This is a post that I wrote as an entry to the Mommy guilt contest hosted by Women's Web
When I drive to work with my daughter in the backseat, she is grumpy on some days; after effects of watching TV first thing in the morning, while I hurriedly try to pack my lunch, take a shower, pack her school things, get her ready etc. (Yes, I know I could have accomplished this, the previous night, but there is nothing thrilling like a challenge in the morning).
When I drive to work with her slumped in her car seat and we pass the park, she says on some days “Mommy, I want to go to the park”. And my heart breaks…..heart breaks at having to make her sacrifice whims and adhere to routine, she is too young for that, isn’t she? Don’t all of us feel on a beautiful summer day to drive out to a state park and go on a walk/hike/swim or go shopping with friends or go see a movie? Anything but go to work and sit behind a desk?
But then there are also other days when I let her stay at home from school and in a matter of hours, she wanders around the house bored and misses her friends at school and her teachers and her swimming classes and actually asks to go to school. It doesn’t matter if I play with her, in a day or two, in an hour or two, she wants to be surrounded by her friends and have her activities.
I have strongly begun to realize that as women we punish ourselves with guilt. Some of us are also generous enough to pile on some of our guilt on to others – stay at home Moms criticizing work outside the home Moms and vice versa.
Kids don’t need routine, let them be kids, let them be spontaneous and free as the wind.
Kids need routine, it helps them know what to expect and makes them more grounded, lays the foundation for successful maturity and growth.
Kids need their mothers every second of the day, nobody will nurture and love their kids as much as mothers can and will.
Kids need to interact with other kids, adults, caretakers; some of them are specially trained to deal/teach/guide kids.
Let them cry it out and eventually they will learn to sleep through the night by themselves.
Kids are kids only once, why should you make them cry alone into the night, go cuddle up with them and co-sleep.
Potty train on a schedule, wean off bottle/nipple asap.
Let the kid take his/her own course, do not try to go by the book on everything…
You will agree that there are a thousand “for” and “against” on every single decision relating to kids. Every mother has experienced this, be it by way of disagreements with your mother/mother-in-law/husband or your friends might be doing it one way and you prefer something else etc. Each kid is unique and you know your child. If you are a sane, reasonably responsible, non-drug taking, non-alcoholic, non-abusive parent; then you have the absolute right to decide what’s best for your kid. And the rest of the Universe should let you be.
So the next time you are in the park with your kids and watch a Mom drive past with a kid looking out of the window, do not judge that Mom. Do not pity her or do not pity yourself. For all you know, she could be judging you back, pitying you or pitying herself. Let’s forgive ourselves and forgive others. Lets all just celebrate the fact that we are all mothers, we love our children to death and will always always think of the best that we can do for them. And let’s trust the Mom on the other side to have that awesome wisdom which you think you have and believe that she has chosen the best course for her family and herself. Live and let live. Smile and sympathize and learn from each other. Extremes are not healthy in any circumstances, for anyone; let’s all try to reach some middle ground. Live and let live and put down that load of Mommy guilt you carry around. Love your child and be there for them and you have been the best Mother you could ever be.