Mom Guilt - It's A Thing
I just spent 20 minutes going in and out of the nursery to get a screaming (not just crying, absolutely snotty, teary, red-faced SHRIEKING) baby to (finally) nap. The final time I had to lay him down, he stopped crying five seconds after I shut the door. I checked the Nest cam and he was just lying there, eyes open, staring at the ceiling. Maybe it's the mobile, I don't know. But he was staring.
And then he stared some more... it must have been at least 10 more minutes before he finally shut his eyes and I know this because the monitor's lullaby goes for about 15 minutes.
You're probably like, "That's great! He's finally asleep! Sucess!!" right? Yeah... part of me felt relieved because boy did he need this nap and he was putting up a helluva fight. But the other part of me, the one I wish would just shut the hell up already, is all, "Shit. He's quiet. He doesn't think I'm coming back. He's given up. He thinks I've abandoned him. I'm a shitty mom."
Say hello to Mom Guilt. We all have it, it hits us even before we give birth and manifests in questions like "But I want to still work and have a career does that mean I'm a bad mother?" or even as simple a thought as, "I know I'm going to suck as a mom."
Mom Guilt is real, and is, according to Pamela Druckerman who wrote Bringing Up Bebe (which I highly recommend), something American moms do well. So well, in fact, that it's something a lot of moms here thrive on; that guilt keeps us* going even though it's unhealthy and we need to stop. One thing I'd like to point out though, is that in my email (if you subscribe to it) I said it's a "wasted emotion." I take that back, it's not a total waste if we learn to take it and spin it to where it's more productive than destructive to ourselves.
*I'm lumping myself in with Americans even though I'm not technically one but I've lived here long enough that it's what I know
Anyway. Apparently in France, Mom Guilt does exist however French women go one step further and let that shit go. We stop short of "I'm not a good mother" and dwell on that whereas they think, "There is no such thing as a perfect mother, we're all doing the best we can for our children" and they go about their day on a more positive footing.
Scary Mommy has a post about "Embracing Mom Guilt" however the misleading title is clickbait, TL:DR, she's also saying the same as what the French moms say: Feel and acknowledge the guilt,, acknowledge that you're feeling it because you're a responsible mother, and then MOVE ON. You can read it here.
So I'm telling myself to breathe and be happy that my son is currently napping and we will all be better for it for the rest of today, and that I did the right thing by comforting him and getting him to nap. And I'm telling you that this is going to happen, and that you must try to always take that next step after the feeling of guilt because deep down we know we're doing our best, and we should never ever feel guilty for doing that.