Mom guilt. We all have it. It’s always there! Working too much outside the home? We feel horrible we aren’t spending more time with our partner and kids. Working too much inside the home? We feel horrible that we aren’t contributing more financially to our family. House too clean? We feel horrible we are devoting too much time to cleaning rather than playing with our kids. House too dirty? We feel horrible that we are instilling bad habits in our kiddos when it comes to chores.
My kids are now (almost) 6, 4.5 and (almost) 3. I’ve literally felt guilty about almost every detail of parenting since my oldest was a newborn. From leaving her with my husband while I run to the grocery store by myself, to signing my baby up for pre-school, I’ve experienced plenty of irrational and misplaced guilt. However, my latest batch of mom guilt has snuck up on me in a way that I wasn’t expecting!
My 6-year-old daughter is going to be an athlete. I can just tell. She’s strong, she’s fast, and she’s got incredible body awareness for her age. She is competitive. She’s a great listener and she is able to immediately put to action suggestions from coaches. She’s taken swim lessons. She’s done ballet and tap. We ride bikes. She’s in a basketball league. She’s been playing golf and tennis since she before she turned 4.
So, why do I feel suddenly so guilty? Well, aside from the fact that I carry the guilt that her little sisters get drug along everywhere, I see other kids her age playing different sports! Soccer! Running! Lacrosse! Gymnastics! Piano lessons! Should I have signed my daughter up for these other activities and extracurriculars?
What if she is the next Mia Hamm, but I missed the ideal window for youth soccer? What if she is the next Beethoven and I didn’t nourish her musical talents young enough? Can she run like Usain Bolt and I didn’t do a better job of feeding that talent?
My child is smart and kind and happy and successful at school. She’s successful at every sport she tries. Her schedule is jam-packed full of developmental extracurriculars. So, why do I feel guilty my child could potentially be missing out on her chance for (even more) greatness? Why does motherhood turn us into self-conscious, fumbling nincompoops? I’m confident in my parenting choices and my parenting abilities and yet…here I am, allowing guilt to creep in yet again.