On the very high heels of Chrissy Teigen’s viral social media sensation about her ‘new mom’s night out’ this weekend, parents online are simultaneously reeling and praising her choice. Perhaps the most shocking thing of all, separate from public opinion, is Teigen’s seemingly nonexistent feelings of guilt or fear of what others might think of her choice. Teigen made no apologies for her choice, so why do some of the rest of us feel apologetic and guilty for some our parenting choices and circumstances?
A few key things for parents stop feeling guilty for?
1) Not breastfeeding. Nursing is a hot topic for so many parents and is frequently attached to feelings of inadequacy, shame and guilt for new mothers for a variety of reasons. Cheryl Petran, CEO and owner of The Pump Station & Nurtury, Santa Monica’s premiere support resource for new and nursing mothers, offers the following: “Feeling guilt? Absolutely not. There should be no judgment there, whether she is unable to or simply making the choice not to breastfeed. No mother should be harboring any feelings of guilt, it serves no purpose for the mother or the child in terms of health, well-being and attachment. The most important factor is that the mother has complete faith in herself that she will be able to provide for her new baby, and that she is making the best choice for her and her child whether that be breastfeeding, bottle feeding or some combination of the two. No judgment here.”
2) Being working or single parent. This is a circumstance, and circumstances don’t define anyone as a parent, but how parents deal with circumstances do define the family chemistry. Don’t feel like you have quality time with kids as working or single parent? Don’t discount the in-between time as quality time with your child (10 minutes in the car, while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, preparing dinner). Los Angeles-based author of the soon-to-be release book “The Pie Life: A Guilt Free Recipe for Success & Satisfaction” Samantha Ettus points out: “Early on, I realized that my kids loved going to the supermarket with me, that filling the tank is still time with a parent and so is a trip to the tailor. Of course, you don’t want to spend all of your time together doing errands, but time with kids isn’t all about shooting hoops and heading to the ice cream store. It is about living life together.”
3) Saying “No.” If you can’t show up at the school fundraiser, if you can’t bring cookies that day, if you can’t pick up your best friend’s child across town, then graciously say no. Should life and family make it difficult for you to decline an invitation, an offer or a favor, simply believe yourself when you think “I don’t think I can pull this off today,” and make no apologies. “No” is not a bad word if there’s logical reason behind it (we can’t afford it, we don’t have time, it goes against what we believe in and value in this family). Saying “no” also cultivates feelings of relief and organization and also shows kids that it’s perfectly acceptable to establish boundaries in the name of prioritizing family time and maintaining self-care.
Jill Simonian is a Parenting Lifestyle Contributor and appears every Wednesday on CBS Los Angeles’ News at 5pm. Her personal blog is TheFabMom.com. Follow Jill on Twitter @jillsimonian and connect with her on Facebook.