Over the weekend I initiated a discussion with my husband concerning the future of my blog. The ultimate question was whether to keep it or stop blogging altogether (I’ve only been at it for a month). My husband was caught off guard since I’m constantly blabbing about how much I’ve enjoyed developing the blog. Despite my enjoyment I’ve battled an incessant internal nagging to drop it. The time commitment although not cumbersome (because I truly enjoy it) has become a gigantic guilt-magnet. Since the birth of my son I’ve battled a pathological case of mom guilt. I am talking absurdities like pangs of guilt over putting him in a bassinet so I can shower. Family members have practically staged interventions over my reluctance to leave the house without him. If diminutive periods of time devoted to my daily upkeep trigger guilt, than I’m facing a tsunami when contemplating a daily time commitment for the blog.
It would feel liberating to shed my layer of perfectionism and become a once-a-month blogger, unfortunately a personality overhaul is outside the realm of possibility. For me “dabbling” in blogging evolved into more of a project; enlisting help from social media to promote it and committing to providing quality, timely material. In addition, improving and enhancing the space has ultimately developed into an obsession of its own. If I was a single twenty-year-old contemplating ways to pass my excessive amounts of free time this would hardly qualify as problematic. Conversely, I’m a stay-at-home mom/housewife who can barely find the time to ingest breakfast let alone explore the digital word of self-publishing and networking. I’ve previously managed to maintain the blog by eliciting help from my wonderfully supportive husband and self-entertaining five-month-old. My son bounces around in his activity center for twenty minutes while I finish up a post or my husband cleans the bathroom over the weekend after I spent Nate’s naptime typing instead of cleaning. This has been a seamless process except for one minor detail threatening to implode the entire system, monstrous levels of guilt.
My case of mom guilt (although partly innate) results from society’s depthless portrayal of women as selfless family devotees, a concept which has slowly leached its way into my system. The idea that all women feel validated and fulfilled by the relentless nurturing of others is objectionable. I love being a stay-at-home mom, I find it’s the most difficult and fulfilling job on my resume but it also leaves me with a desire for an adult hobby. I’m a multidimensional human being who doesn’t consider cooking for my family to be therapeutic. If your passion truly is DIY projects for the home then you’re one of those incredibly lucky people whose hobby supports their vocation. I require a creative outlet other than one involving the design of a playroom. This opposes society’s view that women should thrive on 24/7 nurturing and start focusing on themselves once their children start filling out college applications.
I nonchalantly read the chatter of an online group filled with mothers of young children. This weekend’s topic of discussion centered on character bashing Marissa Mayer, a female CEO, who plans on returning to work two weeks after the birth of her twins. If a male CEO took two weeks off people would be shocked by his devotion to family. I’m not advocating for fourteen day maternity leave but women should be able to chose how much time they take off without the repercussion of others judging their worth as a mother. Some highlights of the discussion included her skewed priorities and complete lack of a desire to bond with her children. Seriously?! No wonder I practically feel nauseated by guilt when I choose to focus on my own passion for a minuscule portion of the day. The happiness of women is hanging in the balance. Ironically, society demeans the stay-at-home mom while simultaneously calling career women not nurturing or egocentric. In order to thrive as mothers we need to be happy and well adjusted. For some women outside employment affords contentment while others relish in the role of stay-at-home mom. The commonality between all first-rate moms is not whether they spend time at an office or not, it’s self-fulfillment and happiness. A child can sense resentment and martyrdom both of which hinder their healthy development.
I credit this unoriginal group of mom bashing women for subsequently determining the fate of my blog. I will keep the blog. It’s not the time commitment required that’s unhealthy, it’s the amount of guilt it triggers. Women shouldn’t feel like bad moms for choosing outside employment, going on a trip sans children, or nurturing a regular hobby that involves spending time solo. Keeping the blog will facilitate an imperative exercise in tackling my mom guilt. I’ve heard statements encouraging women to embrace mom guilt as a positive experience highlighting how much we care about our children. My husband doesn’t feel intense guilt over his work-life balance, does that mean he doesn’t care? I contend it’s maladaptive and focused on “perfect”, overly altruistic mothering. Let’s give ourselves daily permission to put our needs first in pursuit of our own happiness. Additionally, let’s embrace the idea that great mothers come in all packages: career driven, stay-at-home, hiring a nanny, having a blog instead of a spotless home, or whatever deviation describes us.