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4 Things I Refuse to Feel Guilty About Now That I'm a Mom

Photograph by Twenty20

Moms and guilt go hand-in-hand, don't they? Of course we know we're not supposed to be perfect and none of us believe the Perfect Mom exists, but still. Guilt.

It's there in the morning when we get up and are reminded that we forgot to fill out the field trip permission form. It's there at noon when the teacher texts us that our son doesn't have a jacket and it's 45 degrees outside. It's there at dinner time when at least one kid hates the meal we've prepared and we're convinced he's going to starve. And yep, it's still there at bedtime when we tuck them into bed and they ask us if we're mad because we have a frowny line on our forehead from stress.

I try very hard not to indulge in mom guilt, but I can't help it. I always want to be do better and be better. And yet there are some things I simply refuse to feel guilty about now that I'm a mom:

1. I won't feel guilty for taking a very long and very hot shower in a bathroom with a locked door.

For the first year of each of my sons' lives, I could barely squeeze in a five-minute suds and rinse shower with the bathroom door wide open and the baby monitor on maximum volume. That second year was even worse; they were fully mobile and I couldn't shower while they were awake. It had to be a very early morning or very late night shower, again as quick as possible to maintain a base level of cleanliness. Now that they're 4 and 5 years old, I can trust them not to kill each other or burn down the house while I stand under a steaming hot spray of water until I feel well and truly clean. And I refuse to feel guilty about it.

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2. I won't feel guilty for going on a date with my husband.

Our love is the reason we have these beautiful, glorious children—and I'd like to sustain that love through the tough years of parenting.

I admit it, I'm horrified when I hear a mom say she hasn't been out with her husband since the baby was born because she feels guilty for leaving the baby alone. (In one instance, the "baby" was 9 years old.) I get it, I totally do. We have no family locally and there are few people I trust with my children, but when I need some alone time with my husband, I take it. Dinner and movie may not seem like much, but after a long, long week of full-time work-at-home childcare, I need that adult time with my partner. We both do. Our love is the reason we have these beautiful, glorious children—and I'd like to sustain that love through the tough years of parenting.

3. I won't feel guilty for letting the housework wait.

Whether it's pushing my kids on the swing, reading a book while they watch a Disney movie or simply lingering over Sunday morning breakfast and enjoying the family camaraderie, I'm not going to sweat it if the house didn't get vacuumed or there's a laundry basket full of clothes waiting to be folded. As much as I would like to have a Pinterest-perfect house, I like the moments and memories with my family more. As long as the kitchen surfaces are wiped down and dishes loaded in the dishwasher at night, I can live with a little clutter and dust. I have a thing about making sure my bed is made every morning, but I'm working on it.

4. I won't feel guilty for the little white lies I tell my kids.

No, Toys R Us isn't open on the weekends. Yes, those are the chicken nuggets you love and not the healthier version. No, there aren't any carrots in the carrot cake. Yes, I am going to bed as soon as you fall asleep. We all swear we'll never lie to our children—and then we all do. But I realize the small fibs I tell my children are for the sake of family harmony—and my own sanity—and that outweighs any feeling of guilt. Besides, I'm convinced that my kids don't hear half the things I say to them anyway, so they probably didn't hear me say there was no chocolate in the house, right?

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At the end of the day, I know I'm being the best mom I can be. Whatever little indulgences I grant myself are more than made up for by the number of times I've had to referee a fight while I was sick with the flu or answer the important question of why there aren't more girl dogs on "Paw Patrol" while I was in the midst of going to the bathroom. Guilt is heavy, much like a sleeping preschooler. So I'm going to try to put it down any chance I get and give myself a break. How about you?

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