What’s one thing that you’re a stickler for…a hill you die on in parenting?
When I first became a parent, I set the bar pretty high.
I made home-cooked meals from scratch as often as possible. I even went through a phase where the only breads we ate were homemade from sourdough.
Limits on sugar and artificial ingredients.
Veggies at lunch and dinner. Corn and potatoes don’t count. Those are starches.
Water only between meals. No juice.
Only one hour of screen time for the kids per day.
I had myself convinced that this was the best life I could give my kids, and I was setting a good example. But was I?
The experts will also tell you that it’s okay to get away for a mom’s weekend or to date your husband regularly. But why did I feel so guilty about those things?
After some reflection, I realized why I felt guilt around practices that should be totally normal and acceptable for moms. My mom didn’t do those things. It seemed to me that my parents went on like one date night a year–probably their anniversary. And I never remember my mom not being there. Even when she went back to work when I was in middle school, she was only a block and half away from our house, was home by the time my little sister got home from school, and still had school holidays summers off with us. She was always there.
Eating out was also not a thing. Except for a monthly family night, she put dinner on the table every night come hell or high water.
Fast forward to my motherhood, and I felt guilty every time I left our kids with a babysitter or ordered takeout because I felt like I wasn’t living up to the example my mom set.
One day it hit me as I was internally berating myself for not meeting some arbitrary expectation I’d set for myself. What bar did I want to set for my kids?
Did I want my daughters to feel guilty for taking care of themselves once they became mothers?
Did I want my sons to hold an impossibly high bar for their wives?
Of course not!
So next time you feel guilty for not meeting your own arbitrary expectations for parenthood, ask yourself how you want your kids to view parenthood.Next time you feel guilty for not meeting your own arbitrary expectations for parenthood, ask yourself how you want your kids to view parenthood. Click To Tweet
Do you want them to feel permission to order take out sometimes, to eat off paper plates when they’re too tired to do dishes, to hire a cleaning service, to take care of their own mental health, to be human without feeling guilty?
Then you have to set the example!