An acquaintance recently shared her plans of moving to a new city, and we talked briefly about how relocations affect our children. My family and I have made several moves over the years, so the physical process of actually moving doesn’t faze me anymore. It’s the mom guilt that gets me.
You know the drill: “Will my kids make friends?” “Will they like their new school?” “Will *I* like their new school?” “Will the city have things for us to do?” “Is the neighborhood as safe as Zillow makes it out to be?”
That’s the small part of my mom guilt. The bigger part is the worry that whatever decision we make now will negatively affect them 20 years from now. Yes, I know, worry doesn’t change anything, but it’s a mom’s right of passage to worry, right?
Children love playing opposites
I saw a Twitter post where a new mom laments following advice that isn’t evidence-based because she doesn’t want to cause undue harm to her newborn for years to come. Because I now have adult children, I know this would be an incredible feat to parent strictly based on what we’ve been told will happen or what the “norm” is.
None of my children react to any given situation in the same way. So reading that putting them in daycare at eight weeks instead of six weeks is better for their development does nothing for a mom of kids whose personalities buck the norm.
Mom guilt is most likely the basis of the mommy wars — “I wouldn’t dare let MY child do this; how could you let YOUR child do it?” And it starts as soon as our children are born: breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, anyone?
Mom guilt never goes away
But back to my mom guilt. My own guilt covers a whole range of issues — from relocation worries to educational stability worries to worrying about taking 30 minutes to myself to walk when the kids are at home.
How do we get past the feelings of guilt that our decisions or actions will affect our children? Want the truth? You can’t. So let’s embrace it and keep it moving because it’s what makes us *mom.*
A lesson from the birds
While out of town a few weeks ago, my children found a bird’s nest outside the hotel. Being the children they are, they started calling out to the baby birds they thought would be in the nest. Their grandmother told them if they kept at it, the momma bird was going to come after them. If we understand this about birds, surely we can embrace that same protectiveness within ourselves.
For those in the back, embrace your mom guilt. Your kids will be OK and so will you.