If I were a stuffed toy in Doc McStuffin’s makeshift clinic, the junior prodigy would probably diagnose me with “Overguiltatosis.” That’s because sometimes I think I try so hard to be a good mom that I am a bad mom.
Take this morning for example. My daughter wanted me to make pancakes with her. I needed to get a few things accomplished around the house. But instead of telling her that another morning would be better, I rushed through the task of making the pancakes, half-heartedly involving her as I mixed, flipped and served a breakfast created out of pure guilt. I wanted so badly to be a good mom and make the meal she requested. I wanted to teach her how to cook, all with wholesome ingredients of course, while creating a lasting memory she could cherish her entire life long. Whew! It’s exhausting…and all before 9:00 AM and my first cup of coffee.
Now I ask you: If I had slapped a bowl of Cheerios on the table, would that mean I loved her any less? Is that what we fear as moms; that if we give any less than 100% of ourselves at every moment we aren’t conveying the true scope of our adoration for our children?
I posit that we are worried about disappointing ourselves as much as our children. We went to good colleges, we had smart jobs that impressed others at the fancy dinner parties we used to attend pre-kids. We are used to being “A” students who qualified for extra-credit and took the AP test. So if we serve Cheerios instead of nutritious, heart-shaped pancakes to our children, isn’t that the equivalent of phoning in an essay test? That’s like getting a “C” on a mid-term. Except we have to pass the tests of our own creation at every second as moms.
To be fair, the pressure we place on ourselves to be good moms (make that perfect moms) is not solely of our making. Aren’t we constantly subjected to suggestions that we make the perfect, nutritiously balanced meals for our kids? Aren’t we bombarded with ways to enhance the childhood experience from making a craft out of a toilet paper roll to creating a learning experience out of a trip to the grocery store? Is that why I feel like a bad mom if my kid doesn’t get enrichment out of stopping by the Quik Check?
If I let my kids watch a show so I can take a shower, why do I feel guilt coursing through my veins while I shave my leg (because who has time to shave both)? If I take a phone call while my daughter is within earshot, is that why I question if I’m a bad mom for “ignoring” her requests to watch her jump off the couch for the 11th time while I chat?
Perhaps I’m trying so hard to be a good mom, that I’m becoming a bad mom. After all, how much can I delight in the moment if I’m mentally chastising myself for checking my Facebook page before I took my kids to the park? How can I take a mental picture of the joy my children are experiencing from the simple act of blowing bubbles if I’m busy feeling guilty that I’m serving frozen pizza for dinner?
I’m not sure how to change any of this, by the way. I’m pretty sure guilt is part of the deal when you’re a mom. I’m pretty sure I won’t give myself a break or just chill out. After all, I’ve been groomed and trained my entire life to feel as though I have to accomplish much more than the average person. I can’t very well settle for being a pretty good mom or an okay mom. I just hope my quest to be a good mom doesn’t make me a bad mom.
Do you suffer from “Overguiltatosis?”