Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Break Free From Mom-Guilt & Start Living a Well-Balanced Life

Tonight Jerome had a difficult time falling asleep and kept coming out of his room, which is completely out of character for him.

When he came out for the fourth time, I gently and firmly lead him back to his room, with the sense that he needed a little extra attention from me. So, gathering him into my lap with his blanket wrapped snug around him, I sang to him.

My big, independent four-year-old snuggled right into me, as he rarely does, and I thought about how that moment of me slowing down and choosing to be present needs to be the kind of moment I see my motherhood through.

Instead of the moment of frustration as I strapped my kids into the car. Or the dried on kraft dinner under the table.

Why do we seem to define motherhood these days by the shortcomings and struggles, taking on such a heavy burden of mom-guilt rather than defining ourselves by all the ways we are exactly what our children need simply because we are mom.

Not Enough Hours In The Day

I personally experience a lot of guilt over ways I feel I am not doing enough for my kids, a lot of frustration and exhaustion over issues that seem impossible to navigate.

Should I be putting the Banana Boat sunscreen on my kids, or are they better off not lathered in what is apparently toxic-waste? Should I be giving them the vitamins I bought at Walmart, or do I need to be ordering special organic ones, because the ones I chose are actually filled with toxic-waste, as well?

Here I thought I was getting ahead by simply applying the sunscreen, and giving them vitamins.

You know?

I am exhausted by all the ways I feel I am pulled in different directions throughout the day, so weighed down by my expectations of what it looks like to be a successful and flourishing mother.

In fact, the other day I wrote myself out a pretty extensive routine, appointing each hour of my day to a necessary task, and only when all twelve hours of my day were accounted for could I possible fit every expectation of myself into a single day.

After only a few days, I was completely overwhelmed and discouraged.

I struggled with not being able to fulfill the demands of this schedule for about a month until I realized something needed to change. Which is why, one particularly guilt-laden evening, I sat down and wrote down a bare minimum daily schedule based on my priorities.

Picking My Own Battles

I have realized that we all, as parents, need to pick our own battles. We need to prioritize where our energy should be spent, and where we need to give ourselves a break.

Of course what each of us chooses to focus on will be different as we account for our personal ideals and values, abilities and our resources, and at different periods in our lives, the way these choices fit into our daily requirements will fluctuate as well.

But for every parent, knowing which battles we choose to fight will help us to know we are focussing on what matters and give us the freedom to let go of what does not.

For me, I choose:

  • Modeling kindness to all people, especially my children, and especially when they are at their worst, so that they may grow into radically kind humans.
  • Limiting screen-time for my kids, so as to give them every opportunity for real play, for movement, for imagination, and for those moments of boredom,
  • Spending time learning about my faith and teaching my children well with Montessori principles, in that order. 
  • Living my faith in a real way so that my kids can learn it by example.
  • Supplying my kids with all the stories, books, and all the learning opportunities that books provide so that they learn to love books at a very young age.

On the flip side, choosing my priorities also means knowing what I need to let go of.

For me, that means giving myself a break when our fridge isn't stocked with organic produce or when we just need to stop by McDonald's for lunch. It means being graceful with myself about what my limitations are in a day, and not needing to have a perfectly clean house at all times.

I encourage you to take out a piece of paper and write out the five things you choose for your motherhood. And then go ahead and write out all the things you do not.

I Am Enough, And So Are You

Admittedly, I have no idea if the choices Tharin and I make are going to result in perfect, well-rounded adults.

The battles we choose to fight might not always be the right ones, and we may realize we are capable of more, or less, as we continue navigating this complicated journey of parenthood. All we can do is to keep trying and fighting, all the while loving these little people as fiercely as we do, and living our lives with discernment and faith.

Tomorrow, we will read our library books for the thousandth time, and play with new blocks. We will go outside. We will eat that leftover kraft dinner. And hopefully, I'll be trying to see the best moments of our day, the moments where I am enough for my kids, knowing I have made time for what matters most to us, instead of dooming myself to seeing only my inadequacies.

I am enough, and that day I just described is enough for them.

I am mom, and even though I feel like I am winging it every day, I am pretty sure they have absolutely no idea. So bring on the Banana Boat sunscreen, the regular toothpaste, the occasional processed meal, and all the battles that are not mine to fight right now. We'll just be over here winging it, and probably fighting dragons.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from you. I would also love to hear any suggestions for posts you would like me to write about. And if you are interested in following along in our daily adventures, follow us on Instagram where I post daily.

God bless,
Olivia Fischer

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE THIS POST!!! Probably my favourite so far! It was so good and totally spoke to me :)