I feel the need to validate the experience of all the mamas out there feeling intense amounts of Summer mom guilt.
I’m one of you. I am you.
Summer started two weeks ago and my kids have already spent eleventy billion hours on screens.
I am recovering from Covid, my husband had it before me, and my daughter had it before him. From DAY ONE of Summer break we’ve had someone in our house sick with this nasty virus.
My boys have stayed well (#blessed) but tbh, the amount of mom guilt I’ve felt as they’ve had to entertain themselves for literal hours of the day with screens instead of friends, or parents, or the pool we usually go to daily is ridiculous.
I’ve been laying in bed for five days with a raging fever feeling mom guilt, y’all.
Nope, I’m not new to parenting. I’m a veteran. I know how to have self love and give myself grace. I know how to talk myself down from spiraling into thoughts of “You’re a horrible mother.”
But, why – W H Y is mom guilt so fierce in my heart, mind, and soul?
Wasn’t I raised in the 80’s and 90’s when mom guilt didn’t seem to affect our parents at all?
I have tried for years to let the mom guilt go. I played Super Mario Bros. 3 in the 80’s for nearly one billion hours a day in the Summer with my BFF because we lived in TX and to be honest it was too damn hot to go outside, and we were too poor to have a pool or any friends with a pool. So, we played video games. For literal HOURS.
People had to come get us and make us eat.
So, I had a relaxed 80’s childhood where screen time was a free for all, and I still managed to turn out okay(ish).
So why is it that the mom guilt around screens (and literally everything else) is so strong in our generation of mothers?
We grew up watching Unsolved Mysteries at 9 years old even though it gave us crippling nighttime anxiety. Our parents did not even know what we were doing and when they did they were like, “meh. It’ll do them some good to hear about how that kid disappeared and no one saw them ever again. Maybe they’ll come home faster next time we whistle for them from the front porch at 10pm.”
The slip n slide was the big event for the day in the summers.
Kool-aid was our drug of choice with its full TWO cups of sugar to make a pitcher that we’d finish off in a day.
We spent the rest of the time watching highly-inappropriate-for-kids sitcoms like Night Court and Cheers. I was INVESTED in Sam and Diane’s relationship at 12 years old.
My house had a creek behind it that my sister and would spend HOURS pretending like we had been kidnapped by Satan Worshippers (hello Satanic Panic) and I recently mentioned this to my Dad who had no clue that we would jump our fence and play in the woods by water for hours at a time.
Y’all, I’m writing this post as much to myself as I am to all of you lovely parents.
I don’t know how the children of the 80’s and 90’s captured this incredible mom guilt (and dad guilt of course) that our parents did. not. have.
My own husband was just lamenting to me that one our children is too good at video games and has no life skills to speak of. He’s 10 y’all and my husband is worried about life skills. I guarantee you his parents never discussed his life skills at ten. SMH.
We all (myself included) need to calm down about the summer mom guilt.
I’m not saying do nothing with your kids and let them fry their brains on video games every day. I’m saying that you just need to get some perspective. You aren’t actually letting them fry their brains on video games every day. You’re doing FIIINE.
Other days you take them places, and make great meals, and do a craft, and help the baby learn motor skills and how to talk.
You already do more than most 80’s and 90’s parents who were struggling to just survive their own childhood trauma and be better than their parents were.
So, embrace the brain frying days of summer. School will be back in session soon enough. You’re doing a good job.
And most importantly, Remember this:
Your mom guilt deserves a much needed vacation, too.
That girl is too damn busy during the school year beating herself up about packing healthy lunches, and getting the 10 year old to read 20 minutes every day to have to suffer through mom guilt during the Summer too.
She deserves a damn break. So for the love of all the things we did during our 1980’s and 1990’s summers, give. her. a. break.