When I was asked to write about mom guilt, I have to admit that I totally shriveled up inside. Outwardly, I always say we shouldn’t feel guilty, that guilt does us no good. My new motto is “presence over perfection,” but to be totally honest, sometimes it just makes me feel guilty for feeling guilty. I feel like I have to lie about my guilty feelings because it’s not positive or productive to feel guilt…and I’m a positive and productive person, right? I tell myself I can’t fail at being present because I don’t fail. All of a sudden I’m going type A on the whole presence concept. Should I call in my life coach?
So here’s the deal. On a very rare dream morning (so in reality, never) I wake up at 6:30 AM, peacefully do my 15 minute meditation, take a quick shower and throw on some sweats and some Native deodorant before swooping down to gently wake up my kids with a song (they love when I sing a terrible good morning song that makes my husband’s skin crawl). The kids eat breakfast, get dressed and brush their teeth before heading off to school, by 7:45 for Mari and 8:30 for River.
Here’s what usually happens. River (3) wakes up early and screams for someone to come to her room. My husband and I both get up and bumble around to get her and make coffee. The screaming wakes up Mari (7) who is angry to be woken up early. She yells at all of us but won’t get out of bed. I get River milk and give her an iPad for 20 minutes while I try to do my meditation. Cue the mom guilt.
She continues to yell “mommy, mommy” from downstairs. Have you ever tried to meditate while someone is yelling at you? Pretty sure that would take even Deepak Chopra out of it. She doesn’t want anything, she just yells my name in a loop all the time to be sure I’m listening. I give up on the meditation (and consequently feel a twinge of guilt), then go try to get Mari out of bed. Reluctantly she gets up. I’ve already laid out clothes for her to get dressed, so I go downstairs and turn off the iPad before I make breakfast. River starts screaming for her iPad. I look up, realize that it’s already been 30 minutes and that Mari is still not downstairs, so I scream up at her, “Where are you?? YOU are going to be late for school!” The mom guilt rears its head once again. Mari tells me she’s pooping. Sigh. When she gets downstairs she’s still not ready. No we’re very late and we all rush around to get her out the door. I spend the next 30 minutes trying to dress River, who is having the time of her life running around, jumping off the furniture, and thwarting any and all attempts to get her ready.
It turns out the hardest and the easiest things about motherhood are the same. It’s all so much easier when I really dip into the moment and be present to what’s happening, rather than thinking about the day ahead or any other tasks that need to be completed.
This is where things kind of come back together, because my 3 year old is actually living her best life, and I realize that I need to get on her program. So I surrender to the morning and play with her. Parenting becomes easy when I actually let go of the outcome. I accept that she’s going to be late for preschool again and we get into the flow. It’s still nearly impossible to get her dressed, but she makes me laugh, which stomps out those guilty mom feelings because we are actually having the quality time we both long for. She jumps on me, dances around and finally puts on her clothes.
It turns out the hardest and the easiest things about motherhood are the same. It’s all so much easier when I really dip into the moment and be present to what’s happening, rather than thinking about the day ahead or any other tasks that need to be completed. It can be so hard to get into that state, but once I’m there, it brings everything back into perspective. It relieves any stress or guilt that I might have. The biggest challenges I face as a working mom are a lack of free time and the pressure I put on myself—pressure to make the right choices for my family on all fronts so they can live their most healthy and happy lives. I want to only expose them to clean home and beauty products, limit the time they are on their screens and be sure to spend quality time with them. Eeeek. How do we fit it all in? I really lean on the HeyMama community for recommendations and quick answers to all of my questions about how they are tackling these issues and what kind of products help them along the way. I really value their advice because I trust that the women in this community want the best for their families too.
Speaking of my morning routine, recently I’ve been trying to switch up all my go-to personal care and beauty products to those that don’t contain any harmful or yucky ingredients, since I’m always kissing, cuddling and playing with the girls. I know that everything on my body somehow finds its way to my little ones at some point, and I really want to be sure that I’m keeping them safe. I’ve found that deodorant is one of the trickiest products to replace, as a few of the natural ones I’ve tried actually make me sweat more. Not what I was going for and not great when I’m always running to the next meeting! I was so excited when my co-founder Katya turned me on to Native. All of their products are clean and free of potentially harmful additives, such as aluminum, parabens and sulfates. The scents are really simple and fresh, plus they really work.
Mornings are crazy enough without worrying what’s in my deodorant or my toothpaste. Thanks to the power of presence and a little help from Native, I’m ready to get myself and my family out the door guilt-free in the morning.