How I Overcame My Mommy Guilt
I felt like a failure as a mom.
My 3-year-old daughter, Lace, had just started going to ballet and tap lessons. Class begins at 10AM every Friday, and it’s the one thing she looks forward to the most every single week.
The morning of our third week of lessons, I rolled over to look at my phone – and realized it was already 9:30 FREAKING AM. I yelled out Lord-knows-what, started flailing my legs loose from the covers, and probably tinkled myself a little bit out of sheer panic that my child was about to be late. LATE. The one thing I HATE being the most. I HATE LATE.
I swung her bedroom door open so fast that it banged against her dresser – so loud, that it scared her out of her sleep and made her cry. I dressed her in leotards and tights and fast-brushed her hair back into a slicked back bun – completely ignoring the fact that she had tears streaming down her face due to all of my overly-dramatic commotion.
I threw her in her car seat like a basketball in a hoop, buckled her in and backed out of our driveway. Unbeknownst to me, the city of Fort Worth decided to do major construction on our street that morning, and I backed out of our driveway into a pothole that – I swear to you – was at least 2 feet deep. Our Nissan Armada was stuck – and it wasn’t going anywhere, any time soon.
I got so frustrated that I hit the horn of my car SUPER hard for a good 3 seconds. The construction workers were able to help me get out of the hole after a few minutes of digging and prodding, but that left us with only 5 minutes on the clock to get to dance class in time.
I gunned it. Whipped through traffic and parked directly in front of the dance studio’s front door. We ran to the door with dance bag in hand, but I noticed her dance bag felt lighter than usual. I unzipped it in a panic – and my worst fear had come true. I forgot her ballet and tap shoes. What. In. The. Tutu. Is. Going. On.
I rolled my eyes so hard and said all kinds of not-nice-things to myself under my breath.
But when we tried opening the door, I realized the worst of them all. I had forgotten the key fob to get into the building. We were locked out.
It was then that I submitted to failure completely. I had failed this day. I had failed my daughter. I had failed as a mom.
I sunk with my back against the studio door, with my hands in my face. It was the first time I had actually taken a deep breath since waking up in such a panic. My mind then wandered through the events of the morning – how unnecessarily abrasive and loud I was, how moody and rushed I acted, how I must have set the worst example on the FREAKING planet to my sweet little ballerina.
But as I sat on the concrete floor in defeat, that tiny little dancer crawled into my lap. She just hugged me. Loved on me. And said not one word – just, loved.
I broke down in tears, as I squeezed her teeny little body and kissed her soft yet dainty little cheeks. I thought, “How could a little angel so perfect and sweet love a hot mess mom like me? How could someone so innocent and kind still want to hug a flaw-filled internal-cuss-box like me? How could she still want to embrace me after the stressful and loud and hectic morning I so ridiculously put her through?”
I then looked down, and realized that in my own purse, I had brought some of my oils with me. I grabbed them as quickly as I grabbed the keys to my car that morning – because I KNEW – those plants could help me. I KNEW they could give me the peace and grounding and serenity that I desperately needed. Sure enough, with a few deep inhales and drops applied all over my heart and wrists, my soul reached a place of calm. Of acceptance. Of simply wanting to soak in this moment with my baby girl, sitting and hugging on the front steps of her dance studio, realizing that being “on time” is never as important as “quality time” with her.
And look, I know you might think I’m weird when I say those oils helped me emotionally. Sure, you might think it’s a placebo affect – but I’m here to tell you, it’s SO not. Studies have shown how plants, from the very beginning of time, were designed to work perfectly with our bodies. And the molecular structure of essential oils can have a powerful effect on the limbic (emotional) part of the brain when inhaled and applied.
Oils like Lavender, Frankincense, Stress Away are my go-to’s for mommy guilt. For moments like those. For times when I cannot seem to forgive myself in my wretched motherly performance. I’ll inhale them directly from the bottle as deeply as I can, as well as apply them all over me and diffuse them in the house as often as possible.
And friends, they never fail me. I always feel better after using them. Something in me just, clicks – where I am able to snap out of any self-loathing or self-hatred that is trying to linger over me like a dark cloud.
Being a mom is hard. It will always be hard. We will screw up so much. We will fail a thousand times over. But then, we turn around and realize that we have babies who still love us – no matter what. And we even have plants and oils that can help us zen out enough to realize that hey, life isn’t always going to be perfect pirouettes and gorgeous gran jetés – and that’s okay.
There is no one more perfect to be your child’s mommy than you. There is no one more fitting to raise that baby than you. And hey – if there are oils we can grab in the meantime that will help us realize that we are enough, no matter how we feel – then oil me up, baby. Because this imperfect momma is going to need it.