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What’s our shared secret? I’ll never tell, but at least Madison can laugh at my many parenting fails.

I am going to deviate a bit from my normal subject as both of my children have been sick with Coxsackie going on two weeks now. That’s two weeks of sick kids and two weeks of being stuck in the house other than the occasional doctor’s appointment or emergency run to the pharmacy. If you are not familiar with Coxsackie, I have to assume one of two things: 1. You don’t have children or 2. You are in good standing with the Coxsackie gods. The first is no longer an option for me, but if you fall into the second category, please send me the Coxsackie gods’ number so that I may make amends for whatever I have done to displease them.

 

In between restless nights, bouts of vomiting, and clingy kids, I have had some time to think about my own take on and experience with the Mommy Wars after reading The Whatever Mom’s post. In my experience, the mommy wars are often within, a struggle with ourselves and what is reality versus what we wish the reality was. I have found that moms are mostly hard on themselves and supportive of each other. The one area that irks me comes from my projection of my own self doubt and guilt onto other’s good intentions in the stay at home mom versus the working mom battle.

 

I was once the working mom, but it was a tough gig and I couldn’t hang.  I always felt there was never enough: never enough me, never enough time, just never enough. My husband travels frequently for work and when not traveling is in the city leaving the day to day stuff to me. It was exhausting, and it was hard. I felt like a terrible teacher when I arrived and left work on time but always before my work was done just so I could get in some time with my daughter. I felt like a terrible mom waking my girl to rush her off to daycare for eight hours a day to just have enough energy to make dinner and put her to bed. I felt like a terrible wife because after my daughter went to bed, my evening was spent finishing my school work and prepping for the next day leaving little “us” time. I was never able to find that elusive balance.

 

I suppose I should be helping...

I suppose I should be helping…

So, now I’m a stay at home mom, and this is where the mommy wars plays a part in my life. Some working moms I have encountered have commented on how I’m “living the dream” and express how jealous they are that I get to stay home. Even though I know these comments are meant to be positive and are well-intended, they weigh on me terribly because the truth is: I couldn’t hang in the working world but also struggle with being a stay at home mom. I still lose my patience, my house is still a mess, and I still frequently burn dinner. The only difference is the amount of guilt has multiplied since I should in theory have enough time to improve in at least one of these core areas. These comments isolate me in my guilt of still not being enough.  How could I possibly share my trials or my triumphs now without sounding either whiny or boastful? Truthfully, I am aware and appreciative that I have the choice, that I get to spend more time with my children but some days it’s just hard.

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Plastic wrap and a walker: epic parenting fail. But, look how happy she is!

For me, the mommy wars are within and come from the guilt and fear of not being good enough as the parenting fails accumulate.  I see the mom dressed for work, picking up a coffee on her way by herself as I juggle two kids while in my sweatpants.  I don’t think that mom is a bad mom for going to work, I’m secretly envious of her. I see that mom in the grocery store filling up her cart with organic kale while her toddler quietly snacks on edamame. I don’t hate that mom either; but I do hate myself a little as I immediately scan my own cart complete with a sticky lollipop sucking yet still loud toddler and that bag of chips I just threw in there. And the mommy wars against myself rages on.

It’s a constant struggle to find balance and what works today may not work tomorrow. This can leave my head spinning and my heart heavy. So, thanks to the Whatever Mom, I plan to cut myself some slack, to compare myself to other moms less, to be truthful in my both my success and failure, and to just be the best mom I know how to be for my kids.  Hopefully that will be enough.

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