I am very excited to introduce you all to my friend Sharett from Manic Mommy Moods. She shared with me her story about mommy guilt and her journey through overcoming it. I thought her story had to be shared so I asked her to to be our guest because who better to tell you about it than a fellow mom, who by the way is expecting baby #2 🙂
I have a very important question for all the mommies out there reading this right now! Are you a guilt-free mommy? Let’s answer by a show of hands. I can imagine not a single one of you raised your hand. And if you did, you’re either Mom of the Year or you’ve found the secret to life! Whether you’re a mom to be or a seasoned mommy pro, at some point or another, I’m sure you have experienced some mommy guilt. And if you are new at this and haven’t experienced it yet, let me be the 1st to tell you something. You will. And it won’t be fun. We women are so terribly hard on ourselves and tend to beat ourselves up for more reasons than I could ever begin to list. And in all honesty, it’s not fair. We are too hard on ourselves. No one is super woman and even if you know someone you think is super woman, I can assure you she has her insecurities and may even have breakdowns behind closed doors that no one may ever know about. We all have our struggles and you know what? That’s ok.
In my opinion, the key to getting past those struggles is to just let it all out and then just let it all go. Bottling it up in an effort to “be strong” isn’t healthy. It’s important to let your feelings out. Whether you chose to do so in a personal journal, talking to a friend or even a counselor or therapist, is up to you. I’m a huge advocate of counselors and psychotherapy, but I digress. That’s for another blog posting! In this post, I’ll share with you some of the things I’ve felt guilty about in the past as well as some ideas to help you get past your own mommy guilt. It can be a constant battle for some, but if you can learn to cope with certain aspects of your life and maybe change a view point here and there, mommy guilt can definitely become more manageable.
I am bipolar and severely so. This meant that I was unable to temporarily discontinue my psychiatric medications as some moms are able to do once they become pregnant. I am also currently pregnant with my 2nd little dude and still on the same medications as I was on with my 1st little dude (who is now 4 ½ and as smart as can be!!).
During my 1st pregnancy I often wondered, what are these medications doing to my child? Is he going to have behavioral issues because of them? Will they cause birth defects? Will he be “normal”? But I was on them because the benefit outweighed the risk. After all, I had to be mentally sound enough to take care of myself for my baby’s sake and it’s been proven to me a few times before that I am NOT mentally sound or stable off of my medications. So I had to come to grips with the fact that what I was doing by taking the meds was very important to the wellbeing of my baby. Turns out, as I mentioned above, that my 1st little dude is extremely smart and a perfectly “normal” and happy little boy! He’s amazing and I am in awe of him and the joy that he brings me on a daily basis!
The 2nd issue I had mommy guilt during my 1st pregnancy was not being able to breastfeed. I had quite the strong desire to breastfeed, but I did not realize how difficult it can be for some moms. I thought that it was natural and that it would just happen and all would be right with the world. But it didn’t go as I had pictured in my mind. My milk dried up after about 3 weeks. In hindsight I realized that there were many things I could have done to prevent my milk from drying up had I just educated myself a bit more. I was devastated and cried for close to a year. But I had to realize that I was a 1st time mom and I didn’t know a lot of things. Also, what happened to me is so common for 1st time moms. And there again, my son is healthy, rarely sick and has no food allergies. He’s absolutely perfect! Now for my current pregnancy, I have educated myself thoroughly on breastfeeding and I hope for things to go a bit more smoothly this time around! But, if they don’t, I won’t be devastated. There are too many factors involved to beat myself up over any unexpected outcome.
There is one big thing mommies tend to feel guilty about from what I’ve seen. Not being perfect. None of us are Super Mom and making mistakes is just a part of life. Maybe you forgot to buckle your child in their car seat didn’t realize it until you were driving down the street. It happens, but as long as you stopped to take care of it immediately and didn’t shrug and continue driving after your realization, you are still a good mom. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are several things a mommy can do to help with mommy guilt and I’d love to share my findings and ideas from my own personal experience with you all!
For starters, don’t ever compare yourself to other moms!!! No mom is perfect, no matter how it may look from the outside. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors for others. Next, always take time out for yourself. Whether it’s for an hour after the kids go to bed and you just veg out and watch your favorite show or movie or you have a girls night out with some close friends, if you have the support and help. You need “me time”! My next piece of advice goes hand in hand with taking time out for yourself. Make YOU your #1 priority. If mommy’s not happy, nobody’s happy! This rings true in every household, in my opinion! Of course your children are your priority, but it is impossible to make others happy if you are unhappy yourself. I also want you all to remember to forgive yesterday’s mistakes on a daily basis. This allows you to move forward without being weighed down by past mistakes. Lastly, just smile! You’re a mommy and your children love you and need you more than they themselves may even realize!!!!
My name is Sharett Miller and I blog under the name Silversunshine Mommy. My blog is called Manic Mommy Moods. I am a 32 year old mother of one amazing little boy with another amazing little boy on the way. I have been married to my incredible husband for 8 years and he is the biggest support in my life as well as the love of my life.
I started my blog earlier this year to reach out to ALL types of other moms as well as bring awareness to mental illness. A good portion of my struggles come from coping with being bipolar and being a mommy. I was diagnosed at 23 years old (years before my mommy days) while in the hospital behavioral health ward (AKA as the hospital’s psych ward) on 15 minute suicide watch. I spent 7 days in the hospital and I was given my diagnosis and medication to regulate my disorder. It’s been 10 years and I have been on those meds ever since. My point in telling my story is to help women realize that whether you’re bipolar like I am or whatever your battle may be, I want you to know that there is support out there and that there are people who care, understand and get it. Join me at Manic Mommy Moods to find out more about my opinions and even read some of my (meaningful) rants!