Written by Lindsay Gray
“Why don’t you go take care of your disabled daughter?” … said the basement dweller.
And just like that, the entirety of my Instagram almost got deleted. I have gone toe – to -toe ..er keyboard to keyboard with my fair share of trolls, but in all of my days I have never been accused of being a bad mom. Of course, after a second I rolled my eyes & snort laughed because I know damn well that this person very obviously doesn’t know their butts from apple butter when it comes to my daily life.
But what about a mom who really questions how she’s doing? The ones more fragile? The one who is fresh out of the delivery room or fumbling around in the terrible two’s? Maybe she’s suffering from PPD (postpartum depression) or possibly just lets the idea lurk too often that she’s failing miserably at this motherhood thing. A comment like this could crush someone under a different circumstance because the mom guilt is REAL.
And on that topic, I have one thing to say: SCREW mom guilt.
To the mother trying to juggle strength training & potty training, the ones prepping for a meet after prepping dinner, DON’T feel as if the one thing you allow time for outside your kiddos is something you should feel ashamed of.
Training is time-consuming. Competing is time-consuming. And we all know that the one most valuable thing you can give to your children is time. We are so terrified of feeling selfish or being viewed as selfish that we will either do what we want & feel immense guilt for it or skip out on something we are passionate about and feel regret for not going for it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. End the mom guilt. You are still a person, undoubtedly a much different person than before you took on this role, but still a person all your own. You do not have to exist on the back burner. Your passion doesn’t have to fall to the wayside. Motherhood merely adds a layer - the thickest of them all perhaps. This time you take solely for yourself for an hour or two a day is so crucial to maintaining a feeling that you are, in fact, still human. You still exist beyond laundry, playtime, snacks & errands. And above all, you’re allowed to do something for yourself & your well-being.
We were in the NICU for six months with my oldest daughter, who was extremely premature. One piece of advice I got from our favorite nurse was that you must learn to take care of yourself & that means giving yourself some grace. Occasionally you will need space, a mental break or a quiet moment to recollect. At the time, I couldn’t grasp this idea because I would’ve given my left arm to shave a few days off our hospital stay & be with my daughter every waking moment, but eventually it hit home. We have to maintain a small chunk of the day for ourselves and our goals. The most important things- our kids- are a given, but that incredibly miniscule one or two-hour timeframe is yours. To let the rage out, to keep you sane.
So, when you find yourself meandering into mom guilt territory remember that part of your mission is making them proud. A session running over by an hour isn’t what they’re going to remember. You going to the gym on a Saturday isn’t the memory they’re going to invest in. They are going to remember you on a platform with a medal & a big smile. They’re going to remember their mom all by herself in front of a big crowd, fearless & strong. And they will remember how brave you seemed standing up there doing something you love. You are a better mom for being your best self. Don’t give any space to the idea that you succeeding in something other than raising kids is somehow subtracting from their childhood. You are leading by example. Lift on. <3