We are in the midst of several activities colliding in our household. Fall activities are wrapping up and summer activities have already begun. Our family is being pulled in every which direction. These periods of time when our schedules peak, our activities overlap and the stress gears up. I’m bound to overlook, over schedule or forget something and then criticize myself for not being invincible. Then comes the mom guilt. It seems that no matter how hard I try there is never enough time.
This year my daughters are enrolled in two separate dance studios, each of them wanting to be in class with their friends/neighbors. That works for me because I know their friend’s moms and we can chit chat while they practice weekly. If you have a conflict or need help you have someone in the class who can ride share or clarify the details for the recital. If you’ve ever been a dance mom, you know come recital time, you will have some questions. What side is the bow supposed to go on? When will we get the tights? How heavy are we going with makeup on these five-year-olds? With Misha going to Kindergarten in the fall, it’s only going to get busier. Four family members with schedules that conflict.
Recitals are amongst us, and there are lots of details and instructions. The time commitment is for both the dancer and the parent. I missed parent night at Giana’s dance studio. In fact, I missed the entire email explaining the importance of attending parent night. The emails from the studio annoyingly won’t go into my inbox. I’ve called, tried to resolve it and then I gave up. Because I don’t have time. I’m launching a new business. Apparently, parent night was the opportunity for dancers to show the skills they built over the course of the session.
The Mom Hustle
Parent night fell on the day, I was working the vendor table for Swurly, at the Black Women’s Leadership Conference. By the time I retrieved my car from the parking ramp, packed up my products and drove from downtown, it was too late to make it. While rationally I know that I can’t be in two places at one time, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still have mom guilt. This is a real infliction, constantly feeling like no matter how hard I try I’m falling shor in someway, messing up or miscalculating something. The expectations that us moms place on ourselves can be brutal. I know I’m being harsh on myself, but every now and again it creeps up, the mom guilt.
Of Mess and Moxie
“Motherhood often feels like a game of guilt management. Sometimes the guilt is overwhelming and debilitating. Sometimes just a low simmer, but it always feels right there. There is never any shortage of fuel to feed the beast, so the whole mechanism is constantly nourished to administer shame and a general feeling of incompetency. Add our carefully curated social media world, which not only affects our sense of success and failure, but also furnishes our children with an unprecedented brand of expectations, and BOOM – we’re the generation that does more for our kids than ever in history, yet feels the guiltiest.
Virtually every one of my friends provides more than they had growing up, and still, the mantra we buy into is ‘not enough, not enough, not enough.’ Meanwhile, if we developed the chops to tune out the ordinary complaints of children, we’d see mostly happy kids, loved and nurtured, cared for and treasured.”
My website is finally finished for Swurly, the spring line is in stock and I had excellent sells at the BWLC event. Additionally, I’m maintaining my writing for the blog. I’m momming so hard, softball, swimming, and dance. Yet I feel the mom guilt more often! While I’m trying to run my house like a well-oiled machine, there are some areas where I have to let things go. I’m doing way less meal planning. I managed to not over schedule our social life the way I did last summer. But as Jen says in her book Of Mess and Moxie, my kid’s are happy, my husband is happy. So why am I constantly criticizing myself? Highlighting the things I cannot or did not do?
Shonda Rhimes on Mom Guilt
I love Shonda Rhimes, every writer needs a role model and she checks all the boxes for me. Her writing is brilliant. James and I had a standing date night on Thursdays. We watched every episode of Scandal, eating popcorn and drinking wine. I was seriously sad when the series ended. I saw a clip of Shonda’s commencement speech at Dartmouth and I felt so moved by her wise words:
“ As you try to figure out the impossible task of juggling work and family and you hear over and over and over again that you just need a lot of help or you just need to be organized or you just need to try just a little bit harder … as a very successful woman, a single mother of three, who constantly gets asked the question “How do you do it all?” For once I am going to answer that question with 100 percent honesty here for you now. Because it’s just us. Because it’s our fireside chat. Because somebody has to tell you the truth.
Shonda, how do you do it all?
The answer is this: I don’t.
Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life.
If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and story time at home. If I am at home sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes, I’m probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in. If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby’s first swim lesson.”
Giana made a nasty comment to me as we were rushing from one activity to the next, last week. I mentioned that I emailed the studio for written hair and makeup instructions since I missed the demo at parent night and hadn’t heard back from them. Giana said, “well if you had been at parent night, you would know.” Ouch! Instant mom guilt. I know that she was giving me this dig as a deflection from her own behavior but it still hurt to hear her say that. She is usually very supportive of my career and she loves being a central part of the Swurly team. Her and Misha counted all the inventory as I unpacked from the event.
Black Women’s Leadership Conference
The black women’s leadership conference was a great event to showcase my silk sleep caps and I am glad I attended. I had two days of successful sales. We also got free headshots. I had a constant flow of shoppers but my mom worked the table with me. I was able to sit in on one full break out session. More importantly, I conversed and connected with some driven women. There is something so powerful about being in a room full of women destined to grow, succeed and support one another! Find out more about this event and what the Progress Center for Black Women has to offer: Sabrina Madison (Heymiss Progress). Actually, I have the closest thing to work-life balance that I have ever been able to achieve. I know I will have moments of failure. Where I disappoint someone. I’m finding ways to forgive myself for that, to combat the mom guilt.