What is mom guilt? Mom guilt is the feeling that you have failed your children, that you are not doing a good enough job, and the fear that everyone will judge you for your choices.
Mom guilt kills my ability to fully love on and be present with Esther. When I’m busy worrying about whether I’m doing everything right or what another mom might say about the way we do things, I’m not at my best. Mom guilt also comes into play when reality doesn’t quite meet my expectations. I have had my fair share of days that were plagued with mom guilt. It’s sickening and heartbreaking. It makes me feel less than and like I’m not doing enough. And to be honest, if I didn’t have a community of other moms around me, I would be drowning in guilt. Just because mom’s have this thing called “motherly instinct” doesn’t mean we are instantly experts on motherhood and won’t make mistakes.
One of the biggest mom guilts I have been struggling with is the fear that I am not producing enough milk for Esther and will have to supplement her diet with formula. I have always struggled with combining pumping for storage and nursing – unless I stay up to pump in the middle of the night. Because of this, we will need to add formula to Esther’s diet when I go away for a wedding next week. I was really struggling with this because it’s always been my dream to breastfeed exclusively and I felt that if I had to use formula it would be like I failed Esther. I had been told that it’s okay as long as she was getting fed but I was still wrestling with this in my heart. This morning, God really impressed on me that this is not a sign of failure. Failure would be to refuse to buy formula and continue to struggle and be overwhelmed with stress about storing enough milk for her.
Mom guilt robs us of the joy that comes with being a mom.
Mom guilt is debilitating. We can’t be who our children need us to be when we’re weighed down by guilt.
If you’ve always dreamed of breastfeeding but can’t, that’s okay! Your baby can get everything he or she needs from formula and you can still get in that quality time and snuggles. If you have to add formula to your baby’s diet because of a lack of breast milk or to take some time to care for yourself, you’re not a failure! The important thing is that your baby is fed. Love on your baby and spend time with them.
You may have heard these things a hundred times or never at all but let me tell you something:
IT’S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES.
IF YOUR BABY IS FED, YOU’RE DOING A GOOD JOB.
IT’S OKAY TO TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF.
YOU CAN NEVER LOVE YOUR BABY TOO MUCH.
If you find yourself struggling with mom guilt, I would encourage you to reach out to a friend. We can remind ourselves there’s no reason to feel guilty but sometimes we need someone else to verbalize it for us to really get it. Be an encourager. When you see other mom’s having a rough go of it, tell them they’re doing a good job and that this won’t last forever.
You’re doing a good job momma ♥