Many of us have a picture of what an ideal mother does. One of those things for me was being home when the kids came home from school with some freshly baked snacks that they eat while telling me about their day. This was often our routine each day, so when I had to take a job and then multiple jobs I felt as if I was failing as a mother.
I clearly remember the first day of school. I had to get up at 5 a.m. to get ready and make it to work on time. As I was leaving work to meet my kids at the house I had nothing baked for them to eat. I grabbed a box of bakery cookies that somewhat closely resembled the cookies I would have baked had I been at home. I rushed home and I was putting them out on a plate for them before they got home and tears just ran down my face. I was no longer the mother I wanted to be.
They came home and I only had a short hour or two to spend with them before I had to rush off to the next job and rather than listening to all the details of the day all I could think about was this plate of cookies and how it represented my new life as a failed mother.
With time I wasn’t even home when my oldest two boys came home. They had to come up with their own snack out of what was in the cupboard or out of the fruit bowl. I wasn’t there to hear about their day and by the time I got home they had moved onto other things and didn’t have much to tell me. And in truth, I didn’t have much time to listen. I needed to cook dinner, help with homework, baths, and layout what we needed for the next day, so we could just do it all over. I was just surviving each day the best I could as I carried a load of mommy guilt.
Finally the day came that I could be home again with our children. I now had two small ones at home and three older ones going to school. I was excited to have time to do those things I thought a mother should do, including baking a nice surprise for them to enjoy when they got home, but to my surprise by the time I got all the housework done, cared for the two little ones, and worked (I now worked from home)… I had no desire to make those snacks. I was just tired! lol!
If I could go back. I would’ve been kinder to myself. Our situation was far from ideal, but I believe my kids knew I loved them. When feeling guilty, it is good to take a step back and determine if this guilt is a sign that I need to make a change or if this is just guilt that I’m bringing on myself? Do I have unfair expectations of myself? Am I comparing my weaknesses to someone else’s strengths? I know I will look at the mothers around me and try to do everything they do. When in reality, it is impossible for me–just one person–to take all of their best qualities and combine them into me.
As we recently moved into a new home, with a beautiful kitchen with the double oven I’ve always dreamed of (See previous article), I find myself drawn to the kitchen some-days and wanting to making those snacks for my children to enjoy after school and hear about their day. I don’t make snacks everyday for my kids, but I do pick them up from school and listen to them tell me all about their day on the drive home. They are of course starving after a long day at school. And I’ll be honest, we sometimes go to McDonald’s or Wendy’s and get a $1 Cheeseburger or an ice cream cone for a snack. And I think they are going to be just fine. 🙂
For the days I do feel like cooking up a snack, I go to my favorite place for ideas….Pinterest. Here is a link to the snack I made today. I want to make this again with a couple changes. I would double the recipe–all except the M&M’s–and then I would add a cup or two of chocolate chips. What would you add? I love to hear how creative everyone is.
How do you let go of the mommy guilt?