MOM GUILT. The struggle is real.Being a mother comes with experiences, smells and feelings that you just can’t understand unless you have experienced it. This includes Mom guilt. No matter what type of mother you are (animal,human, godmother) the guilt you feel is a real thing. May not be rational but it’s real. It’s like the unspoken thing that connects all mothers, that is rarely spoken about. The things you find yourself doing for your family out of guilt, are things you would of never imagined yourself doing. I suppose thats what makes life interesting, right ?
From my earliest memories I knew I was different from other girls. When all my friends were dreaming about growing up and having babies, I was imagining myself doing anything but. Not that I thought that there was anything wrong with having babies, I love babies – they’re cute! They gurgle, they coo, they learn SO fast which is such a delight to watch, and they smell great (most of the time!). Babies are great – it’s when they start talking that I’m not quite sure what to do with them.
Despite the assurances of everyone around me that one day I would see the light, and my biological clock would start ticking – it really never did. But when I was about 28, suddenly I felt the urge to get a dog – I’ve heard they’re the gateway though, so I was wary – would this change me? Would my biological clock start ticking all of a sudden? Was I 10 months away from having a baby?
Well, fun fact for everyone – it did not jump-start my clock, but it did jumpstart my need to continue to add more dogs to our family. First there was Talyn – my oldest, then there was Luna (she’s a bit off), two huskies to make our home complete.
Did I say complete? Well, maybe not so much. I decided I wanted a 3rd, and so after days and days of me shoving pictures of a strange looking little husky in Alex’s face, he finally succumbed, and we got our 3rd dog, Ghost.
A few years passed, and then something interesting happened. I started to feel mom guilt.
I was at work all day, and I had a dog walker walking them. What kind of a mother was I? Why did I even get dogs if someone else was going to walk them? Are they happy? Do they like the food I get them? If not, no big deal, I’ll eat Taco Bell so they can have gourmet dog food that comes from a refrigerator. (I’m kidding I don’t eat Taco Bell, but I totally would!)
I had heard of this phenomenon, mom guilt. All the moms of actual children I knew struggle with it every single day. There’s always a reason to feel guilty. And as I shared this with my sister, she warned me – she told me it would never go away. That as long as I lived I would always wonder if I was doing a good job, so I really should just get used to it.
I’m a brat, so I refused, and instead decided to quit my job, go into business for myself and work from home. What could go wrong?
I could be around for my puppies, spend all day with them, we would be like the June and Ward Cleaver with dogs. It would be glorious. I imagined me working at my computer with my beloved T-dogg at my feet (especially in the winter time because huskies are big, fluffy and warm), and I’d get so much work done because the euphoria of love and belonging would be all around me. As a bonus, that dog mom guilt I struggle with? Yeah that would be totes gone.
Oh those best laid plans….. I know, those of you who are mothers read that and thought, “Oh wow Minessa, you’re adorable that you thought that. How did that work out for you?”
Well, I’ll tell you. I’m not sorry I did it, but I was completely wrong. I did quit my job, and I am around all the time – but as you suspected, I still have a lifetime subscription to the mom guilt club. So what I thought was going to happen – did not. But I did learn a whole lot of other things like:
- When you work from home, and you have three dogs you’re literally never alone. I have dogs up my ass when I eat, when I go to the bathroom, when I sleep, when I go get the mail, when I’m vacuuming (it’s important that they tell me that the vacuum is dangerous and that they are not happy it’s here).
- 3 Huskies are capable of generating a full pound of fluff a week. I’m serious! It’s totally a known fact. I mean – no one has ever researched it or anything, but if you own a husky, you know it’s true. That part I knew – the part I didn’t know was that when you’re surrounded by little balls of fluff flying by you every day, you start to go a little crazy and vacuuming becomes less of a household chore, and more of a mission.
