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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

i wonder...

does mommy guilt every go away? i mean really. even when your rational brain says there's nothing to feel guilty for (and your husband, family and friends all tell you the same thing), why is it that as a mom you somehow feel you should have been able to see into the future, to predict the outcome and somehow then go back and prevent that outcome from occuring? are we wired this way? are we taught this through generations of other mothers? are we all just gluttons for punishment? why do we beat ourselves up for things that are beyond our control and when you get right down to it not our fault? yet, despite these facts we feel we should have controlled the situation and therefore things are indeed our fault.

why we as women (and i say women here because i do not think i am the only one) do we so often struggle with our images of ourselves? most of us have husbands who tell us daily that they love us. we have friends and family that enjoy being with us and seek out our time, our advice, our sheer presence in their lives. yet, despite this we still secretly wonder if those things are really true. we wonder if we really do enough? if we've really measured up? and that's just it....measured up to what? to whose standards do we hold ourselves? is it really society's or our friend's or our family's or is it really our own ridiculously high standards? standards that we somehow set for ourselves that are so high they are barely visible, let alone obtainable.

why there are still times when i feel that being a stay-at-home mom is not enough? when people ask me what i want to do with my life i always reply that i am doing it. i am raising my children. i am home for them. yet, invariably comes the follow-up question of "yes, but what do you want to do with your life?" why does this question make me both defensive (i just told you!) and at the same time wonder if my "ideal job" is not really ideal enough? isn't raising my children the most important job on the planet? teaching them about the world around them, about God, about relationships, about values, about how they are important people who should be valued, loved, respected and cherished at any age, i could go on forever here, isn't that vital to who they will become? i can logically tell you that raising children is hands down the most important "job" so why do i still feel that this is not a high enough goal for my life when i'm questioned about it?

why if i can rationalize myself through so many of this things do i still wonder about them?

do other people wonder these things too?

6 comments:

gianna said...

if it makes you feel any better, i DON'T get to be at home and I am jealous of all my friends who do and I hate when people complain about how hard their life is being at home with the little ones. I like your perspective on how it is wonderful and a joy and a priviledge and how fulfilling it is. I want to tell those who complain about it, try staying at home with you little ones only one day a week and being frustrated by them and them you because you don't know each other and don't know how to relate.
You have the BEST job in the world. I'm glad you know it!

The Maines Family Blog said...

wow so many thoughts!
yes i think we will now and always have the mommy guilt and the questions if we are really doing it right? but i do believe that wether you have a job outside the house or not the the most important job we have by far is raising our chlidren!!!
i think most women struggle with the image of themselves and all the pressures around us!
the joys of being who we are!!! the pressure we put on ourselves yet the wonderful gifts and blessing we surround our self with each day!
loved this entry natalie....you have a wonderful way to write and express yourself!

Katherine said...

I think that every Mother has these thoughts. It's a wonderful and extremely challenging job. There are some days that I think life would be easier if I had a "real" job-but then I look at my girls and think that I wouldn't want it any other way. I am blessed to be able to stay home and need to appreciate that. It is hard to realize that maybe I have lost some pieces of the old me, but the pieces of the new me are even better.

Liz said...

Wow! What a thought-provoking and profound post! I think you completely hit the nail on the head! My mom stayed at home with us and she was so inspirational to me in doing so that I have always desired to be a mama more than anything! Truth be told, I am so relieved to not be teaching! The thing is that those of us who are able to stay home are so amazingly blessed! I know many a wonderful mom who are heartbroken because they have to work and they would rather be home. That being said, I think its really interesting(and awful) that people would question what you want to do with your life. What could be more important that shaping the life of a beautiful and impressionable child? Still, I can totally relate to everything that you so eloquently have written. I do think that many times people or our society in general have really written off a woman's call to stay at home with her children. I think part of the problem that in the age of women being more independent and progressive than ever, many assume that being a stay at home mom is from our grandmothers era when all women were expected to follow in this path. We have many more opportunities today, and yet many of us choose to stay home, not because we have to, but now because we want to! I think that questioning ourselves and whether we measure up is something every woman struggles with, whether she admits/realizes it or not. You are an amazing mom, Nat- I have often admired your interaction with your kiddos and I hope that I can do as good of a job with Isaac!

librariane said...

We were talking about this yesterday in women's Bible study--we're reading 'Shepherding a Child's Heart' and discussing it. Have you read that one? If not, I recommend it. I also would say read 'Lies Women Believe' and 'Temptations Women Face'. Even if you don't agree with everything the author says, it's nice to stop and think and gain some perspective.

Okay, the librarian will stop now. ;)

~love said...

oh, nat....yes, i wonder those things, too! mommy guilt was one of the biggest shockers for me in motherhood. it's so part of EVERYTHING!

you're doing amazingly...and yes, it IS the most important job on the planet. but, you knew that!! =)