Let’s talk about working mommy guilt

I almost thought I needed to break this down in to several posts because so much goes in to this topic.  Heck, just trying to get out of the house in the mornings could be a own post all on its own!  I know I said that colic was probably the hardest challenge that we dealt with as new parents, but sometimes I wonder if balancing my work life with my mommy life is the hardest challenge I personally had/have to deal with.  I have really struggled with this, although it tends to come in waves.  Like, I’ll be fine for a few weeks and think I have everything down to a science, but then that familiar dark cloud comes back and I find myself being consumed by guilt and stress and this sense of being completely overwhelmed.  Guilt because I’m not with my baby all day…stress because I feel like I can’t manage it all.  I have to remind myself that this is just the devil trying to discourage me and bring me down.  That’s the thing with the devil.  He knows your insecurities and he lives to make you feel consumed by them.  And I’ll be the first to tell you, guilt and stress are two insecurities that I have to fight off on a daily basis, particularly as they relate to balancing a baby and a career.
Let me first state that I love being a mom and I love being a lawyer.  I’m equally proud of both, and I consider both to be huge accomplishments.  Both roles are challenging, rewarding and fulfilling in their own ways, and although motherhood obviously trumps in all categories, I am so proud of what I have accomplished educationally and professionally, and I don’t think I should have to act like I’m not proud.  In fact, I want to set that example for Asher Wade and any future children…that there’s nothing wrong with finding fulfillment outside of being a parent and there’s certainly nothing wrong with chasing your dreams.  I was a raised by a very career oriented mother, and obviously that rubbed off on me, and I hope it will in turn rub off on our children.  Nothing wrong with wanting to be able to achieve your educational and professional goals.
Still though, being a working mom is hard!  It’s a constant balancing act and I always feel torn between my two “jobs.”  When I’m at work, my mind is on AW.  When I’m home with AW, my mind is often on work.  It’s a constant battle and I always feel like I should be giving more time to one or the other.  I want to give 100% to everything at all times, but lets face it, that ain’t happening, so all I can do is give 100% of what I am capable of giving.  I never really understood that saying, “Give 100%.”  I mean, is that even possible?  Can you truly give 100% of yourself to anything?  Even if I am completely focused on a task, isn’t my mind going to wander a little?  In actuality, I am the queen of multi-tasking, and sometimes that is a great skill to have, especially when you have a kid.  I’m not saying you should half ass things and just do a mediocre job, but maybe you don’t necessarily have to do a perfect job at everything.  Am I going to be perfect mother?  Heck no!  Likewise I am never going to be perfect at my job, or any other area of my life, and that’s ok.  It’s all about setting realistic and achievable expectations for yourself.  If I set a reasonable expectation, then when I actually achieve it, I feel good and it boosts my confidence.  If I put pressure on myself to do everything perfect, then when I fail to meet that expectation, I feel defeated and my confidence is squashed.  Then the guilt comes along.
Mommy guilt is very real.  I’ve heard so many moms talk about this and I’ve come across the term countless times, but until you truly experience it, it’s hard to describe.  I’m constantly questioning myself and my ability to be a mom.  Do I spend enough time with him?  Do I tell him “I love you” enough?  Do I hold him enough?  Am I doing enough?  If you asked me these questions, my answers would probably all be “no.”  However, I don’t know if I will ever feel like I am doing enough.  Again, I set these expectations of what I think I should be doing, and then when I can’t meet them, I become consumed with guilt.  Besides my own expectations of what I think I should be doing, there’s the constant comparison to other moms around me.  I hate that we do that as women and moms – the constant comparison – but I don’t know if that will ever change.  It’s just something I have to strive not to do, and ask God to help me with on a daily basis.  It is one of the things I pray about the most…release from the self-imposed guilt that I am not doing enough and a reminder that I was chosen to be Asher Wade’s mother.  If God picked me to be his mom, then obviously He thought I was the perfect person for the job.  I’m not a perfect mother, but I was the perfect pick for him, and that’s something I can hang my hat on.
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