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It doesn't take long to settle in on a good, strong guilt trip once you become a mom. You're responsible for a brand new, tiny human being who is entirely depending on you for everything—comfort, warmth, food and safety. That's a ton of responsibility and while it can be super overwhelming, it's a responsibility that we accept gladly.
However, it doesn't take much to feel like complete garbage when something happens to your kid, about your kid or around your kid that you feel like is your fault, and it's extremely easy to fall into the trap of self-deprecation and guilt. Mom guilt is a real thing, and it can be pretty fierce, but I'm here to tell you that you're not alone, you're not the only one who has screwed up and you're not the only one who thinks she's ruined her kid's life, but actually hasn't.
To make you feel better, here are some of the worst Mom Guilt moments I've experienced over four kids and 20 years of parenting.
1. The first time I took my first baby on an outing, I was holding him in my arms and walked his tiny cranium right into the edge of a hand dryer in a public bathroom.
2. I also accidentally shut his fingers in a window when he was a toddler.
3. I tripped my 6-year-old the other day in the kitchen. Didn't mean to, of course, and she wasn't mad. But I felt like a huge jerk.
4. I forgot to be outside at a specific time when my eldest child was to get off the preschool bus, and when I fetched him later, he asked why I forgot about him.
5. I've spaced off taking a kid to a practice.
But we're human, and we are not perfect—but we're definitely the perfect mom for our own band of kids.
6. When one of my children was bullied at school, I felt guilty that I sent him to school.
7. When he was a toddler and was talking about being a teenager, and I mentioned that some day he'd drive himself around, he burst into loud, noisy tears. Sorry, buddy.
8. I felt guilty the first time I let any of my kids watch a TV or other device as a source of entertainment.
9. I also felt really guilty the first time I left for any amount of time when my kids were babies.
10. I even felt guilty when I was readmitted to the hospital for two days after experiencing a complication after a routine surgery.
11. I felt guilty flying to New York with a close friend when one of my daughters was really young and I had to pump my milk while I was there. It was hard leaving her in the first place, and then I had to throw the milk away because I had no way to transport it home, and I felt bad about that.
12. When one of my sons was young, I went to London, England for a week with my mom. We had an awesome time, but he was so mad at me by the time I returned home he didn't really want anything to do with me for a week. Super guilt.
And really, I can go on and on and on. I could fill a book, and I'm sure you could too if you sat down and wrote down all the ways you felt like a crap mom at some point in your kid's life.
But you're not, and I wasn't, and I still am not. See, it's too easy to feel awful for taking care of yourself, or taking time for yourself, or being forgetful, or accidentally stepping on your child's foot. But we're human, and we are not perfect—but we're definitely the perfect mom for our own band of kids.
Guilt is a normal experience, but don't dwell and let it bog you down. You're a good mom, and tomorrow will be an amazing day. I just know it.