There is this thing I have been thinking about lately that I like to call "mom guilt". I'm not sure if this is a technical term or not but it is technical to me. This guilt likes to rear its ugly head in a few different scenarios.
*The guilt of leaving my daughter behind. There are those days where Bree just does not want me to leave. She will find ways to keep me with her such as taking much longer than usual to pick out a snack as I am trying to walk out the door, ask to be picked up over and over, give me a longer hug than usual, or just flat cry out in pain at the thought of me leaving. It can be heart wrenching thinking that she is feeling abandoned. The truth is that I am not abandoning her. At this point, she is usually being left with a trusting and loving family member: her paper, her grandma, her nana, or even her daddy. During these moments, I have to rework my brain to remind myself that she is being left with capable hands. I remind myself that I need to leave sometimes for sanity sake because even though being a mom is my favorite and most important role it is by far not my only role or only identity. I also remind myself that I have to go to work because we have bills to pay and I want to provide my child with a wonderful life that requires a 2 person income. I also remind myself that she does need to learn to separate. Mommy will not always be there and one day she will have to venture out into the world on her own. This is only the first step, it is part of the training.
**The guilt of being too busy. There are times when Bree just wants mommy to play, to read, to take the time for me. Trust me, I do not neglect my child. I play with her and read to her every day, usually a little in the morning and then at night during quiet time. Sometimes Bree wants to play all day everyday. I honestly wish I had that time but sometimes mommy has a lot to do. Dinner has to be made. I have work to finish from my job. Dishes need to get done. The dogs need to be let out. All the pets need to be fed. Certain things just cannot be put off. As important as it is to spend quality time with your kids it is also important to feed them a meal or 2. That guilt comes over that I am neglecting my child or making her feel less important when she is the most important, but how do you convey that to a 2yr old?!?! I have to rework my brain and remind myself that I will spend time with my daughter. I will make it up to her and find that alone and quiet time with her but she also needs to learn that there is a time and a place and she needs to learn about hard work as much as she needs to learn about play.
***The guilt of saying "no". This is one of my least guilty feelings but it is still there, because let's be honest, kids do have to hear the word no. They can't have full range decision making because they often don't make the best decisions. Kids need to learn that they will not always get their way or else they will grow up believing such and it is not the reality. I also know that I try to tell her no at times when it really is the best thing for her. I still feel some guilt, wondering if I am telling her no too much.
****The last guilt is more a guilt I feel about my very close bond with my daughter. I feel guilt that it may be too close and icing out my spouse. You see, I did not know my dad growing up and missed out on that special relationship and always wanted to give that to my children. My daughter has a wonderful daddy who loves her tons and I want that bond to be strong. I know Bree loves her daddy but I know it hurts him when she just wants mommy. When she says "no daddy. Mommy", I feel guilt when she runs to me for that hug when she falls and gets hurt, when she asks for me when she is scared, when she cries when I leave and does not make a peep when daddy leaves. I know there are times when it makes him a bit sad when she chooses me over him and it makes me sad too. I also have that guilt when there are those moments when I feel a sense of pride that maybe I am the favorite parent or that she feels such a strong connection. I remind myself that a lot of it is that there is a special relationship between mother and children just from the pregnancy relationship and natural bond. Part of the relationship is also female and female where my daughter is learning how to act and be by watching me and learning. I remind myself that if/when we have a son that he will probably feel that stronger connection with daddy and that one day Bree will realize how much she really is daddy's little girl and the bond will completely change.