Blame. What is it and why it is an issue among mothers?
Have you ever caught yourself with thoughts such as:
Breastfeeding exclusively. Supplement with formula. All natural, drug free vaginal birth. Epidural from the start. C-section and long recovery. Let baby cry it out. Co-sleep. Wean by six months. Do baby led weaning. Homemade baby food. All the Gerber food. Bottom line: comparing our circumstances with others.
All which leads to blame.
So many opinions on motherhood. So much pressure and questions if you’re doing it the right way or if in fact, you’re messing it all up. And then the guilt and blame of either not measuring up, being enough, or giving all to your child. But there’s also the flip side of: all I do is serve, give, and I don’t give back to myself.
Mothering is a real challenge. An emotional up and down ride of “am I really doing it right?” Honestly, you’re the only person who can answer that question. Because truth is, you’re the perfect mama for your children. And the way you mother/parent your children is YOUR decision and you’re doing the best for YOUR children.
Sure, it’s easier said than done to not let any pressure and judgement sneak in. But the pressure, expectations, and mother others want you to be is unrealistic. Okay, let’s say you prepare to have a vaginal, drug free birth. Half way through labor everything goes wrong and you’re now rushing in to have an emergency c-section.
Blame yourself #1.
Baby is now 3 months old and you realize he isn’t gaining weight, doesn’t sleep, and you’re sleep deprived and irritated, plus frustrated. So you supplement.
Blame yourself #2.
Because of the c-section (unplanned birth) and having to supplement with formula (another unplanned situation), you feel disconnected with baby and resentment with yourself.
Blame yourself #3.
You now make yourself believe that you’re no longer a good enough mom, a failure and totally incompatible for this whole motherhood game.
You see how easily it is to get involved in this cycle of blame, and self pity? In fact, mothers blame themselves more than anyone ever will. They blame themselves if their kid gets sick, if the house is a mess, if the baby isn’t gaining weight, if they had a horrible birth experience, and even for the bad moods in the house. Moms tend to wear the blame and just deal with it. But then things such as postpartum blues/depression creeps up and honestly, it gets ignored and viewed as “just another one of our problems”.
But I’m here to tell you that motherhood shouldn’t be a constant battle of “I couldn’t do this and so now it’s like this…” No. It’s not your fault that you can’t produce enough milk. It’s not your fault that you had to have a c-section. It’s not your fault that your three year old still poops in underwear and diaper (hello, talking to myself). And I know it’s so easy to throw all the blame on yourself, but honestly that gets you nowhere, except for stress, anxiety, and depression. Plus, it’ll drive you crazier.
Personally, I believe it has to do with the amount of love we have for these little humans we created. We also try to take the blame on ourselves before just accepting the issue. For instance, you have a shy child. But instead of letting it go, we tend to explain the shyness to others: “and this is my daughter, but she’s a little shy.” So what. Who cares.
Moms do. We love our children so much and want the absolute best for them. It comes with the territory of being a mom. And I consider it very normal. So when our child is shy, misbehaves, wild, or energetic, we tend to explain for them, partially because we want others to not think poorly of our parenting abilities and/or skills. It’s just true.
Truth is, we want to cover up our child’s shortcomings. But I’m here to tell you (possibly remind you) that your children’s faults are not always your fault. Sure, we take the blame because we want the best for our children and so we shame ourself. Plus there’s always pride and we want to see our children do well and when they act out in rebellion or disobedience, we immediately put ourselves in the way of blame and carry the burden for our children’s wrong doing.
And let me remind you that mercies are new every day. God’s mercies are new every day. He’s merciful with us over and over no matter how many times we mess up. But unfortunately as parents we often fly off the wall the second our two year old talks back, or when your teenager deliberately disobeys and rebels.
Mama give yourself grace. When you get embarrassed and ashamed because of something your child did or does, let go of trying to impress yourself through your child. Give yourself enough space for slow reactions. A graceful response requires a lot more attention, space, and patience. Be thoughtful about all your responses. Sure, it’s hard. Super hard. But prioritize this space so you’re not saying or doing things that imply your child’s actions are who he/she is.
Affirm on who your child is and not so much on what he is or isn’t doing. I understand the agony and trying over and over again, repeating yourself constantly, and literally hitting a wall with the opposite reaction. But when our children see us overreact to their disobedient and rebellious actions, it’s funny to them and they know what set’s us off or “triggers” us.
Seek God’s Approval
And circumstances that happened and lead to an unpredictable situation are not always your fault. Don’t put pressure on yourself just to prove that you’re a good parent. Don’t seek the approval and worth of others. Seek your heart and what are you still shameful about? Is it because you couldn’t breastfeed as long as you wanted? Or you had that unplanned c-section or your child had to go through speech therapy?
Your children are unfiltered. Learn to see through them and through yourself. You might learn a few important things. You don’t have to measure up to some sort of criteria. Mom shaming is so real and so wrong too! God’s grace is more than enough and you don’t have to do anything to earn it. He created your soul and you can find your identity in him and not in what you did or didn’t do as a mother.
You are the best mother for your children.