Food, love, career, and mothers, the four major guilt groups.
This quote pretty much sums it up perfectly. Something I was reminded of after missing the mommy and me tea hosted by my daughter's kindergarten class last week while on a girls trip for a friend's stagette.
I know I'm a better mom when I'm balanced and take time for myself -- being the best mom you can be is good enough! But any mom will tell you that mommy guilt can be overwhelming and a hard feeling to shake. On my flight to the stagette (after leaving my six year old in tears, begging me to cancel so I could attend the tea party with her), I wondered if it would be easier if I didn't work out of the home full time, consistently leaving my kids with their childcare provider 10 hours a day…
Doubtful, but it got me to thinking about the important things I've learned in the wake of mommy guilt!
1. Quality time is everything
In my experience, quality time trumps quantity time every time. As a mom working out of the home Monday to Friday quality time means undivided attention. If there are only a few hours in a day to spend with your children, try to focus all your attention on them for the entire time rather than being distracted by work and other tasks around the house. I also try to avoid checking my iPhone when I'm with my kids, especially if it's work related.
2. The little things matter, most
It's a fine balance between sweating the small stuff and focusing on the little things that mean the world to your children. Things that parents know are not a big deal in the grand scheme of things may be huge to a child – like a bad hair day or being five minutes late for soccer practice.
Likewise, I'll bring my kids into the office with me to do some lawyering every now and again. They sometimes ask me why I pick them up so late after school and we often discuss my career choices. So when they ask to come to work with me every once in a while, I usually bring them along for at least a few hours. They love and appreciate it!
3. Always do what you say you're going to do
There's nothing worse than disappointing people you love, especially your children. If you have to choose, under-promise and over-deliver. Enough said.
4. Honesty is (usually) best
There are going to be times when you miss milestones, big and small. Try not to beat around the bush about, especially if you disappoint your child, because they will figure it out – they're so intuitive!
Part of being a good role model involves teaching children compassion, including offering and accepting apologies. And that cultivating positive relationships with others is important (such as celebrating a friend's stagette in Honolulu even if it's over Mother's Day) but this doesn't mean your family members are any less important to you – I have always considered my best friends to be family!
5. It takes a village
I've never been a fan of asking others for help but have learned to embrace our family's support network. The more positive influences in your child's life the better off they will be. This is one of the reasons why the belated Mother's Day tea with my daughter involved a few of my close girlfriends (all amazing women)! One of my favourite pics from the stagette is below but more pictures are available at @calmmother.
A book I enjoy for helping women cope with mommy guilt is in this post.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this, please feel free to comment below.