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Last night, I was laying in bed with Eric and just thinking about when my son was one and two and how much of a fun time in life that was. But my brain never lets me stop at “that was a fun time.” So instead, I turned away, and started nearly hyperventilating with sobs.
“It all went by so fast; I should’ve slowed down and enjoyed it more. I should’ve played with him more, I shouldn’t have been looking forward to nap time.”
I was wracked with guilt. I couldn’t function or forgive myself. I was just overwhelmed with this feeling of “I wish I could do it again, but better.”
And then, without warning, a thought came into my head. If this were your friend, or any other mom, struggling through parenting a one year old or a two year old, would you judge them? Would you tell them, “how dare you look at your phone for 5 minutes of peace? Just enjoy your child!” “You shouldn’t have put him in his room with his tablet for quiet time because he dropped his nap. You should play a game with him instead.” I was guilty wondering if maybe I didn’t appreciate parenthood enough, but I would never think that about any other mom around me.
I wouldn’t. When I see a mama in the store who is just trying to get through her day, I would never judge her for handing her toddler a phone with a show (unless it was loud as heck; I don’t want to be singing Cocomelon songs all day). If I see a mama at the park pushing a swing while checking Instagram, good for her, she’s doing what she has to do to keep going.
But I never have that grace for myself. I know how it feels to want nothing more than 5 minutes of no one talking to you, to want to scream “please stop touching me,” but to let your child crawl all over you anyway. In my memories, I feel overwhelming guilt for having felt those feelings at all.
So I’ve started to give myself grace. To forgive myself for when I may have been overwhelmed, burnt out, and exhausted, and maybe I could’ve spared 5 more minutes and an extra song at bedtime. I’m forgiving myself for the things I did when I was just trying my best to get through the days. My mental health is important too, and I prioritized it then, but at the expense of guilt now, and I need to let go of that guilt.
Give yourself grace, mamas, you deserve it.