Do you see that phrase often enough these days? I think it’s an outcome of one of the biggest issues we face today: misinformation.
“Beware of the person who can’t be bothered by details,” said William Feather. (Cool name, huh? Bill Feather.)
I’m sure each industry is ripe with misconceptions that are upheld by emotions, personal beliefs, and misinformation. Well, I want to argue that the SAHM industry is also ripe with such misinformation. We don’t know (or care to know) the facts sometimes.
I totally did that with sleep. Initially, I read the baby sleep books, but do you know what happened? My kid did not cooperate with what the book said he should be doing. How rude! Eventually, I had to stop reading the books. I only wanted to read the books that told me exactly what I wanted to hear. If there are facts and statistics about raising kids, I only want to hear the ones that support the things I’m already doing. I only want to hear: “you’re doing this perfectly; you go girl.”
Even with my attempts to ignore literature about the things I don’t do for my kids, my own brain more than makes up for it. My brain likes to remind me of all of my short comings and when it does, I create “mommy guilt” about it. These are based off of emotions, personal belief, and misinformation, instead of something concrete.
With that in mind, here is my list of three things I’ve realized I create “mommy guilt” around. Sometimes, writing them down is good help, or at least good therapy!
- Other moms always like their kids. When I look out my windows over to the homes where I know other moms are spending time with their kids, I picture perfect little meals, clean kitchens, organized play rooms, and not-smelling-like-diapers garbage cans. Those moms love and adore every moment with their sweet, little kiddies. Every. Moment. Even the moments when they refuse to nap or they wake during the night for mysterious reasons or they have the worst poopy diaper two minutes before you need to get out the door for an appointment. When I am frustrated about the emotional ups and downs or dealing with a toddler and preschooler all day, I guilt myself for not looking past it all because these small human beings carry my genes. I guilt myself for not living up to the mythical images in my head of my perfect neighbors. I also wonder how in the world those neighbors get the stinky smell out of the diaper garbage cans! Seriously.
- Other moms spend a lot of times with their kids–on the floor, even. As I type this, Gabs is taking her nap and Dom is playing on his Kindle. By his self. He watches shows on that without me. He plays games on his own. He tells me about them and I sometimes listen. Do you know what’s happening in my mythical images of the other moms? They’re sitting with their sweet offspring while watching one single episode of Daniel Tiger and they’re talking about the messages of the show. Also, they’ve somehow managed to clean up lunch, put away toys, and fold laundry without taking away from any bonding time. Then, when that one show is over, they get down on the floor with their kids to build trains, pretend with dolls, read stories, draw pictures, and make messes (which will be cleaned up together in a really fun clean up game where the kid learns to pick up after themselves). None of those moms are trying to come up with games that will convince their kids to walk on their back (massage!) or pretend it’s mommy’s nap time, or just play on their own so I can go to the bathroom. Actually, I’m honestly not sure when those other moms use the potty. Probably after bedtime. And only then.
- Other moms have it all perfectly balanced. Both of my above points already touched on this part of the mythical image: other moms manage to scrub their bathrooms with bleach, keep the floor under the dining table swept and mopped, workout so they’re back to pre-baby weight, teach their kids discipline while also playing their favorite games with them, and get their own jobs done (whether it’s work or a hobby or church stuff). I, on the other hand, choose to ignore all of the other options on the list each time I focus on one item. For instance: as I write to get some work done, there are probably mountains of Ritz-crack crumbs piled under the table, rings as many and varied as Saturn developing within the toilet bowls, fat cells growing and expanding (but only around my waist!) within my body, and a tablet/screen is raising my kid. But I wrote some blog posts about cyber security and risk management! Oooo.
What would you put on your list? What misinformation do you feed yourself about the mythical perfect moms (or dads) living around you?
Here’s what I’m trying to do to fight the SAHM fake news in my head: recognize my own limitations.
Also, I have some pretty good tribes around for support.
I just asked Dom what game he’s playing on his tablet: chess.