There is no way to avoid her. She comes for you whenever you make that “selfish” choice and you put your needs first — “The Mom Guilt Monster.” That inner she-devil whispers to you: “Wow, your poor children have a mother that would do this. How could you?”
I had what I hoped to be my last run-in for a long while with her on Halloween. Unfortunately — as a migraine sufferer — I don’t get to pick when my head is going to feel like it’s about to pop. My body does that and it doesn’t really care what’s on the calendar. The Mom Guilt Monster was there telling me my children would have the worst Halloween experience if I didn’t just suck it up.
So, I tried. I tried to push through and pray that the meds would work. I tried to relax and beg for the herd of elephants in my head to stop their parade.
I tried.
An hour before we were supposed to leave, I had a moment of clarity and asked myself: “Why?” Why was it so important that I be there? Would it really be the worst thing to show my children that everyone — even mom — needs to be okay with giving in to their body’s request for rest?
It’s important for me to be open with my children about what’s going on outside of their own little world. I want them to know that everything isn’t always perfect and that sometimes things don’t work out as we want them to and we need to just go with the flow.
So, I asked them very directly, “Would you be sad if I didn’t go out with you guys?”
And my boys replied with “No, you should sleep, mom.”
My eldest went even further to say, “Mom, even if we don’t go at all, that’s ok. We can skip it.” It was one of those “I’m doing it! I am raising kind human beings” moments that make a mama want to cry.
The little one was a little less understanding. He’s a nice kid but he still wanted to get his Trick or Treat on. His response: “But dad is fine, right?”
And so, my three boys went without me and had a wonderful time. It wasn’t the worst Halloween ever. It was the Halloween that mom told the Guilt Monster to get lost.