This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!
Everyone tells you that the third baby is easy. He will be flexible! He will sleep anywhere! He will be calm! He will go with the flow! With my youngest, that’s often true. The sweet little guy loves his siblings, and he never woke up every two hours like newborns often do. He was an easy delivery, and slept through the raucous noises of two toddler siblings from early on.
He is also a mama’s boy. I don’t mean a “sissy”; that’s not a way we have used or will ever use that term in our house. What I mean is that he prefers me above basically any other human. He needs me every few moments. He is happier when he’s close to me. This could be the result of several things. I wear him a lot, mostly because it’s easier and sometimes necessary for survival. He’s also the only baby that I never “went back to work” after. I started my part time jobs back, of course, but he hasn’t experienced me working away from him full time. I’m home with him usually, and we’ve built our life and schedule around me not being away from him more than a few hours. I’ve taken a weekend away from him, and while he was totally fine, he missed me pretty terribly.
Every time we have a day that I don’t see him much (which with our schedule is about once a week), we are bonkers for a few days. It throws off our entire schedule for way longer than just the day I’m gone. He’s extra clingy, sometimes wakes up in the night (when he’s past that stage) and follows me around the house. It’s cute, of course, until I need to get things done and I can’t put him down. And then the Mommy Guilt sets in.
Maybe I shouldn’t stay away from him that long. I should just not take that job. I shouldn’t go on that trip. What if I’m causing him stress? What if he ends up with scarring from my abandonment?!
Hold it right there. What am I doing?! Im not abandoning him! But that’s where the spiraling mommy guilt just led me to think. I’m just placing undue blame on myself. I’m getting worked up, worrying myself to death, and taking responsibility for things that I can’t control. I do my best, but extenuating circumstances are always a possibility. I can’t help when my big kids will need me more in that moment, or when his nap was too short for me to accomplish everything while he was asleep, or when I’m exhausted or sick or stressed. He knows that I love him. No matter the crazy days or time spent away from him,Che is well taken care of, and I’ve made it abundantly clear to him that he is my baby and I’d do anything for him, just like his brother and sister.
All you do when you give yourself all that blame is distance yourself from the person you can be, the person you already are. Guilt doesn’t become us; there is no need for it. It wastes time and energy, both of which I could be spending on and with my family. My guilt has been ultimately taken care of, and my debts have been paid- even the ones I have yet to owe. Jesus came to release me from guilt and shame, and free me to be exactly who I’m created to be, no strings attached. It is His sacrifice and love that has allowed me to be a woman, wife, mother, friend and follow Him daily. He continues to free me from sin, and free me from myself when I just can’t get out of my own head. This doesn’t mean I won’t continue to make mistakes, or feel a little guilty sometimes. But with the strength of my Jesus, His guidance and His love, I can get on past that mommy guilt and move on to being the best mommy I can, no matter the circumstances.