Mom guilt comes on fast, like the torrents of a flash flood or the destruction of an undetected tornado. In its wake remains an overwhelming feeling of disappointment and regret.
But most of all, wonder.
Mom guilt comes with a heavy dose of incessant questioning that ponders if we’re doing enough, present enough, caring enough, good enough, wise enough and everything else by which a mother has ever been defined. When so much rides on us, it’s easy to feel like we are never enough in every facet of our lives.
But recently, I made a massive realization. I learned that happy children are not dependent on external factors like whether or not mom works, or even how much time she spends in the home. In fact, the value a mother brings to the family isn’t at all defined by her career choice. A child’s happiness is largely dependent on the degree to which parents are happy with their own lives. As quoted in this Time Magazine article:
How happy you are affects how happy and successful your kids are — dramatically.”
Some moms are going to experience more of the stressors that contribute to the feelings behind mom guilt when they work outside the home. Others may crave more intellectual adult interaction, but feel stuck when they’re at home with their kids and experience guilt around those feelings. And much like the perfect cocktail dress, you don’t always know the right fit until you try something on that doesn’t a few times. And there is no right fit for everyone.
In examining my own life and taking a deeper look at what makes me happy (and what doesn’t), I’ve made a concerted effort to let the things that cause me stress to roll off my back more and be more grateful for the joyful ones. Sure, I cannot cut out everything I don’t like to do or eliminate all unexpected stressors. But choosing on what to focus on highly impacts my own happiness and in turn, the happiness of my family.
Before, I may have felt selfish in trying to make myself happier. I may have believed that my efforts to instill happiness should have been dedicated to my children, instead. After all, I’d think. I’m not doing enough, so why in the world should I try to make myself happier.
Now, however, I realize that my own efforts to obtain more joy in turn brings equal joy to my two boys. And what better way to greet them every day than with a satisfied smile and the joyful cheer of knowing that the time spent away from one another was time spent full of enjoyment and happiness.
Question: Have you ever done something for yourself that ultimately brought more joy to your family? What types of changes did you make? You can leave a comment by clicking here.