m guessing that even with sick you, Gabi STILL has it better than the kid down the street. Talking with our social worker, she asked if there was anything I felt I needed to improve on as a parent, and I said, “I have so much mommy guilt sometimes I can’t sleep. He watches too much tv, eats too many snacks, goes too many days without getting his teeth brushed or taking his multi vitamin.” She just laughed at me. She said, “I bet you’re STILL a better parent than I could find in most homes within this five block radius. Seriously. You go knocking on some of those doors and they’ll say, ‘multi-what?'”

    So, I’m saying the same to you. You love her and you care. Some parents don’t even have that guilt because they either don’t know better or they do and they still don’t give a damn. Don’t be so hard on yourself {she says out loud to herself while typing.} She’ll be better than okay when all of this is over, and you’ll be back to your supermom self.

    Kat

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    1. Oh, man. I get that stab in my chest every single time she asks for cartoons. The other day at school, her teacher asked what her favorite thing to do is. She said, “Watch Cartoons!” And I’ll be honest, they’re not all educational. I can only watch Nick Jr for so long before I start feeling the urge to run screaming from the room. So there’s plenty of Scooby Doo, Powerpuff Girls, and Dexter’s Lab on as well.

      Please extend my thanks to Travis for the dose of perspective. 2 hours of face time per week? Wow. The thing that I’m fighting the urge to say to myself is this though: I hold myself to a higher standard than the average. This is the same thing I have said in the past to my husband when he said (after me unfairly griping about him taking a few hours to go surfing one Saturday morning), “Well, I know guys that will go spend 8 hours every Saturday on the golf course.” “And that is the standard against which you measure yourself?”

      Letting go of perfectionism is difficult for me to do. It’s something I’m working on. It’s very much a work in progress.

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      1. Oh, I know. That was my response to him last Spring when I was suffering from so much guilt. And, regarding the cartoons, we don’t have those other channels, so when he gets tired of the PBS offerings, there’s PLENTY of non-educational movies to lull him into a trance just as well. Honestly, hearing you say that she does watch TV, and it’s not all educational makes me let out a sigh of relief.

        I heard this morning on the Today show that 33% of women polled in a recent Parents Magazine questionnaire admit that they lie about their parenting skills and techniques to their peers. I nearly yelled! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been made to feel like like the world’s worst mother because a fellow mom-peer has said something like, “My child has NEVER eaten anything that wasn’t 100% organic.” Ok, well Buggy really really likes Chicken McNuggets. When she said this, I shrunk. She went on and on about fast food and cancer, obesity, etc. Hearing that statistic makes me wonder if she wasn’t just bragging about her ideal standard but not her reality. She could be in that percentage of moms who like to brag about their high standards and just fail to mention that sometimes, yes, they do fall below that mark.

        I realize that your standard is different from the “average” parent. Mine is too. But, I don’t think that we should be so hard on ourselves. We’re working hard to raise better-than-average citizens, and even on our worst days, I believe you and I (and other deliberate parents like us) have to REALLY suck to fall even to the “average” standard.

        Just something to keep in mind so you aren’t so hard on yourself.

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      2. That’s a really important point. And it’s a huge part of the reason I try to be totally honest in my writing here.

        Yeah, writing about things like poop and enemas and peeing on yourself and feeling like crap and feeling like a horrible mom isn’t especially fun. That’s not even the really, really hard one. The really hard one was talking about resenting my baby while I was pregnant with her. Sometimes hitting that “publish” button is really difficult to do.

        But if I paint a rosey picture of everything, it would be a lie. Worse than that, it could really hurt someone else. Imagine if I lied? An already depressed and desperate HG sister might read it and think she’s a horrible person. She might feel even more isolated, desperate, and alone. I think by being honest, I can maybe give hope and comfort to my HG sisters, and maybe, just maybe, that feeling of loneliness and desperation might ease up just a little. That’s my hope anyway.

        People need to talk about that black night of the soul kind of stuff. Things have been in the dark for too long. We need to talk about things like PPD, HG, etc. We have to bring those things into the light so we can heal. If we hide them away, women will continue to suffer and die. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to other women, and we owe it to our children.

        It’s real life y’all.

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  3. Right on. Thank you. thank you thank you. im not just a crappy mom after all! im very pregnant & veryy sick. Ive been so down n out for so long i sometimes lose my bearings and start to think this is my baseliine. tthanks for reminding me it is not.

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    1. Danielle, I am so with you. This sickness and not being able to be who I want to be has become kind of a new normal. I’ve forgotten what my real normal is. It’s so easy to lose perspective through all of this.

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  4. Firstly, I’m sorry that you’re still feeling crummy at this point in the game!

    Secondly, I’m right there with you on the guilt. Right now our son is eating way too much junk food, watching too much TV, and we are not going anywhere or doing anything. And my temper stinks, too – I’m edgy all the time.

    Thankfully, as all your readers have noted, this is temporary and it will get better. You’re doing a great job with what you have right now!! 🙂

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    1. I can’t remember where I read this. If it was a commentator here on the blog, take credit because I would love to credit this appropriately.

      I read this past week that kids don’t remember times like these as us being crappy moms. Instead, they remember how much fun it was to eat pizza, watch cartoons, and cuddle on the couch. I know the Grasshopper LOVED it when her Grandma took her to “Old McDonald” for breakfast a few times on days that I was too sick to deal with anything. At the time, I felt horrible about it, but she loved it and still talks about how much fun it was!

      I just try to keep reminding myself of this.

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  5. Well, I for one, appreciate your candor. When I heard that statistic, I was honestly surprised. I’m trusting of others, so it didn’t occur to me that an admitted 1/3rd of “Supermoms” are actually lying about their spotlessness to some degree. We moms often compare ourselves to others and shed a horribly harsh light on ourselves. Then moms crack under the pressure and end up suffering from depression. When I read blogs that talk about “always” and “never,” I just click out. I don’t always do anything and I’ll never say never when it comes to my parenting. I don’t want to make some mom who has a bad day feel like crap because I would NEVER yell at my child! {or some similar scenario}

    Honesty is refreshing, and admitting the less than perfect side hopefully will give permission to some of those moms out there who lie about their flaws to open up a bit more and show some warts.

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