- Oh and also, why is the fluff like Velcro? It sticks everywhere, gets on everything, its in your food, your coffee, flies into your mouth while you’re brushing your teeth, gets stuck in your armpit, like seriously? If any of you are scientists, feel free to create a fluff repellant. I’ll forgo all royalties for the idea – just send me one for free in the mail.
- Sometimes – you’re gonna step in dog shit and get peed on. It’s just a fact of life. I’m just gonna come right out and say it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a puppy mom or a baby mom – you had best get real comfortable with having every type of bodily fluid and function spewed upon you, sometimes at 3AM when you’re just trying to get up to pee yourself. If you aren’t comfortable with it – trust me, one day you will be. I mean – you don’t have to like it, but you do need to accept that it’s just part of #momlife.
- Nothing is safe from being tested by the jaws of your little one. If it can be put in the mouth, it will be. Babies have no teeth so they just kinda gnaw at shit (till they get teeth, but that’s another blog post), but puppies and dogs? Well lets just say that until their prey is reduced to a pile of plastic/wood/rubber/fluff fragments – they are not satisfied.
- You forget what it’s like to talk to actual grown up human beings. Think I’m joking? Just go visit one of your SAHM friends if you aren’t one, and if you are, then you know I’m not kidding. You can have full blown conversations with your dog, and – if you do this long enough, your dogs start talking back.
- Also, suddenly you have a team of employees to help you. Did I say team of employees? I’m sorry, what I meant to say was, you have a board that consists of your pets, and every idea you have you run by them, and wait patiently for their feedback. Sometimes you get it, and sometimes you get a side-eye that basically says, “I legitimately could not possibly care less about what you just said, but if you throw a bully stick into the mix, I can be persuaded to.”
- Laundry is never safe. You had best fold that shit up and put it away the second it comes out of that dryer, because if you don’t, there’s a pack of four legged furries just waiting to turn it into their warm, amazing smelling, comfort zone. And once they claim it – well – it’s probably just easier for you to go out and buy new clothes than it is to try to grab underwear from that pile.
- Speaking of underwear. I’m gonna come right out and say it cause no one talks about this shit ever. But my dogs are obsessed with my underwear. They go through phases, but Ghost will go into my closet, and pull out my underwear and go take it to some sort of hidden nest he has in the house. I have no idea where it is, but it’s an undies black hole. So I have a standing subscription order to replace all those I have lost. RIP Vicky’s. I simply can’t afford to buy any more of your panties only to lose them to the abyss a few days later.
All these things are true. We know they are. If you’re a dog mom you probably identified with half of these (I’m being conservative, I know you identified with more). But ALL of these things, no matter how snarky or dismissive they are, come from a place of love. I love my dogs so much, that I’ll step in poop and clean it up, I’ll buy new underwear if I have to, I’ll live with an ottoman that basically looks like a beaver had a long, romantic, dangerous liaison with it, I’ll talk to no one but them, and I’ll love it because they’re my best friends and as much as I love them unconditionally, they love me.
So for all you moms out there who make off-colour jokes about #momlife (#dogmomlife) I want to tell you – the exact same things that make you wonder if you’re a good mom, a good person, those are the same things that make you a good mom and a good person. But let’s be real – stepping in shit sucks, and when you do – you simply have to get on social media or on the phone with your friends and let it out. But the gift of creating a family of love and compassion, that’s the most anyone can hope for. So all joking aside, take a moment, and pat yourself on the back for trying hard.
Go on a scavenger hunt to find your underwear.
Minessa Konecky, founder of Direct to Success, is a social media business coach that has trained and empowered thousands of entrepreneurs to be successful in their small businesses. She has developed multiple courses on advanced social media practices, and inspires leaders while speaking at corporate conventions. She has been involved in numerous projects working to bridge the gap between technology, the web, and social media.Find out more about her services here:www.directtosuccess.net
She has a degree in Social (New) Media from Emerson College, and currently resides in Franklin MA with her husband and three dogs.