Mommy Guilt

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On occasion I get the Mommy guilts. It doesn’t happen too often — but every once in a while I feel like maybe I’m not doing so great with this mothering thing.  I think it’s a pretty common thing to second guess yourself as a parent and to feel guilty if you violate the mommy standard you hold yourself to. Chances are that standard is crazy high and nearly impossible for anyone to meet. But, it’s there. I know it stems from me wanting to do the very best I can with Gia and give her every opportunity possible. But, I’m only human and there are definitely days when I’m not at my best.

There are two things that are repeatedly on my “list”.

Number 1 on that list is tv. Gia loves TV and frankly, so do I. Before the holidays Gia was watching way more tv than I wanted her to watch. I was sick and it was just plain easier to turn on the tv than play a matching game with her or set her up with some paints. So, the tv stayed on a lot. When I felt bad about the fact that she spent too much time with the tv on, I’d rationalize it by telling myself that she’s very verbal, loves to be active, and loves to play outside. It’s not like she’s withdrawn and will only watch tv.

But still, deep down, I knew better. At 2, she should barely be watching any tv at all.  I also noticed that the more the tv was on, the less she truly watched it. Although it became just “background noise,” she wouldn’t let me turn it off. Yet, she wouldn’t really engage in any real playing while it was on either. And, she ate like crazy when the tv was on. She’d ask for snacks all day long.

In the grand scheme of things, I knew that Gia would be just fine. She’d grow up and learn to read and write and type on a computer–it’s not like tv was going to suck her brain right out of her head, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want to change our habits.

Let me stop here for a second and say that in no way am I judging how much other kids watch tv. If it works for your family, I’m all for it. My only point is that all the tv was not working for my family.

So, we started Project Play With All The Toys We Have. Now, when we come downstairs in the morning, we have breakfast and then we play in the playroom–and the tv stays completely off for hours.  The result has been awesome. Gia hasn’t missed all that tv one bit. She has rediscovered toys that she forgot she had and she’s becoming a lot better at independent play. I can set her up with a toy and she’ll amuse herself for 20-30 minutes. All she needs is occasional encouragement from me and she plays, plays, plays.

Gia playing with her new magnetic dress up Princess toy.

She still asks to watch Mickey or Doc (McStuffins) every once in a while, and of course we let her, but overall, we’re doing great.

The other thing I feel guilty about most often is what Gia is eating. I’m constantly worrying about her diet. Is she eating a wide enough variety of foods? Is she eating too much junk?  Like most kids she loves sweets. Back in November, while I was taking a shower, Gia found her Halloween candy, which I had high up on the hutch. Jon had moved the dining room chairs so our electrician could install our new chandelier and in doing so, he pushed the chairs right up against the hutch. Gia rarely gets into trouble when I shower, except that sometimes she does. That day I came downstairs and she’d eaten 1/2 a bag of skittles, 3 Hershey’s kisses, 1 peanut butter cup and a pack of smarties–all before 9 am! Whoops! I had to laugh…and snap this hilarious picture of her showing me the rest of the Skittles (which I promptly took away from her).

Luckily, Gia also loves every single fruit and vegetable known to man. She’s a great eater and, as she gets older, she’s willing to try so more things. She loves chicken, lentils, yogurt, natural applesauce and plenty of other nutritious foods. She also really enjoys chocolate, ice cream, cupcakes and cookies. But, this one’s actually an easy fix. Usually if she’s asking for junk, I can offer her blueberries or strawberries or one of those fruit pouches (all 3 of these things are her all-time faves) and that gets her mind off the junk. And then, on occasion, I give in and let her have a little treat. Life’s too short to eat fruit all the time.

 If you’re a mom, what do you feel guilty about?

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