Dr. Mommie Guilt: We are doing much better than WE think we are
I hear it so often. We work long hours, sometimes have to miss school events, and sometimes miss dinners. It never feels like we are spending enough time with our children, and it makes us feel like we are bad moms. Guess what? That's just what WE think!
Here's what's so. We are providers. We provide so many things that don't get counted when it comes to the well-roundedness and well-being of our children. I talk to Physician Moms all the time about all the activities their kids are in… how they break their necks chauffeuring them from one place to the next and then how they come home, cook dinner, and do the whole "bath time bedtime routine like a solid mom. That's way more than I'm doing and I work from home now. Here's the point: It's not the quantity so much as the quality that matters in our times spent with the kids. What really matters is that we get daily meaningful interactions in with our kids. For example, I'm a single mom, and so it's just me and my 4 yo little man. He is in only one after-school activity (that's all I can manage right now), but every evening I sit down at the table with him (if not just for 15 minutes) and we talk. After that, we sit on the couch together and watch his favorite show (we affectionately call that cuddle time), then we make the very efficient bath time/bedtime routine fun. Quality. Now, he knows mommy has to work, mommy is a doctor that helps doctors, and that mommy has a daily work plan. He also knows that sometimes mommy has to travel, and sometimes mommy has late night "classes" (he calls them). He knows these things… and he understands it even at four. However, what I put in place is the daily conversation of love, affection, and that work for us is a necessity.
Now, this may all sound a little pie in the sky… maybe I'm delusional and have it good. However, I bet that most of you reading this article do at least one of these things with your kids. You spend more meaningful time than you think. Yes, your children may complain about you going to work, and if you listen closely you will hear the appreciation of when you ARE with them. Now, if you are reading this and you are saying to yourself, "I don't do any of these things and don't get hardly any time with my kids…" then it's time to make some changes.
But listen closely….It does NOT mean you are a bad mom at all. You are doing what you know to provide for the family, and even that can get appreciated by the kids. So while there is some work to do, you can stop beating up on yourself right now, then take the actions consistent with what you are committed to. One of those actions may be making requests at work. One of them may be getting a coach.
Whatever it is, it's just a matter of taking action.
Recognize the gift you are to your children (as of course, they are to you), and it's the quality of the time you spend more than the quantity. While quantity is good, what your kids will ultimately remember are those intimate moments, the ones fill with laughter, and the simple things you didn't think that mattered. So, it's okay for you to stop beating yourself up for the things you think you are not doing and refocus your energy on what you ARE doing or what there is to do next to shift toward making more of those sweet lasting moments and memories day by
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