Mommy guilt: (1) the overwhelming feeling of not doing enough for your child (2) the feeling you’re abandoning your child when you want to pursue other pleasures where they aren’t the focal point
This is my own definition of mommy guilt, but I sure others can relate. As mothers, we often forget who we were before motherhood. While my daughter, Zion, has been the catalyst for change in my life, I had to remember who I was while letting the old version of myself die. Childless Kierra didn’t love who I was, she wasn’t confident, and she was lost.
Through life and hard lessons, I learned I have to give myself self-compassion and be kinder to myself, but sometimes the truth of my power isn’t wrapped in a pretty bow. I’m still struggling with this, but now I have added mommy guilt on top of it. Parenting while coping with depression and anxiety is one of the most difficult battles I have faced which leads to more guilt. Many days I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to eat, and sleeping is the only activity that feels good, but I do what I need to for Zion.
I haven’t been away from my daughter for more than a couple hours and some days I feel I have failed her in more ways than once, but she’s only two-years-old. She doesn’t see me in the way I see myself because when I look in the mirror, I see my shortcomings and everything that I “should” be doing.
When she runs up to me yelling, “Mommy!” when I pick her up from school, I am reminded that I am doing the best I can. She runs to me and nuzzles her head into mine then curls up in my arms because she feels loved and protected. Motherhood doesn’t come with an instruction manual.
I ultimately have to make the tough decisions on my own and not let the mommy guilt influence me. I work to surround her around strong women and provide her a solid foundation academically, spiritually, and emotionally, but when it comes to realizing my own power, I allow myself to get in my own way.
There are many ways you can deal with reconciling if you’re “doing enough” but more than likely if you’re heart is in the right place and you’re doing everything in your power to make sure your child has the best life possible, you’re doing just fine. The key is self-compassion, self-care, self-love, and I will always say therapy.
Some ways I manage mommy guilt:
1. Plan a trip
ex: Summer 2019 I am going on a girls trip to Cuba. This will be the first trip without Zion. I know I will miss her, but some time away will be a reminder of who I am outside of motherhood.
2. Find a hobby
ex: I workout, joined volunteer organizations, and am working on my passion
project. Hobbies outside of work and home can provide an outlet.
3. Have an activity that is only for you and your child
ex: Zion and I have our own activities we enjoy going, such as, taking walks, putting her in dance/art classes, and wash day. Building our bond is one of the most important tasks you can do with your child
As mothers, we must honor ourselves in the midst of motherhood. Especially as a single mother, I must own my truth. Which means honoring my past and learning from its lessons, and not fearing what others may think. Because the only voice that matters is my own and my daughter’s.
Outside opinions can lead to comparison and amplify mommy guilt. Even though she’s a toddler, I encourage open conversation so I can better understand her needs. This is a practice I am incorporating so I can teach her that she shouldn’t be afraid to speak up, regardless of who they are. If I am not raising a happy and whole daughter, to me, that will be the ultimate form of mommy guilt. Regret and not living the best lives we can stops with me so my daughter Zion can fly. Audre Lorde said it best,
“My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.” – Sister Outsider.
We must speak up and live out loud, speaking kindly to yourself, and finding compassion for ourselves.
This was a featured post written by mama and blogger, Kierra Gray.
My passion for inspiring other women along their journey in life sparked the need to start this platform. I want other women to unapologetically live life on their own terms.
I want to inspire the next generation of women to live without shame and wholeheartedly chase after their dreams. I’m raising my daughter, Zion to know her strength as a young girl of color. I’m learning every day that this life is beautiful and worth fighting for.
I’m a graduate of the University of Michigan and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.