Maybe I am the only one who struggles with this, maybe I am not I really don't know, but I have a lot of mommy guilt. When I found out I was pregnant in September of 2010, it was a complete surprise I mean after all I had just turned 24 was working on finishing my degree, unmarried, and wasn't planning on having kids until I was at least 28. But life is funny like that and sometimes throws you a curve ball, anyway while I was pregnant I really never thought of how I was going to feel once I gave birth and held that baby in my arms. My only worries were: how much labor and giving birth would hurt.
Fast forward to today, my daughter is now 15 months old and I am scared (please excuse my foul language) shitless. I often feel stress and anxiety about my parenting skills. Despite the immense experience I have with kids, from working a pre-school, and helping raise my niece and nephew, I still feel so in over my head. I find myself constantly asking myself, "Am I doing this right?" Should I give her that extra bottle, just because she says "Mama baba?" Should she even still be drinking out of a bottle after all she is 1 now? And she loves her pacifiers they make her so happy, I mean look at her:
She seems so happy, but everyone keeps telling me, "You need to try and take those things away, the longer you wait the harder it will be." Thanks for the unwanted reminder. They are comforting for her and they make her happy, plus if I take them away I feel as though she won't understand why I'm doing it. I know they have to go sometime but I don't feel like either of us are ready to part with them. So I start to feel guilty, like I am doing her an injustice, I'm enabling her. After all I'm the mother, not her. This feeling is very frustrating.
And then there's the bad mom thoughts, I get these thoughts a lot, "Am I a bad mother because I let her watch TV at 15 months old?" "Am I bad mother because I leave her alone for 5 minutes so I can try to make a phone call to her doctor?" I can see her from the table. When she bumps her head on the couch, "Was it my fault because I didn't get to her sooner?" "If I check my phone or browse my tablet does that mean I'm not giving her enough attention?" I do all these things, so I must be a bad mother... this is what I find myself saying to myself way too often.
When you become a parent all this unwanted parenting advice comes at you from every direction, even from people you don't even know. It's very difficult and I have to say it gets to me sometimes, I feel the guilt but I never really talk about it. I told my boyfriend how I felt yesterday for the first time, he tried to make me feel better and assured me I'm the perfect mother, however; it's nice to hear but I know I'm still going to have these fears and I must deal with the guilt. I had a very difficult time growing up and experienced many horrible things that no one should ever have to go through, sometimes I think those experiences are what are fueling these fears, I just don't want to screw her life up or have to experience anything that I did. It's a cold world out there.
I know she knows I love her and deep down I know I'm doing the best that I can. And I know she loves me too, but that doesn't make motherhood any easier, after all; she is only 1 right now. Some days are better than others but I guess I'm just going to keep on fighting through this. Perhaps I should seek therapy I don't know, but I hope one day this will guilt will pass and I can accept the fact that it's ok to make mistakes. For now I need to just keep reminding myself kids don't come with instruction manuals, you do the best you possibly can, and if you make a mistake you learn from it and keep going.