As mothers, we put so much pressure on ourselves. The thing to remember is that kids are unpredictable. We cannot possibly control or foresee all the things that they will do or won’t do. Sometimes plans go well, but a lot of times, they don’t. We are constantly trying to pivot and adapt.
We are also quick to throw out apologies when something doesn’t fit with what we think it should. This apologizing is so unnecessary. Feeling bad about what you think that other people think does no one any good. We are all still human, although we may feel the pressure to be superhuman. We need to give ourselves more grace and stop apologizing all the time.
Things You Shouldn’t Apologize For
Apologizing for bad behavior is good. Apologizing for hurting feelings or being unkind is right. Those are things we are trying to instill in our children, after all. But there are some things that moms should never apologize for:
1. Needing a break.
This point is probably the biggest one that we feel guilty about. After all, we love our children and spending time with them. Needing to be away from them can cause feelings of guilt. You may feel self-conscious about asking your partner for a break. You are entitled to take a break. Let your partner know what you need because he can’t read your mind. Stepping away regularly isn’t something that you need to apologize for since everyone needs time to themselves—especially moms.
2. The parenting choices you make.
Going into motherhood, women have ideas about what they should do or how they will handle certain situations. Not only do you need to combat these preconceived ideas, but all the other moms that give you advice. While some advice may be helpful, motherhood is the ultimate learn-on-the-job position. Trusting your instincts is vital when it comes to your child. No baby is the same as another, so learning your child and what is right for him or her is more important than what other people are telling you.
3. Canceling or saying no to plans or playdates.
Making plans with friends can be a lot of fun at the moment. You may go into these plans with the best intentions, but sometimes you may want to cancel. Maybe you’re exhausted from being up at night with the kids. Maybe you would rather put on your pajamas and just stay in. It is a great diversion to go out with your friends, but sometimes you’re just not up to it. The same goes for playdates for your kids. Trying to get your kids somewhere at a specific time doesn’t always work out. Don’t be afraid to cancel or say no if you’re just not feeling it.
4. Breastfeeding in public.
On the other hand, sometimes you want to get out of the house, even with a baby. If the baby is fussy, you need to breastfeed when you’re out. It is your right to do so! Don’t apologize to others about it. Just handle it. Your baby is more important than what other people think. Once you let go of worrying about what others think, it gets easier. The first time I breastfed in public, I was at Starbucks. Honestly, no one even seemed to notice. Most people aren’t even going to realize that you’re nursing.
5. Having a glass of wine.
Momming is hard work. If you want to unwind with a glass of wine, a margarita, or a shot of whiskey, that’s up to you. You can have a drink. You don’t need to apologize for it.
6. Your baby acting like a baby.
There are situations where your baby will lose it, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. Babies will cry. They get hungry. They get cranky. Apologizing to people for your kid acting like a kid is kind of silly when you think about it.
7. Not sharing toys.
Just because my kid is around yours doesn’t mean that she needs to share. Some toys are hers that she doesn’t even share with her brother. I’m not going to apologize for my child keeping a special toy away from your kid, and I shouldn’t have to.
8. You or the house being a mess.
You have a lot to do. If you don’t get the house completely clean and the laundry put away, and someone visits you, you don’t even need to address it. You’re also super tired. Don’t apologize for your comfy clothes or remaining belly.
9. Not letting everyone hold the baby.
When you have a newborn, everyone wants to hold the baby. If you’re not comfortable with that, you don’t have to let them. It’s your baby and your decision. Just because you have a baby doesn’t mean that everyone is entitled to touch her.
10. Being late.
With two kids, I find it a miracle if we show up somewhere on time. Getting them ready to go can be a production, and despite my best efforts, we may not get out the door at the exact time I intend. And that’s okay.
11. Letting your kids have screen time.
We all love movies and TV. Your kids can watch these if you need a minute. It won’t ruin them.
12. Sharing pictures of your kids or talking about them.
My kids are adorable, and I shouldn’t feel weird about sharing pictures and stories with those I choose to. Being a mom can be isolating, especially right now. It means a lot to share pictures and stories of my kids. Others acknowledging them feels good too. I’m proud of my kids and I’m sure you’re proud of yours too.
13. Feeling all the feelings.
Having a child will awaken emotions with an intensity that you didn’t even know you had. You’ll cry. You’ll experience all-consuming love as well as frustration. You don’t need to apologize for your feelings and can express them when you need to.
14. Asking for help.
There is so much pressure to do all the things when you’re a mom. This is especially true when you’re a stay-at-home mom. Some days I get the dishes done. Some days I don’t. Sweeping the floor tends to be low on my priority list. If you need a break or your partner to help you with something, make sure to communicate. You never need to apologize for asking for help when you need it.
Remember that this list is not all-inclusive. There may be other things that happen that you feel compelled to apologize for, but you don’t need to. We’re all in this same mommy boat, and people won’t judge you as harshly as you judge yourself.