Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother's Day and Mom Guilt

Mother's Day is supposed to be a day about celebrating moms. Somehow it's become more complicated than that.

A single mom I know just expressed bitterness about Mother's Day on Facebook (calling it just a reminder that no one appreciates what she does or goes through).

There are women who want to be mother's but aren't yet (because they're single or because of fertility issues). And though I've never experienced it, I can't imagine that "all women are mothers" can completely soothe that pain.

There are people who have lost their mothers. Father's Day is hard for me because I've lost my father--I try to focus on my husband as the father of my children, but the day is always tinged with sadness for me because my father is gone.

There are people with absentee mothers or who simply don't like their mothers (warranted or not).

And then there are mothers who don't like Mother's Day because they don't feel like they are or were good moms and it makes them feel guilty.

As long as there are mothers, there has been and will be mom guilt. It might be more exaggerated now. We don't just compare ourselves to the seemingly perfect moms in our neighborhoods, but we can now compare ourselves to the Pinterest perfect mom ideas and the carefully chosen pictures on blogs and Facebook. We can never live up to the ideals presented on the internet--and neither do the people who share them.

I love this post from one of my favorite blogs: Our Best Bites: A Few Thoughts Before Mother's Day. They address both comparing ourselves to the stuff we see on the internet (and show some truths of things that happen in their own homes) and their own relationships with their mother's (that were less than ideal).

Besides not nearly living up to the internet ideal of motherhood, I pretty much never live up to my own idea of the kind of mother I'd like to be. Sometimes I have a breakdown and feel like an awful mother. But I always try to pick myself back up the next day and do a little better. Without goals, I'd never do better. But I try to first be realistic (spending our summer with a newborn is going to pretty much equal the lamest summer ever, and I've tried to come to terms with that). And then I try to not feel guilty when I don't meet my feeble goals. It doesn't make me feel any better and it certainly doesn't make me a better mom.

In celebrating Mother's Day in our house, I think of it as a mom's day off. As much as it can be with small children who still need a lot from their mom. I don't cook or do the dishes. And I've learned to choose meals that I don't feel like I have to step in and help with.

Here's hoping that moms and those who wish they could be moms can find some peace this Mother's Day.

And a couple more blog posts I've appreciated about combating mom guilt:

How Does She: 6 Tips on Doing Away with "Mom Guilt"

Daring Young Mom: Drops of Awesome

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