Why Mommy Guilt is like a Drive By Shooting

My son is just a week shy of 6 months.
 And guess what, The Switch has happened. 
The Switch you ask? 
YES! The glorious switch from simply Milk Supply to Mommy. 

I don't know exactly when it happened, but it was right around the time I helped my baby through his very first ear infection, (which consisted of 4 trips to the pediatrician, two different medications, and a full blown body rash due to an allergic reaction.) Freaking wonderful. However, now on the other side of that damned childhood curse, I find that he lights up even brighter when I walk into a room, he reaches for me when I am close enough, he does that cute open mouthed "I'm going to eat your face off" type of kissing babies do, and pretty much loses his mind whenever we play together. 
It. Is. Awesome. 
I. LOVE. it.
Of course don't mistake me, Robert is still his best friend...by a long shot... it's so obvious... but I am MOMMY, which pretty much makes me a superhero. 
 And yet, I have come to discover that if there is one sure fire nemesis to Mommy Superherodom, it is the dreaded "Mommy Guilt." Our very own Kryptonite.
But I have also discovered something else...
"Mommy Guilt" exists because we, as mothers, hurl it on one another. We do the perpetuating.
Like a drive by shooting, we take to the blog world (Hello!), and social media, and do our own drive by guilting, perhaps, without even realizing it. 
And you know what, we are killing ourselves; and killing one another's confidence in the process.

Let's be real, being a parent is HARD ENOUGH on it's own without feeling the pressure of so many opinions on top of it. And the clincher is that it starts before you are even a PARENT!!

"Why don't you have children yet?"
"Don't you feel like that is a little selfish?"
"When are you planning to get pregnant?"
"Natural or Medicated?"
"Vaccines, no vaccines?"
"Breast milk or formula?"
"Cry it out or coddle?"
"Public, Private, or Home School?"

Honestly, I could keep going.

I can remember vividly the first time I experienced that shameful Mommy Guilting. I was pregnant...newly pregnant...and I was asked what type of birth I wanted to have.

Me: "You know...I think I would really like to try giving birth naturally."
Friend: "...Why?"
Me: "Um.. I don't really have a set reason, it's just a preference."
Friend: "Is...it, like, something you need to prove to yourself?"
Me: "No, not at all."
Friend: "Hm."
Annnnnd Shame.
 I am 100% sure that she never, in her wildest dreams, meant to hurt, shame, or offend me, but because it has become such common place to have the "right" to share our opinions, it happened regardless...
 Perhaps it is because I am Doula, or work in the realm of pregnancy in general, but it seems like I am constantly questioned about my pregnancy and parenting preferences and choices, and why I do or don't do certain things, or why I feel or don't feel certain ways. And truthfully, I love giving MY opinions and MY advice, but that is just the thing, they are MINE...opinions and advice that are now ONLY given when asked, and come with the very serious preface that they are free of judgement and that they do not fit every child. 
See, in my arrogance, prior to becoming a parent, I had an opinion about everything. I swore up and down that I would (or would not) do X,Y, and Z...told women why you should or should not do this or that, and you know what I discovered: Some things sound great in theory, and are terrible in practice. 
And I also discovered, that I lended to the guilting of many a mother in the process.
Parenthood is about grace upon grace (for YOURSELF) and as much humility as you can muster. It is perfectly ok to have your opinions, and even admirable to have done your research on said opinions...but please remember they are YOURS, and it is ok if others do not agree with you.  

Furthermore, Mothers, can we please refrain from flagrantly flouting our opinions in open forums like facebook, twitter, and other social media sites? It's just...poor practice. We, as mommies, need as much encouragement and confidence as we can get...especially from one another. 
Caring for a HUMAN, nay, being solely responsible for a human, is hard hard work. It is beautiful and crippling all at the same time.

So please, have your opinions, give your perspectives, but please PLEASE do it respectfully.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." 1 Cor. 13:1

Snugs out.  


  1. Ug. Brie. SO GOOD.

    I know as a mom I've struggled with this. Especially early in my son's life. I felt like I had read enough books, done enough homework, to know how to raise the perfect child. And while, I may not have spread my self righteous mommy gospel, I certainly did think highly of myself and less of anyone who didn't do it like I did.

    And then, something happened. My son became a person. It was actually around the 6-8 month mark that I started to get really frustrated. Up until that point the research I had done/was doing was my solution to everything. But when my son's personality started to show up, it bucked the system.

    One day I was talking to Shawn about how frustrated I was that Spencer was occasionally throwing tantrums, or wasn't doing things "by the book". My husband looked to me and said, "You're treating our son like he's a blank slate. You act like if you just study enough you can write the story of who he is. That's not true. He has his own personality, and you, rather than embracing how amazing our son is, are fighting him on it."


    But it's true. I love what you said: Some things sound great in theory, and are terrible in practice.

    Once I stopped looking all around me to see how everyone else was raising their kids, and just started to raise mine, I started to have fun. Raising my son was no longer a task, but a joy.

    In our social media world, even Pinterest boards can elevate the standard of what "Mom" should look like. And as a believer, I feel I'm only responsible to one standard of what Mom should look like... and that's the standard that God alone holds me to.

    Thank you for this insight. It's good to be reminded of such sweet things. I'm praying you're enjoying your little River.

    1. Dear Heather,

      First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to even read my post! It is really humbling and encouraging when I receive feedback that what I am feeling or experiencing, resounds with others as well. I feel like this is a post that has been rumbling around inside of me for a few months now, and it started because I too realized that River was a wholly separate being from me. It is a whole new ball game when you actually become a parent and experience some of the insecurities you may have rolled your eyes at many a time before. When that began to happen, it was as if God held a big Brie sized mirror up to my face. The way my insecurities would set in, or my anger would flare when I would read very opinionated posts by others, quickly gave way to a sinking in my stomach when I realized that I have done that very same thing. So, I just felt like I wanted to draw other mother's attention to this issue and ask for a cease fire...or at least a "proceed with caution".

      You are a great mom Heather. That thought runs through my mind so often when I see your pictures and videos of Spencer. He just seems so happy and confident. Please, you and Shawn, be encouraged!