Overcoming Mom Guilt: Being mindful and aware

By Kristin Allaben

It’s hard to believe that we brought my second born home 3 weeks ago. Part of me is amazed at how quickly the time has gone by. Part of me is amazed that it’s somehow only been 3 weeks.

But perhaps the biggest shock to me was holding my newborn while watching my first born play with his toys. Somehow, he was bigger, more mature. He was no longer the baby I left two days earlier; he was a little boy who was seemingly all grown up. And in addition to the shock of seeing how big my little guy was, understanding just how much he still needed me was another.

Sure, friends and family all told me stories about how different life is with two kids instead of one, but no one could have truly prepared me for the reality of being needed in two places at the same time.

Needless to say, the Mom Guilt has been real.

There are moments I want to be with my oldest, to play with him, to laugh with him, to read with him. But there are also moments when I want to be with my newborn, to hold him, to admire him, to snuggle him. And though I know it’s only been a few weeks and I’m still in the learning curve of effectively juggling two kids under 2­, the guilt for wanting to be with one when you’re with the other is already so strong. And the frustrated realization that of course I shouldn’t already have it all figured out is almost as bad.

Expectation vs. reality. But discussing expectations as a parent vs. reality is for another post…

I recently stumbled across a quote from Stephanie Precourt, an online content manager for Listen To Your Mother Show, that so beautifully describes motherhood: “There will be so many times you feel like you’ve failed, but in the eyes, heart and mind of your child, you are super mom.”

In those moments when I feel horrible for the rushed bedtime for my first born while the newborn was crying to be fed, or when I am laughing and playing with the oldest and know I’ve left the newborn in his bouncy chair for what I feel is too long, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking you’re not enough, that you’re sacrificing time with one for time with the other.

Being a parent is about being mindful and aware. It’s about accepting the challenges and adventures each day brings and learning how to appreciate each moment exactly as it is. It’s about being present, especially during those rushed or challenging times with your kid(s). You may only be able to read one bedtime story during a rushed bedtime, but be present in that moment instead of letting your mind wander, thinking about what else you still need to take care of when they go to bed. It’s about experiencing each moment. It’s about learning from and letting go of the moments that are frustrating or create feelings of self-doubt. Experience, learn, then let it go.

Reading the quote from Stephanie Precourt reminded me of my own New Year’s resolution to laugh more and to enjoy life’s little moments. It’s not always about the quantity of time, but the quality of time. And that means being present in and fully appreciating every moment I have with my sons, regardless of what those moments look like.

 

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Consider reading The Greatness in the Small Things

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