I’ll be the first to admit, when it comes to being a parent, I really hit the jackpot. Jeff and I had great jobs, we’d been married just over a year and a half, we decided it was time to start planning to have a baby, the next month I was pregnant. Nine months later we had a perfectly healthy beautiful baby girl. I decided I wanted to stay at home with her, we made that work. She was about 18 months old, we decided maybe it was time for another, a month into trying and bam, we’re pregnant. Nine months later we have a perfectly healthy baby boy. One of each, party over. Healthy pregnancies, healthy babies… Now I have 2 beautiful children (that’s personal opinion, but a vast majority confirm this on a regular basis), they’re both very smart (that’s confirmed thanks to standardized testing), they’re well behaved (at least their teachers tell me so, they tend to test that at home), they’re kind and compassionate (they’ve won awards proving this), and they love the Lord. I really couldn’t ask for any more….
There are days I look at these 2 wonders God gave me, and think, I am the most perfect parent in the world. I’ve done an awesome job. I keep them healthy, I’ve raised them right… And, then I realize I really had very, very little to do with any of that perfection. It was only by the grace of God that I hit this kiddo jackpot. He knew he had to give me perfect kids or I would totally screw them up and they’d be terrible members of society.
I’m not trying to brag on my parenting here, I’m just making the point, that I am richly blessed and would have to totally wreck the train to get to a “bad” point with my kids. But, even with these “picture perfect” kids, I still have tons of mom guilt. I don’t read with them 20 minutes a day, we don’t do family devotionals every night, I loose my temper and scream (I know you’re all very surprised by that), my house is a disaster 90% of the time, I don’t fix 3 well balanced meals a day, I don’t ______. Fill in the blank, whatever it is, I am constantly second guessing myself and holding myself to a crazy ridiculous standard. Why do we do this to ourselves as parents? Can we just let ourselves off the hook and agree that by the grace of God we are doing the very best we can?
My most recent mom guilt struggle is playing favorites with my kids. I love both my kids with every ounce of my heart. I’d kill myself before choosing a favorite between the two. Granted there are days….. but, that’s a whole other story. But, I’ll admit, to the rest of the world, it would easy to assume that Lexi Kate was my favorite. She commands triple the amount of my time that Sam does. I spend thousands on her dance each year, we have weekends away, we do lots of mother/daughter stuff. Honestly, I just get LK. She truly is my clone. We look the same, but more than that our personalities are the same. She is more outspoken, and commands more of my attention. Not to mention, the pure logistics of the amount of time she requires getting her where she needs to go and supervising her activities. She always has the next bright idea, something to do, somewhere to go. She’s almost a full time job. This weekend we were away at a dance competition staying at a very nice hotel and I just felt terrible laying in bed thinking about what Sam wasn’t getting from me.
But, I wonder is this something I really need to feel guilty about? I am 99.975% sure that Sam doesn’t feel slighted. Sam doesn’t command my attention that often. He has no desire to go and do all the special things LK wants to do. I guarantee I could ask him to have a special day with me and he’d want to go to Target, buy a toy, get an iTunes card, come home and play with said toy all of 15 minutes, then he’d want to go to his room by himself and play Legos, watch videos and chill. Going and doing something all day long, much less all weekend where he had to focus on “us” would be torture for him. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a lover and engaged in our family. He loves him some mommy snuggle time each morning. And, you just better be ready to be kissed on the lips, and tell him you love him 1000 times a day. But, he just doesn’t want much from you. He doesn’t need me to spend thousands on activities, because he’s happy just chilling at home. I’m constantly asking myself how can I parent Sam better, how can I love on him more. And, I come up empty. I don’t know what I’d do different. Maybe learn to play Minecraft with him…. But, I’m just not there. Otherwise, he just doesn’t need much.
This is a long rambling post, but the point is all mom’s feel guilty, no matter how good you seem to be doing. I constantly feel like a jack of all trades and master of none. I wish I could erase mom guilt from the world. No matter what a family looks like from the outside looking in, I guarantee they all have crap. You may not be able to see my crap, but trust me it piles up just like yours. You may sit at home and wish you could be like me, wish you had done it like I had, and had your kids turn out like mine. Don’t. Run your race. Pray for God to give you grace for your journey. Your kids aren’t like mine, I’m not like you. We all just have to do the best we can and love on each other. Support each other, and realize we all feel like we are totally screwing up this momma gig.