I originally wrote this essay for a project that was canceled, and I didn't want to just file it away - so here you go!
This is supposed to be a more guilt-free way of parenting… counting to three before giving a time out. No yelling. No arguing. He knows what happens at three, and he has until three to calm down. The rules are simple.
And, today, all of this is over something as simple as getting dressed in the morning. That's our latest problem. In fact, recently I brought my son to daycare wearing only a ski hat, tee shirt, and underwear on school picture day, because he refused to put on clothes. It was the most guilt-free way to go, except of course, until I arrived at school and he STILL refused to wear clothes. The other moms looked at me kind of funny and the pictures were never taken. So, now I have school pictures of one kid, but not the other…
"…two and a half… Two and three-quarters…."
"Come on honey, if mommy says three, you are getting a time out. You don't want a time out, do you? You understand, right?
Okay, I'll start again…. One, two."
No one told me about the type of guilt I'd experience when I became a mom, or how long it would take me to realize how there's almost nothing I can do to avoid the guilt. Do you know how many kinds of mom guilt exist in the world? It starts from the day you get pregnant, and goes away … hmmm, maybe it never goes away.
While I've experienced just about every kind of mom guilt imaginable, these are my personal favorites. Some of these guilt trips are self-inflicted, but others involve in-laws, random strangers, co-workers, and spouses.
"Did you realize you are pregnant?" guilt
Everyone else in the world is a bigger expert at your pregnancy than you are. Didn't you know that? You are bigger than a whale, can't tie your own shoes, and decide to maybe, just maybe treat yourself to some polished nails. Then your male co-worker says to you "You paint your nails while pregnant? I never let my wife wear nail polish when pregnant".
Great, I've hurt my unborn fetus with nail polish…
"Stop stressing, you're stressing out your baby" guilt
You are trying to breastfeed, because of course we all know that's best for baby. Your baby, because she's premature, is having a hard time with the sucking reflex. So you stress out. To which the "helpful" maternity nurse says, "Stop stressing out, you are stressing out your baby". Which, by the way, causes more stress…
"The baby products you bought are now dangerous" guilt
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