“I have mom guilt.” A wise friend recently confided in me. She said that a lot of things that were otherwise normal to her give her massive guilt now that she’s a mother. Another friend, a supermom of a 2-year-old, casually told me that motherhood and guilt are practically inseparable.
To be honest, I have had similar thoughts on several occasions, the most recent being on a flight with Baby G – I happily let her munch on chocolate-chip cookies that the airline sells, and then I heard this lady demanding healthy baby-food in a sterilized plate, and making quite a ruckus about it. Maybe I should have asked for some boiled veggies too, instead of letting Baby G eat junk?
Suddenly, I felt guilty. Stupid, I know, but what can you do? Mothers’ guilt has a way of hitting you right in the gut at the most trivial of things, like a sterilized plastic plate in an airplane. Jesus.
Just to save me, and all mothers, from some unwanted heartburn, I made a list of things that we should all stop feeling guilty about. Read it, stop letting unnecessary guilt haunt you and thank me later. Here you go:
- There is no harm in letting kids have their way with food once in a while (like eating obviously unhealthy cookies) because you don’t want another tantrum.
- There is no rule against indulging kids in a little lie here and there, if it makes your task easier. “Finish this soup darling, or the giant lizard will eat you and momma.” It’s not like they will be scared of the lizard all their life, right? Okay – okay, maybe they will be, but they will eventually get over it, no? Plus, soup is healthy!
- It is okay to build fantastic building with your kid’s toy building blocks, and forgetting to mention this when your kid gets complements for her brilliant architecture skills.
- Also, it is okay if you consider buying toys for your kid that you want to play with.
- Every mother has different capacities, so don’t compare yourself with that supermom from the park and feel inadequate and hence, guilty. I mean, so what if your kid wears PJs to the park? Just relax.
- Again, don’t compare your sweat-pants with the supermom’s skinny jeans. You still have post-pregnancy fat and you should believe your husband when he says that the jiggle of your arm fat is “cute”. Besides, there is plenty of time to starve and/or hit to gym once the kid is older, yes? So, no guilt – enjoy that slice of leftover pizza.
- There is nothing to be guilty about getting angry if your kid wants you to sing the same song over and over again. Seriously, singing “London Bridge Is Falling Down” 47,000 times in one afternoon is the kind of stuff that could make any sane person furious. Just relax, drink a tall glass of water (or wine?) and sing the Fergie version of the song.
- It is really okay if your friend’s kid eats pumpkin salad, stir-fried vegetables in olive oil and drinks avocado juice, while yours just seems to want potato and cheese.
- Don’t let guilt overcome you if you feel slightly peaceful when the kid is out for half an hour with the dad. Everyone needs some me-time, right? Go, pee in peace, and maybe watch some TV while sipping tea that is still hot.
- There is absolutely nothing wrong if your one-year-old won’t climb the stairs all on her own because she doesn’t want to touch the “DIRTY! DIRTY!” stairs, while another kid of the same age does so happily. Your kid is just cautious about hygiene, and that’s wonderful, isn’t it?
- Don’t feel bad or guilty if you can’t recite the latest list of best schools, colleges and their respective curriculum for your one-year-old’s future. There’s plenty of time and honestly, teaching her how to tie shoe laces should be your immediate concern.
- Lastly, it is okay if kids of the same age are playing with mud, munching on rubber toys or playing cutely with dolls, while yours just wants to work on your laptop. They grow up, you know. Nothing will last forever. Relax.
Now it is your turn to share your own guilt and your tips to shoo it away. And oh, don’t forget to finish off that half full tin of chocolate-chip cookies that your kid has discarded, there’s no guilt in teaching kids to finish their food by setting a good example, isn’t it?
Aditi Mathur was born on Feb the 14th and since then it has all been awkward for her. Author of Westland’s Soldier & Spice: An Army Wife’s Life, a strong believer of “Whatever!”, an ex-advertising girl, a once-upon-a-time blogger, an out-of-place Army Wife and a real-life social person, she has now decided to write more. So far, so good. Stalk her at Monologue or @adicrazy on Twitter. Or Not. Whatever.