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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Purging the Mommy Guilt

I spent a number of years beating myself up for things I couldn't change. Some of those things were stupid - oh, I have flabby arms, boo hoo. Some were valid - I should have paid my friend back that twenty bucks.

But mostly all of that stewing and guilt-tripping were related to motherhood. And now that I'm okay with myself as a parent, I can forgive myself for my many mistakes. I can forgive myself for trying to fit in a mold, and I can accept the way I parent as good enough.

For instance, I refuse to feel guilty about formula feeding my first baby. I can tell you I was young and didn't know the benefits of breastfeeding, but it sounds like a cop-out. Formula feeding worked for us, and EJ is fine (well, mostly, except for her attitude, but I have a strong suspicion that her attitude is inherited from - ahem. Yeah. Me.)

I refuse to feel weird about nursing Four until she was 37 months old.

I will not feel guilty about weaning Beastie at four months. I had no choice - I was pregnant and had no more milk for her - but she is fine. And I do not feel guilty about it one tiny bit. I also do not feel the need to explain to anyone (except youse guys) why I weaned, or that I did in fact get pregnant while nursing, despite judgemental moms who have said to me "You wouldn't have gotten pregnant so soon if you had breastfed." How 'bout you shut the hell up.

I refuse to feel guilty for using disposable diapers 99.9% of the time.

I refuse to feel guilty about hollering at my kids sometimes. Do I like yelling at them? No. Do I try not to? Yes. But does it still happen? Duh. All I can do is apologize to them and try to do better and know that everyone gets hollered at now and then, and for the most part we are all fine.

I don't feel guilty for feeding my kids fried food and sugar alongside their veggies and whole grains. Go ahead, tell me about nutrition. I won't listen. Better tell someone who might take you seriously, and not waste your time with me.

I do not feel guilty for letting my kids watch television. Once again, regale me with the dangers. I don't care. Also, I dare you to call CPS on me for letting my kids watch Yo Gabba Gabba. They will laugh at you, and probably even give me a medal for tolerating that crap. (Sometimes I even walk around singing, "There's a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy!" Yeah, it's that bad.)

I will not feel guilty about saddling my children with unbelievably popular, common names. Sorry kid, you get what you get in the name department. At least they aren't weird names, or white trash names, or Amish names. They are just regular names, even though the kids will always have to be known by their first name and last initial.

Vacations? Nope, I feel no guilt that my kids will never go on a "real" vacation. The very thought of a theme park makes me cringe. It aint gonna happen. When the children reach the age of majority, and I am no longer responsible for them, they can go on whatever vacation they want. We'll just stay right here in BFE Michigan, thank you very much.

I refuse to feel guilty for sleeping with my babies. The pediatricians will tell you not to, as will your grandmother and well-meaning (and probably childless) friends, but seriously. There is nothing better than suggling up with a fat naked baby. I would spend all day cuddled with my fat man if I could, and as far as SIDS, well, if my baby is going to die of SIDS, I want him next to me, not far away in a cold crib. I will not feel guilty about this, but I will also not ever tell the doctor, because I don't ever have the energy to fight them.

This one I'm working on. I will not feel guilty for taking antidepressants. Okay I still feel a little guilty about that one, like maybe I am really obvious tot he whole world. I think I might have a big note on my back that says "Crazy person!!" But starting now, I refuse to feel guilty about it. At least I have control of the crazy, instead of the crazy controlling me.

I do not feel guilty for being the type of mom who avoids playgroup at all costs. I avoid it because I don't feel like sitting in a room full of moms with whom I have nothing in common, other than the fact that we bore children. I went to playgroup four times, and each time I ran around and kept everyone else's kids from eating the chalk while they sat together and compared four hundred dollar diaper bags.

I don't feel guilty for not coming up with cute creative things for my children to do. You're kids. We live in the country. Go find something to do outside. It is my job to keep you alive and to guide you into adulthood with psyche intact. It is not my job to entertain you. I know a couple people whose parents did that kind of thing for them, and guess what? They're weird.

I won't ever feel guilty for not assuaging my children's egos at all times. Yes, my children are great, they are fantastic, they are super cool and I love hanging out with them, and I am always amazed at them and humored by them and they are my world... but they do not need to hear that thirty times a day to feel worthwhile. 'I love you' will suffice quite nicely.

I refuse to feel guilty for the ten million mistakes I have made, and the infinite more I will make, while I lovingly parent my children. They are loved, and they know it. I am human, and they know that too, and I am giving them my best. And that is good enough.


Tara said...

Wow great post! Goof for you on dropping the mama guilt! We love Yo Gabba Gabba 'round these parts too. Who will teach our children, "don't bite your friends" as creatively as D.J Lance will? No one, that's who.

Jenni said...

I'm pretty good at saying I won't feel guilty, but not so good at actually not feeling guilty.

When I talked to my ped about co-sleeping he told me that humans are almost along among mammals for not sleeping w/their babies. He thinks it's natural, and said if I was comfortable with it, I should do it. And I did. But I have to admit, having is support made it easier, especially as a first time moom.

Tara said...

GooF for you? I meant GooD for you -- the way that reads, it seems like I am being a huge jerk! GooD... I meant GooDDDDD.

Janine (@twincident) said...

I need to read this as a pep talk every now and then because while I fully admit I'm neurotic and make mistakes, the guilt does creep up on me! Great post and I found you through the blog carnival.