Four years ago, I was hesitant to admit my initial interest in cloth diapering. Mostly because of guilt. I wasn't sure if I would or could follow through on this idea. If no one knew about it, I could brush it off as nothing and carry on no questions asked. If anyone knew of this interest and I didn't follow through? Then I would feel guilty for not acting on my conviction.
I wish I could say I got over that, but I haven't completely. We committed to cloth diapering and used them almost exclusively for the first five months. Then, we moved and that transition put little guy in disposables for a few months. And back in crept the guilt.
Later, he started eating solids and teething and had various bouts of terrible poops and resulting rashes often leading to a little cloth hiatus. Hello, guilt.
He was over six months past his second birthday (when his older sister was potty-trained) and still flat out refused to cooperate on potty-training. I had already bleached the prefolds to put them away, and did so even though potty-training was not successful. He is now in disposable pull-ups fulltime during the day and disposable diapers fulltime at night... until further notice. Same with that potty-training post that has been on my list for over a year.
Pile on lots of guilt.
Of course, using disposables and delayed potty-training are not my only areas of mom guilt. This just happens to be a cloth diaper blog, so those are the examples I'm using. Each of these hang-ups in my confidence as a mom take a little pep-talking and refocusing to snap out of it and keep doing my best for my kids.
Four Mantras for Beating Mom Guilt
I've noticed guilty feelings generally result from two areas: 1) I have a high standard of good mothering that I am not meeting; and/or 2) I feel I am not meeting other's high standards of good mothering. Following are four mantras I have used to get me through these feelings of judgment from myself and others (whether real or perceived) and the resulting guilt.
What "they" think is none of my business.Sometimes the judgments of others are real; often they're made up. Either way, it's none of my business. I don't need to entertain or listen to these voices.
I am doing my best with what I'm given.I only have my unique brand of strengths and weaknesses and my kids' unique brand of sweetness and crazy. No one else can do what I do because they're not me and my kids aren't theirs.
My best will look different than other moms' best.What I consider essential as a mother will inevitably be different from what other mom's consider essential. Different doesn't mean better or worse, it just means different. No reason to judge or feel inferior when we're all just doing our best.
Good enough is always good enough.My standards tend to swing between perfectionism and giving up when perfection isn't possible. Even when we think we've obtained perfect, we will inevitably disappoint our kids in ways we didn't even realize. So I'd do well to accept my best effort as good enough.
They will survive and so will we.
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