Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Remembering Childhood and Letting Go of the "Mom Guilt"

I was allowed to watch more than 30 minutes of television every day.

There were days that I played hours upon hours of Nintendo.

I was expected to eat what was presented to me and was not offered alternatives.

Sometimes we ate dinner on TV trays instead of around a dinner table so we could watch our favorite family sitcoms.

I was expected to entertain myself when my parents worked around the house or in the yard or if they just needed a break.

Expectations were set for my behavior and when I fell short, there were consequences.

Sometimes I was yelled at and sometimes I was spanked.

We did not make homemade organic finger paints or edible Play-Doh and not once did I wake up amidst an explosion of "fairy dust" when I lost a tooth.

I did not take bento boxes for school lunch and neither were my sandwiches/fruit/vegetables fashioned into tiny forest animals or cartoon characters.

Valentine's Day was not another Christmas and Easter did not mimic my birthday.

I have not spent one single day lamenting any of the above.

Because these are the things that made my childhood special...

I always got to lick the batter spoon (and sometimes the bowl!) when my Mom made a cake.

My favorite part of Christmas was decorating the tree with my family the day after Thanksgiving while listening to holiday music. "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) by Nat King Cole has always been one of my favorites.

When I was sick and unable to sleep at night, I would lay on the couch in the living room and watch television while my Mom ironed. I think that may be why I love the sound and smell of steam.

Getting to plan my birthday menu was a treat I looked forward to weeks in advance.

A note scribbled in ballpoint pen on a paper napkin was just the right pick-me-up halfway through a school day.

"Entertain yourselves" meant my sister and I got to use our imaginations to build a giant Barbie town for the afternoon.

Sometimes a family vacation meant going to an amusement park in a town an hour away and swimming in the hotel pool. 

Despite it's simplicy, I think I turned out...dare I say it...alright. And most importantly? I was happy

Whenever I find myself feeling guilty that I'm not a "Pinteresting" mom, or that I haven't logged enough hours crafting with my kids, or that perhaps I let them watch a little too much "Phineas and Ferb" this week, I give myself a mental slap upside the head. And then I exhale.

 Because in spite of all those things, so far I think I might be doing okay at this "Mom" gig. 

 And chance are...so are you.


  1. BRAVO!! Love love love this post!! Isn't it the truth? When we were little we made homemade shrinky dinks with the foam trays the hamburger meat had come on (washed, obviously) and watched MTV all day on Saturdays while waiting for SNL to come on.
    And I think you're a very Pinteresting mom!! Without the "P" maybe, but that's even better!!
    :) m.

  2. Well done!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  3. LOVE!!!! I was raised in a house similar to yours, and I like to think I turned out okay. And yet I spend a great deal of my day feeling guilty and like I'm not a good enough mom. Especially when I open up Pinterest and see what other moms do with their kids!

    Oh, and this line really spoke to me: "When I was sick and unable to sleep at night, I would lay on the couch in the living room and watch television while my Mom ironed. I think that may be why I love the sound and smell of steam." My irons everything - sheets, tea towels, table clothes...EVERYTHING. And there's something about the smell of steam that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. ;)

  4. Exactly! I feel like we had the same childhood. I think the only crafts my sister and I did were paint-by-number sets. Mom didn't like a mess. Though I do have to say helmets would've helped us since we liked to play chicken with our bikes.

  5. It's almost like my kids are being raised by your parents! Except the cake batter part. I don't share that shit.

  6. LOL @ Amy - I don't share that shit, either. You know, salmonella and stuff....

  7. I love this! Despite all the things I do to make traditions in my home it caused me to "remember" my childhood which I was happy in also. Things weren't perfect but they aren't the things that stand out now.

    A year ago I went through a divorce. Now doing it alone I've felt this abundance of guilt for things I was able to do with/for my son that I can not do with/for my daughter. It has been eating at me.

    Yesterday she was sick and I had her set up on the couch while I baked and did dishes. She knows the routine...barf bowl, wet cool washcloth, and whatever she wants to watch.

    I'm comforted that those things WILL indeed be things she "remembers".

    Well said! Thank you!


What's on your mind?