DR. CELESTE CATANIA-OPRIS, PH.D., LMFT
As moms, we honestly try our best. There is no magical handbook on how to handle every situation with our children. There are times we are completely overwhelmed and genuinely confused about the next best step when it comes to our children.
We created these beautiful and intelligent beings. However, as they grow older, we start to wonder, “Am I a good mom and am I doing a good job?”
We torment ourselves with guilt and anxiety sometimes. Perhaps you experienced “Mom Guilt” if you didn’t breastfeed your child, or maybe you didn’t breastfeed as long as you originally wanted to. If you went back to work, then you could feel guilty not spending enough time with your kids or being there to witness each milestone.
Sometimes you may need some alone time as a mom. Simply closing the door to use the bathroom can make moms feel guilty, especially as you see those little fingers under the door! Perhaps you and your partner finally scheduled a time to go out without the kids. While you are there, all you can think about is how much your kids would have loved the dessert you are eating, and if they miss you as much as you are missing them.
One of the most difficult experiences is having to discipline or teach your kids what is right and what is wrong. We may wonder, “Did I come across too strongly?” or “Did I need to raise my voice like that?” We sit there and dwell about what we could have done differently. Sometimes we may cry in bed or while driving, and it happens more often than we would prefer.
When finances are an issue, we can feel guilty about being unable to buy our kids things they may want. Going to the store with our kids can be a struggle, especially when they say, “Mommy, I want this.” Obviously we don’t have to buy our kids everything they want, but it does make us feel guilty when we can’t. Even when buying ourselves something, the thought crosses our mind, “I could be using this money to buy them something they need.”
As women we tend to analyze what we do or what we say to our children. This just shows how much we care about the well-being and happiness of our kids. So if you need a moment alone to take a shower, you look the other way when your kid’s eyes are glued to a cellphone, or you really don’t have any energy left when they say, “Mommy watch me,” just remember that every person has a limit. We are only able to give so much and if we are on “empty” then there is nothing left to give. We deserve to give ourselves a break sometimes, and this includes replacing self-judgment with self-love. You are doing great mama! If you don’t believe me, just go ask your children how much they love you!
Celeste Catania-Opris, Ph.D., LMFT, offers therapeutic services to individuals, couples, and families. Visit www.TherapyForModernHousewives.com.