Mom guilt. It’s a real thing! How are we made to feel guilty when we are only trying to take care of ourselves?
Just like all things in life, this too has been a journey for me. When I had an infant, I initially felt bad bundling the baby up to go out jogging in the cold. Because let’s be honest, running outside was the quickest form of exercise-no drive time! Oh, it’s okay, I’ll just take today off. Then it was cold all week so I then took the entire week off. I finally had to realize that 1) the baby was not cold at all bundled up in the pumpkin seat and 2) I HAD TO exercise to show her that exercise is an important part of our life! I know, I know, she was only 3 months old but if I didn’t start then it would be even harder as she got older. And again, let’s be honest…she slept THE ENTIRE run! HA! See, no excuses!
Then my exercise journey would take me to a gym and I’d feel such guilt as they would cry when I dropped them off at the childcare. It absolutely tears at your heart. Many times I would turn around and go home. Later in the day I would be losing my mind bc I didn’t get that daily ‘sweat’. Real chemical reactions take place mentally when you exercise and I NEEDED that. I was a better mom when I had my sanity happy hour at the gym or running or whatever physical activity I chose that day.
Outside of exercise, I would feel guilt over food. I remember one day in particular where all the kids were sitting around the island and each had a plate full of food-wraps with turkey, cheese and pickle, carrots and ranch and each had a peeled orange. This particular season, we didn’t have cuties, but I had peeled 5 navel oranges, 1 for each child. They inhaled the oranges first because they were amazing-so incredibly sweet and juicy. Mind you, they children all had full plates basically in front of them and as I peeled an orange for myself, their little grubby hand started grabbing at my orange wanting more. Whoa, whoa, whoa!!! You should have seen their faces. Up until that point, if they all wanted a bite of my banana, I would have allowed it. Now after 5 bites my entire banana would disappear but I always thought to myself, ‘Well, it’s healthy so I can’t say no.” Oh yes I could and I did that day! No more! I finally changed my mindset and told them that they needed to let Mommy be healthy too. They had plenty of food left on their plates to eat and had already had an orange so it was my turn. No more guilt!!! After that the kids are much more conscientious when it comes to others being healthy as well as themselves.
And truth be told, I’m just not as adpt to share anymore bc like I said before, 5 bites or 5 drinks of whatever you have essentially leaves you with nothing at all!