Today is the day, it’s the first day of “school” and after a six-month involuntary break, I am back to writing my book, Ditch the Mom Guilt! If you are reading this blog post in the future, then you should know I am writing this in 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated our world and upended the lives of so many Moms around the world, including me. I started this book in 2019 and had all kinds of momentum earlier this year and then…well…life happens. There is still not real clear path forward for my country with the pandemic at this time but I can’t let the “new normal” be an excuse for not following my dream of being an author, so keep reading below if you are curious how this book was born.
I have been a Mom for close to two-thirds of my life, having had my oldest son at the age of 17. I had two more biological kids by the time I was 30 and then met the man of my dreams in my mid-30s and he brought my two amazing bonus kids into my life. Yes, that makes me a Mom of five!!! Growing up as the oldest of four kids, I always swore I would never have four kids and then life said never say never, we raise your four and now you have five.
Being a Mom is the most rewarding and unappreciated job around. It is full of love, joy, happiness, heartache, frustration, helplessness and chaos, often all in the same day. There is no feeling in the world like the love, hugs and kisses from your babies, just like there is no feeling in the world like when you are constantly picking up toys, dishes, shoes, clothes, running the dishwasher, doing the laundry and all of the other things and NO ONE NOTICES AT ALL.
Raising my children has been the greatest joy and honor in my life but it was overshadowed by guilt. I felt guilty at every single turn, for everything I did or didn’t do, for the things I wanted to do and couldn’t, for the things I “should” be doing and didn’t(does anyone have baby books for all of their kids), for the things I “shouldn’t” do but did anyway (hello pacifiers until they were giant toddlers). I was stressed out, overwhelmed and made myself even more miserable by feeling guilty about everything.
And then my oldest son grew up. He is a a sailor in the US Navy, an outstanding husband, father and an all-around amazing human being. It was truly an incredibly healing experience for me when he became a father himself, to see the circle of life coming full circle. During that time, he and I had a conversation about what was the most stressful time in my life, when he and I were living alone in Houston when I was just out of college and he was in kindergarten. My memories of that time are full of stress, worry and guilt. I was 22 years old, alone in a big city with my child without knowing a soul and not a dime to my name. I felt so guilty that my son was living in apartment and not a nice big house with a yard like his school friends. I felt guilty that not only was his Mom single, I was the youngest Mom at all of the school functions by a mile. I felt guilty that I couldn’t give him more of myself as I was trying to adjust to working full time, being a grown up and a full time Mom at the same time.
There was so much guilt and shame swirling around me and when I talked to my son about that apartment he said “that is my favorite time in my childhood because I had you all to myself”. That single comment is what ultimately gave birth to this book. It made me realize that thru the eyes of my five year old, I was just his Mom, he didn’t care about all of the made up reasons I was making myself feel guilty about, he didn’t care that he was living in apartment or that his Mom was young, he just loved his Mom.
And that, my friends, is when I realized that I had to write a book to help all of the other Moms out there I KNOW are suffering from Mom guilt, torturing themselves, comparing themselves on social media, trying to live up to impossible standards set by society that expects women to have it all but also do it all.
Stay tuned for more updates on my book writing journey, until next time!