25 Minutes to Guilty

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My name is Katrina and I suffer from Mom Guilt.

My kids are 9, 7, and 2. Two of them go to school, one of them goes to preschool. While they're there, I'm...at the office. I work full-time 20 minutes away from home, which is also 25 minutes away from them, if you don't factor in traffic. But, on some days, those 25 minutes are an agonizing commute. I’ve made that commute in tears on several occasions. On some days, being 25 minutes away from them is heart-breaking.

I would say that, on average, at least every 25 minutes, I find myself stopping what I’m doing because I’m thinking about them. I wonder what they're doing. I check my phone to see what's coming up on their activity schedules. I think about what homework we'll be tackling together tonight, what books we're going to read next, what social issues they're working on today, what they’re learning at school, if they did a good deed, the list goes on. I text my husband several times a day to share a great parenting podcast I heard or article I read. I share my ideas about a fun activity we could do with the kids, or what we have to remember to tell them. I do this so that I don't lose these thoughts while trying to focus on...work.

The guilt is real, my friends. I'm at work and I try my best to have my brain be there, too. But the truth is, my heart is elsewhere; it’s 25 minutes away.

I’ll be honest though. I do enjoy the time to myself to contribute to the greater good and do my work to the best of my ability, and, well, make the most of the time I’m spending away from my family. But I can’t help but wonder if that energy should be focused elsewhere…like on momming.

Mom Guilt doesn't just fall on working moms. It falls on stay-at-home moms, work-at-home moms, empty-nester moms, brand new moms, about-to-be moms, and well, ALL moms to some degree. We each have our own experiences with it and dealing with it. But, essentially, we are all trying to live up to the expectations we have set for ourselves, and what we think our kids, our partners, our families, that stranger over there, the media, and society set for us. We ask ourselves constant questions that contain the word should.

At the same time, we are all just doing our best to raise functional, independent and, of course, kind human beings. We wonder if we’re doing enough, if we’re doing good enough jobs, because, really, we won’t actually know until it’s time for our kids to go be their own humans. Our responsibility, which we often forget, is to equip them with what they need to ultimately go their own ways. And if they can do that effectively, it’s a sign that we’ve succeeded. (I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying!)

So, we need to trust that our best isenough. Though we are often exhausted and fumbling for the answers, we are still functioning the way we know how, and sometimes, in those moments, that IS our best.

It’s ok for us to say “no” to things. We tend to spread ourselves too thin, and sometimes end up spreading them too thin, too. We hustle from activity to activity in an effort to help them become well-rounded, willing-to-try team players. But sometimes we end up with exhausted kids, which we all know leads to exhausted moms. There is value in not outsourcing some lessons.

It’s in our best interests to give ourselves some grace, to forgive ourselves when we’re outright momsters, and at the same time, to ask for forgiveness from our offspring. After all, if they’re going to learn forgiveness, self-trust, and grace from anyone, why not from their moms?

In the end, it’s not about what we shouldbe doing because of what everyone else says. It’s about what we know to be the way we wantto do things, for our children’s best interests. And in the end, maybe our kids, our partners, our families, that stranger over there, the media, and society will all thank us for doing such awesome jobs.