photos by RaeTay Photography
I once saw an image floating around Pinterest that read, "No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of worrying can change the future". Coming from a long line of worriers (yes Mom and Mamaw, I'm looking at y'all), worrying has always come naturally for me. And of course it's only multiplied since becoming a mom. Guilt, however, is something I'm not quite as used to. Of course I tormented my little brother at times growing up, which I still feel guilty about to this day. Like the time my older brother and I gave him a plate full of burning hot jalapeño peppers and told him they were "Mexican pickles". Four year old Ryan believed us and was soon running to my parents with his mouth on fire and tears running down his face- I've never lived that one down.
The older I get, though, the more prevalent of a role guilt seems to play in my life. It's as if society wants us to believe that no matter what we do or how well we do it, it's never good enough. And we should feel guilty about our lack of skill, to boot. "Mom Guilt" is a real thing beyond what I ever could have imagined- I had no clue going into motherhood the expectations that come along with raising a child, the majority of those expectations being self-inflicted. Countless Emergency Room trips have led to endless hours of feeling like "If I'd only been watching him better I could have prevented the fall" and beating myself up over any way I could've stopped each accident. Even though Bear is fine (and clearly all boy), I still feel guilty for being a part of any pain he ever experiences.
The struggle is almost just as real with work. One of my sweet friends recently loaned me a couple of books that I've been dying to read- I've always been a big book worm but haven't read as much lately since styling and blogging take up most of my "free time". But several nights ago, I put the laptop down and started The Kite Runner, an incredibly well-written novel that I normally would've devoured in two days flat. But the other night as I started chapter three, I was surprised to feel a wave of guilt come over me. See what many people may not realize about blogging is that it's a 24/7 job that never stops. Bloggers are expected to be interacting on social media around the clock, utilizing any free second we have to respond to comments and post new material. And as a Mom, that's just not possible. Bear gets my undivided attention the majority of the day, and my few hours of adult-time at night are spent trying to catch up on all the Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook interaction I missed all day (Lord knows I'm not gonna actually get up early to do those things). So me taking thirty minutes of that catch-up time to read a book felt like I was slacking on the job, or even doing something I shouldn't have been doing. Which I realize, is ridiculous.
And that's why I'm finishing The Kite Runner this week. And I'm making a conscious effort to let go of any past Mom Guilt I may be holding on to. I know I can't prevent myself from feeling guilty at times, as it's a natural emotion that we all experience in this life. But I'm talking about unnecessary guilt- the kind that creeps in and ruins your day when it's not even justified. I'm never going to be a perfect Mom, or blogger, or anything else for that matter. But you know what? I'm doing my very best, and that's something I should be proud of. The next time I open a book when I should be working or Bear scrapes a knee on my watch, I'm going to remind myself that I'm only human. I'll continue to put my faith in Christ and find comfort in knowing that I serve an almighty God who shows us the ultimate love and forgiveness. Even for Mexican pickle pranks.